With the release of iOS 7.1 users have started to wonder, what now? After the release of the major iOS 7 update all eyes are now focused on the WWDC and iOS 8 , because, as it has been the case for the past few years, the iOS 7 updates coming out from now on will be minor.
We’ve had various rumors and leaks about Cupertino’s new operating system for some time now, but from now on, as we get closer to WWDC, these rumors will grow. To prepare you for what is coming, we are going to make a tour through the supposed news of iOS 8 that we have been talking about during these months.
In terms of interface, iOS 8 is not going to make the radical change that the move from iOS 6 to iOS 7 did. The hard work was done in iOS 7 and, except for some minor touches, the interface design is going to be very similar to what was seen in iOS 7. In any case, details will be polished and the user experience will continue to be homogenized but without major changes at the interface level.
Everything points to the fact that one of the applications that will incorporate the most changes will be Maps. Last year the only changes in the application were aesthetic so this year we have to see new features and improvements . During last year Apple acquired companies such as BroadMap, Embark, HopStop or WifiSLAM and these acquisitions should be reflected in iOS 8.
Among the new features that could be incorporated is the addition of addresses in public transport although it would be available only for US cities at the beginning. Also included would be new points of interest and labels for public places such as airports, train stations, etc. and new options and notices in traffic directions along with a new augmented reality option that may not be available in time for the launch.
It will also be used to make various improvements such as a database update with improved and more reliable data and improvements to the mapping system.
HealthBook has been in the news since the beginning of the year. Everything points to the fact that Apple will bet strongly on health and fitness this year, and iOS 8 has to be a very important part of this bet. If iWatch is finally launched, it will need a link to the iPhone or iPad.
To do this, we would create HealthBook, an application that would be able to monitor our statistics , measuring the kilometres walked or calories burned in a similar way to Nike or Fitbit apps. In addition to that, Healthbook would also monitor our vital signs, measuring values such as blood pressure, heart rate or glucose levels.
It is not clear what Apple plans to do with Siri in the future, but if it wants to continue to support it, it will have to bring new and improved services to iOS 8. There has been talk for quite some time about the possibility of Apple releasing the developer API , which would allow Siri to be integrated into third-party applications and thus increase the usability of Siri.
The hypothetical arrival of iWatch with Siri as one of the methods of interaction could give a boost to a service that is beginning to lose the prominence it was given in its presentation. At the expense of seeing what direction Apple is taking with its personal assistant, we may be at a crucial moment since, if there are no new developments, Siri could fall into oblivion.
iCloud may be one of the most important aspects of iOS 8 . Expanding and improving it would mean increasing the integration with OS X and empowering iOS even more. To enhance iCloud, Apple would be developing iOS versions of Preview and TextEdit, but its goal would not be to edit PDFs, text documents, or images with them, but rather to serve as a tool for viewing OS X-originated Preview and TextEdit files stored in iCloud. These versions could be a first attempt by Apple to implement a file system in iOS.
As a personal reflection, without having anything to do with the rumors or leaks about iOS 8, adding to these versions of Preview and TextEdit the possibility of using AirDrop between iOS and OS X would give an integration to the system that would expand its uses exponentially.
In any case, if Apple wants to expand the uses of iCloud it should also review its storage policy, since the free 5 Gb is short for users of several iOS devices, perhaps giving 5 Gb per device would be a fairer measure.
Following its launch last year at WWDC, Apple’s streaming music service was launched in conjunction with iOS 7 but only for the US market. One of its biggest problems, apart from not being available internationally, is that it is hidden inside the Music app, something that could change in iOS 8 since, with the intention of boosting its use, Apple is thinking of giving iTunes Radio its own application within the operating system .
Being an independent application , its presence would be an attraction for users , who are used to choosing other alternatives for listening to music in streaming such as Spotify or Pandora. The absence of a app of their own may mean that many users are unaware of the existence of iTunes Radio or do not consider it an alternative.
Compared to its competitors, iTunes Radio has a substantial advantage: is installed by default , which makes the iPhone the first one to be available as soon as you start using it, so you can attract more users than you currently have.
Besides making it independent from the app from Música, would be very interesting to expand it internationally , a real Apple objective in the short and medium term, although this is more than a development problem, it has to do with the negotiations Apple has with the main record labels for licenses.
Mobile payment system?
Since the introduction of the iPhone 5s and its Touch ID, there has been much talk about the plans Apple would have reserved for this sensor beyond the unlocking of the terminal. At the end of January, in the round of questions following the presentation of the Q1 2014 fiscal results, Tim Cook let it be known that they were considering the possibility of working on a mobile payment platform that would take advantage of this sensor .
In early January, Apple filed a patent detailing an iBeacons-based payment system using an iPhone to authorize transactions. Beyond this it is impossible to know if Apple will include this option within iOS 8 or if it will wait for successive versions, but it is working on it according to the filed patents and Tim Cook’s statements.
With almost 600 million accounts created, many of them with a credit card associated, and counting on the help of Passbook and the Touch ID, Apple has a good base so it should not let the occasion go by.
As you can see, there are many open fronts and improvements possible in iOS 8, although, all of them are so far conjectures that do not go beyond the category of rumors or leaks , but, assuming that a minimum percentage of them is finally true, they can allow us to get an idea of what Apple is looking for with its next version of its operating system.
One thing is clear: if iOS 7 focused on the interface, with a change of direction that users have been asking for time and that, despite first impressions, has ended up being a success, iOS 8 will focus on improving the user experience and expanding its functionality. iOS 8 is just around the corner .