Apple CEO Tim Cook is promising new features for phones, tablets and Mac computers as he opened the company’s 25th annual conference for software developers. Cook says the separate systems for mobile and Mac devices have been engineered to work seamlessly together.
Apple says the next version of the Mac system will be called Yosemite, after a national park in California.
There’s speculation that Apple could use Monday’s keynote to showcase its plans to help manage people’s health, finances and homes. There’s also a Ferrari spotted in the building, an indication that Apple will update people on CarPlay, its project for embedding automobiles with some of the iPhone’s main applications.
Here are the highlights on what’s been announced so far and what’s coming:
CHANGES TO IPHONES AND IPADS:
— Apple is expected to preview new features in iOS 8, the next version of the operating system for iPhones and iPads. The new software will likely come with new devices for the holiday season, with free updates available for recent models. The current version, iOS 7, came out in September and sports a new design that favors simplicity over three-dimensional icons that try to mimic their real-world counterparts.
— IOS 8 is widely expected to include a built-in health-management tool to help people track their vital signs, diet and sleeping habits. This tool could be similar to Passbook, a feature that Apple built into iOS two years ago to store tickets for flights and events, as well as digital gift certificates. Apple’s chief rival, Samsung Electronics Co., incorporated fitness-related features in its latest flagship phone, the Galaxy S5.
— The new iOS may also include a long-awaited digital wallet that enables Apple to process payments on iPhones and iPads. Google Inc. has already tried something similar on its Android software for smartphones, but it hasn’t gained much traction in digital payments.
— There’s been speculation that Apple will unveil a home automation system that will enable iPhones and iPad to become a remote control for managing lighting, security and other household appliances with wireless connections.
CHANGES TO MAC COMPUTERS:
— Apple typically updates its Mac operating system less frequently, but that may change now that Apple is migrating many of the phone and tablet features — such as notifications — to desktop and laptop computers.
— The last update, Mavericks, came out in October. It’s named after a surfing spot not far from Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, California. The next version, Yosemite, is also carrying the name of a California locale. Before, Apple named the software after cats.
COMING TO CARS:
— Apple is developing a CarPlay to let drivers can control cars with voice commands, a touch on the steering wheel or a swipe on a display screen in the dashboard. Cars with built-in CarPlay services and radios that are compatible with CarPlay are both expected this year. Apple might give the developers an update on CarPlay’s progress.
— Last week, Apple announced a deal to pay $3 billion for Beats Electronics, a headphone and music streaming specialist. The deal brings rapper Dr. Dre and recording impresario Jimmy Iovine to undetermined roles at Apple. In an interview, Cook indicated Beats’ music streaming service was the main selling point in the deal, though the headphone line also is expected to continue growing, too. Dre and Iovine may make an appearance at the developers conference, too.
— In late April, Apple updated its MacBook Air laptops with faster processors. It also lowered the starting price to $899, down from $999.
COMING FOR THE HOLIDAYS:
— Apple typically holds a separate event in September to announce new iPhones. Updates to the iPad are also likely, possibly at yet another event. Many analysts also believe the company will release an Internet-connected watch later this year as part of Apple’s expansion into wearable technology.