San Francisco, CA – Apple attracted 6,000-plus developers and press from 69 countries to Moscone Convention Center for its latest updates. More than 1,000 Apple engineers were present to support the huge gathering of product developers and scholarship winners, the rising stars whose ranks included a 13-year-old. Let’s highlight consumer-related software that Apple presented in the first half of this two hour briefing, leaving aside the technical computer language enhancements.
The Jetson Family
Some of the 21st century stuff coming down the pike might prompt baby boomers to recall George and Jane Jetson in their sky-high Orbit City futuristic home set in the year 2062. Since we first met the Jetsons on black-and-white TV screens in 1962, we’re halfway there. Apple just took us one giant step closer to envisioning the future and it’s not a cartoon.
All about mobiles and software
A free upgrade to iOS 8 is coming to iPhones and iPads this fall. It was a disappointing morning for anyone anticipating something flashy for the store shelves, perhaps a piece of brilliant new hardware in the tradition of iPod, iPad, iMac. However, there remains little question that wearables are on the highly-guarded drawing boards in Cupertino, California. So continue to watch for the iWatch.
Can I upgrade?
The following devices will support the free iOS 8 upgrade: iPhone 4s, iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPod touch 5th generation, iPad 2, iPad with Retina® display, iPad Air™, iPad mini™ and iPad mini with Retina display. Meanwhile, developers registered with Apple are working and testing third-party applications for the new software in beta, that is, during its trial run.
Healthcare is huge
Widely rumored to be in production, iWatch (we’re all guessing at its name) was the elephant in the room. It wasn’t mentioned. However, Apple’s new HealthKit cements an exciting move for the brand into digital health. Initially working with Nike and the prestigious Mayo Clinic, HealthKit is designed to integrate the growing number of consumer health apps and electronic health records. What this means: With your permission, your personal medical-related data can be shared with your doctor and other medical experts. It will “revolutionize how the health industry interacts with people,” according to John Noseworthy, M.D., Mayo Clinic president and CEO, as quoted in Apple’s press release.
HomeKit is handy
Apple intends to help you to virtually manage the home, using your iPhone as a remote control. Imagine a feature that allows an Apple device to control lights, thermostat, garage door, burglar alarm and more, even when you’re not there. What this means: It creates a Smarthome hub connected to your smartphone. HomeKit will be able to operate using your voice commands via Siri, too. If you’ve got internet, a smartphone and a light switch, you’re already mostly set up for what’s coming.
On your desktop
Speaking of home, desktops and laptops will have a free fall upgrade to OS X 10.10 named for the mighty Yosemite. Apple has decided to move away from using fast cats for naming and is going with California landmarks. If you’re truly curious to try it out, apply to join one million non-developer Mac users to test and provide feedback to Apple; you just need to sign up using your Apple ID to get a code from the Mac App Store. First, install OS X 10.9, (called Mavericks for the surfing contest off Half Moon Bay near Silicon Valley), which you can also grab free from the App Store. It may be advisable to research users’ reviews of Mavericks if you are on an older system that you’re happy with before deciding if you want to commit to the beta path. Enjoy the ride!