Yesterday we reported that "Samsung rushed their SAMI Event Knowing Full Well what Apple has in the pipeline for Healthbook and beyond." Today, Apple provided us with the tiniest peek behind the curtain of their all-new Health app coming to iDevices later this year. Apple stated during their keynote that they're working in tandem with the likes of Nike and the Mayo Clinic to develop this new platform. According to Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, health "information lives in silos; you can't get a single comprehensive picture," until now that is. Apple really held back on revealing any other features as they'll be further discussed with their developers throughout the week. In May we reported that Apple may Surprise the Market with a New Smart Home Platform and today Apple did just that with their new HomeKit. There were so many twists and turns to today's keynote that you really never knew what was coming around the corner. The keynote struck on several chords that no one saw coming and one of my favorite moments came when Federighi introduced Metal, a new 3D graphics technology that will bring high-end console titles to iDevices this Christmas and likely to Apple TV. Now that would be something to get excited about this fall. Report Updated with news on iDevice Gaming June 04, 2014
New Health App: An Entirely new way to use your Health and Fitness Information
According to Apple, "the new Health app will give you an easy-to-read dashboard of all your health and ﬁtness data." It's a clean dashboard design as you can see below. It's a much simpler design than the one that's been floating all over the internet for the last several months.
In the end, Apple stated that the new Health app "just might be the beginning of a health revolution."
Apple noted that "Heart rate, calories burned, blood sugar, cholesterol — your health and fitness apps are great at collecting all that data. The new Health app puts that data in one place, accessible with a tap, giving you a clear and current overview of your health. You can also create an emergency card with important health information — for example, your blood type or allergies — that's available right from your Lock screen."
With Apple's new "HealthKit," that was introduced today at Apple's WWDC, developers will be able to make their apps even more useful by allowing them to access your health data, too. And you choose what you want shared. For example, you can allow the data from your blood pressure app to be automatically shared with your doctor. Or allow your nutrition app to tell your fitness apps how many calories you consume each day. When your health and fitness apps work together, they become more powerful. And you might, too.
Below are two photos relating to the new Health app that were presented today. One covers what the CEO of the Mayo Clinic thinks of the new app and the other shows an extensive list of Health care providers onboard with Apple's coming Health app.
Apple's new Health app may take a little time to develop, as new types of sensors will be needed in future iDevices – be it the upcoming iPhone 6 or something new like a fitness band (or iWatch). Today, we only got a simple peek at what's to come, but it's a great start.
New Home Automation App Coming to iOS 8
As expected, Apple introduced HomeKit which is Apple's first step into Home Automation. It's evident that Apple wants to make the iPhone a whole lot smarter. With a feature called HomeKit that's coming in iOS 8, iPhones will be able to start controlling smart devices, such as garage door openers, lights, and security cameras. They'll all be controllable through Siri too. Apple's Craig Federighi noted that by saying "Get ready for bed" in your iPhone you'll trigger Siri to dim your home's lights, lower the thermostat, lock your doors and make sure your garage door is closed – automatically and instantly.
Apple will also run a certification program to go along with HomeKit, which will guarantee that products support the new features. Initial partners include August, which is known for its beautiful smart lock, Philips, which makes the Hue connected light bulb, and others including Honeywell, iHome, TI, and about a dozen more that they listed on a slide.
Phillips Lighting CEO Eric Rondolat stated that "We are excited to be part of the next step in making home automation a reality, in a safe and integrated way. HomeKit will allow us to further enhance the Philips Hue lighting experience by making it simpler to securely pair devices throughout the house and control them using Siri."
What iOS 8 will bring to iDevices this Fall
New to Photos
Some of the highlighted features and updates coming to iOS 8 this fall include a revamp of Apple's Photos app which includes the new iCloud Photo Library for a low monthly fee: Every photo and video you take now lives in iCloud — giving you the freedom to access your library from any device, anytime you want. So you can view a photo from last week or last year no matter where you are.
The revamped Photos app will come with a new way to search your photo libraries, a new smart composition set of tools and new Smart Adjustments so that you'll be able to quickly and easily modify your photos to adjust exposure, brightness, contrast and more.
Two other features will include new Photo Filters and Editing Tools and a new camera mode for Time-Lapse Videos
New to Messages
New to Messages this fall will be the ability to add voice to the conversation. Messages in iOS 8 will make it easy to capture any sound — your voice, a song, or a big laugh — and make it part of the conversation. Simply touch and hold the new microphone button to record your message. Then swipe to send it.
Other highlights include the ability to send a video quickly and easily; being able to take charge of group messages by having a way to drop out of a conversation or turn on a Do Not Disturb notice; there's also a new way to share you location in the middle of a conversation; send multiple photos and videos in one message and much more.
A Few Interesting Surprises
One of the noted surprises that popped up during the keynote was that 83% of iPhone 5S users take advantage of Touch ID and that third-party developers will now have access to this feature going forward starting with iOS 8.
Another surprise out of left field was that Apple invented a new programming language called "Swift."
Apple's new "Swift" is an innovative new programming language for Cocoa and Cocoa-Touch. Craig Federighi noted that Apple had developed the new language that took the baggage of "C" out of Objective-C to applause from developers. Use of Swift will be supported as soon as Xcode 6 is released (which is currently available in beta form to registered developers).
Other Major Upgrades to Look Forward to in iOS 8
Other advances coming to iOS 8 are just too detailed or interesting to skim over quickly. So below is a list of the main themes highlighted today during Apple's WWDC Keynote that you could dive in whenever you're ready.
One More Thing: Console-like Gaming Coming to Apple TV and other iDevices
In the end, as a non-developer, the keynote might have come across as a little boring. However, if you're an Apple developer or super geek, then it was a little like Christmas. There were so many new tools introduced to help developers advance their iOS and OS X applications that it had to be a first for WWDC attendees. Although I've outlined a few of the higher profile features coming to iOS 8 in this report, I truly only scratched the surface.
Apple also delivered some really great new features for their next generation OS X that's being branded Yosemite that you just have to check out here if you own a Mac. Yet for this report on iOS 8, there's just one more thing to get excited about and it's for die-hard gamers.
According to Apple's press release, "Gaming on iOS takes a huge leap forward in iOS 8 with Metal, a new graphics technology that maximizes performance on the A7 chip. With its dramatic 10 times improvement in draw call speed, Metal enables leading game providers for the first time to bring console-class 3D games to mobile devices."
Craig Federighi began this segment on Metal this way: "Next, I want to move unto something huge in the area of 3D graphics, and it's called Metal."
He went on to say that today's OpenGL ends up being "a thick layer of overhead between the game and the hardware," as noted in the photo above. "Well now we have Metal, and Metal dramatically reduces that overhead, giving the game near bare to the metal access to the power of A7," as noted in the graphic below.
Federighi added that "The results are stunning. Up to 10X faster draw call rates."
Federighi continued: "Now – we've been working with the leading providers of gaming engines on mobile platforms. And what they've been able to accomplish with Metal in just a few weeks is truly stunning. Let's start with EA [Electronic Arts] that took their console level title "Plants vs. Zombies" and brought it over to iOS." This is something that they never thought would be possible."
You really have to see this part of Apple's keynote to appreciate the stunning effects. It's easy to see how this is going to be bringing great console gaming to A7 (or A8) which directly translates into dynamically bringing true console gaming to Apple TV starting this fall – if we're lucky.
Apple just has to introduce a slick new gaming controller and they'll have Apple fans falling over themselves to buy a new Apple TV – including yours truly. We can only pray that Apple has an extended game plan in the works here that will offer easy-to-download game rentals from iTunes.
If Apple could pull this off, Sony and Microsoft will definitely have a major headache on their hands come this Christmas.
Update June 4, 2014: Oh, and about that game controller I was talking about. "Apple took some time to talk gaming during a presentation closed to the public yesterday at WWDC. Apple introduced 'Controller Forwarding' which is a feature that expands on the Made-For-iPhone/iPad game controllers that Apple introduced alongside iOS 7 last year." For more on this, catch Jordan Kahn's report here.
Apple Illustrated their Depth in Software Today
This year's WWDC delivered a flood of new tools that will help to advance iOS and OS X applications in the not-too-distant future. The shear depth of Apple's WWDC keynote illustrated the incredible groundwork that team Apple have been hard at work on for some time now to get ready for future hardware.
Apple's Eddy Cue, senior vice president of Internet software and services, told the Code Conference last week that Apple's scheduled product releases through the end of this year represents "the best product pipeline" that he had seen in 25 years at the company.
Considering that this was the best WWDC in years in respect to introducing all-new tools to advance both of Apple's operating systems, I think what Eddy Cue has forecasted for hardware may actually come to fruition. Today's WWDC definitely paved the way for Apple to drive home some exciting new hardware this fall.
Something tells me that it's going to be a very long summer as we tap our fingers in anticipation of this fall's Shock and Awe styled hardware events. I think this could finally be the year that we've all been waiting for. Yet as always, only time will tell.
WWDC 2014 Extra: Some Yosemite Features