With the recent release of iOS 7.1.1, we can finally and inevitably admit that Apple’s seventh iteration of its mobile platform is no longer at the center of attention. All the bug and crash fixes, UX tweaks, and other improvements of iOS 7 are now overshadowed by rumors surrounding the upcoming iOS 8, which is expected to be rolled out this fall and possibly presented earlier at WWDC 2014.
It’s not that iOS 8 will receive as much resonance and debate as iOS 7 did. It will probably be the same iOS 7 with some apps and tweaks added unless Apple has some surprises up its sleeves. Meanwhile, possible changes, improvements, and new features have been gathering up in rumors for some time, coming from such Apple-related sources, the biggest being 9to5Mac. Here we would like to make a rumor roundup.
A rumor at its most unofficial, Healthbook even has a suggested icon (similar to that of Passbook) and is said to be a perfect link between the smartphone and the possible watch. As with almost all Apple, it’s supposed to be a near-perfect personal health assistant: weight, nutrition, calories, heart rate, hydration, blood work, blood sugar, fitness tracking, and much more.
The M7 motion coprocessor incorporated in the latest Apple devices makes sense as the logical next step. If we ever have to see the watch this year, we’ll see it and iOS 8 simultaneously. The industry of health & fitness apps is blooming, and their owners must keep an eye on Healthbook and whether it becomes a worthy default rival. On the other hand, it may bring valuable integration with a new generation of health apps.
Apple’s native Maps, even though some time has passed, still are perceived as a failure. Since then, Apple has been talking about improving its Maps. In 2013 Apple acquired several companies concerning mapping (e.g., BroadMap, Embark, HopStop), and iOS 8 might present us with the feature of public transit directions/route options, which was one reason people shifted back to Google Maps after Apple became the default.
Another rumor is that the feature of indoor mapping will also be included. Let’s not forget about CarPlay, which will require Apple Maps at its best (and may also support WiFi instead of using the cable). It’s also possible that updates will concern showing info about locations and venues, such as restaurants, bars, etc. This may open the way for more detailed guides based on Apple Maps and indoor navigation for shopping malls and large hospitals. As for the latter, it can be useful for in-house staff. If integrated with Healthbook, detailed navigation can be used by everyone. There can be a pool of various ideas.
iTunes Radio has received high adoption since its September release, surpassing even Spotify’s growth rate. Now it is expected to become a separate default app, a rival to other streaming services. There is also a rumor about cooperation between Apple and Shazam that may introduce song recognition in iOS 8. This, in turn, can lead to the iTunes store where the song can be purchased.
The feature introduced in the iPhone 5S is expected to be used for mobile payments. Once you use Touch ID, you quickly get used to it, unlock your phone, and approve App Store downloads without noticing. Incorporating it into mobile payments is even more interesting, especially providing this opportunity to third-party apps. If so, and if purchases will concern non-digital goods, Apple has to provide its best tool for online shopping – the iPad – with a fingerprint scanner. This is what we expect from the next generation of iPads.
There’s also a questionable ‘screenshot’ circulating the Web with icons such as Healthbook, Preview, TextEdit, and Tips. However, Preview and TextEdit don’t even have the iOS 7-like design and are skeuomorphic. It has also been ‘reported’ that Preview and Text Edit for iOS might only view documents stored in the cloud (and its integration into custom apps is also expected to be simplified). Sir is supposed to get an improvement, although it’s unclear what nature it will be. It may allow specific interactions between Sir and apps, boosting convenience and functionality.
Here we can see that the expected hardware changes may be even more crucial for custom development than the OS itself. For example, the rumored bigger screen of the iPhone and the design/redesign issue arose. As for the commonplace ‘wants’ of iOS users, they remain unsolved: such as changing and hiding default apps, extended customization, and the option of a guest account (for example, for children). If your iOS app concerns any of these issues, keep an eye on rumors until things get definite. But we know you already do, don’t you?