On the heels of the release of Apple's iOS 7.1, rumors are flying about iOS 8. The coming mobile
operating system is expected to have a new version of the beleaguered Maps and a new app called Healthbook.
Avi Greengart, an analyst with industry research firm Current Analysis, told us he didn't expect iOS 8 before June's Worldwide Developers Conference at the earliest. He also said it "stands to reason" that Apple would include new support for health-related functionality if it intends to release a health-oriented iWatch, which is expected.
"They're a platform company," Greengart added, "and they extend that platform to include new products."
The new reports are largely based on purportedly leaked screen shots published on 9to5Mac.com, and attributed to unnamed sources. Maps, which was the subject of much criticism following its launch, is expected to be upgraded in the new version 8. Healthbook will reportedly be a headlined feature of the new iOS, supporting health-related sensors built into an iWatch.
That app supposedly will offer monitoring, scheduling and comparing functions related to number of steps taken, calories burned, and miles walked, as well as blood pressure, hydration levels, heart rate and other indicators. An Apple patent application with a new approach to optimizing pedometer functions was recently published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
Reports also indicated that the app will have an interface resembling a stack of cards, not unlike Apple's Passbook app for coupons and loyalty cards.
A revised Notifications Center, which helps users manage alerts, is expected to be simplified, as are Voice Memos. There may also be an API that allows apps to exchange data between them via what is called an XPC service. This could allow, for instance, a Facebook app to have direct access to content edited in another app, for publishing to the social network .
Messages, 64-Bit and CarPlay Enhancement
Auto-deleting for Messages may also be added, which would automatically delete messages after a period of time indicated by the user. iOS versions of the Mac's Preview and TextEdit apps have also been rumored, but, instead of editing images or documents, they will apparently be used for looking at files stored and synced in iCloud from a Mac.
The little-used Game Center app may be removed from iOS, as well as from a future version of OS X, and the functionality embedded in games. There is speculation about whether iOS 8 will contain new CarPlay functionality, including the capability to work over Wi-Fi. Apple is also expected to more fully implement the 64-bit processing that was introduced in iOS 7, especially as it looks forward to new iPhone models that can more fully take advantage of the increased power.
A week ago, Apple released version 7.1, its first major update since 7 was released last year. That update featured integration with CarPlay, the enhanced automotive interface that Apple is implementing with a variety of car makers. It also included a revision that lets Siri know that you are finished talking when you stop pressing the home button.