Software innovations see Apple look to develop applications for the home ; TECHNOLOGY [Western Morning News (England)]
(Western Morning News (England) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) There was no new iPhone or iPad to speak of, nor the rumoured iWatch, but Apple's annual developers conference last week still left techies with plenty to get excited about.
The fact that software engineering head Craig Federighi did the lion's share of the work on stage in San Francisco put hardware firmly on the back burner.
High on the agenda was the unveiling of a new operating system, OS X 10.10 Yosemite. Named after the famous American national park, Yosemite makes integration between Apple products easier, which is great news if you've got an orchard's worth of Apple's devices.
For instance, using the Handoff feature, you can start a particulalr task on your iPad and finish it later on your Mac.
Yosemite will also let users send and receive text messages across all Apple devices and also make phone calls, as Federighi demonstrated to the audience when he placed a call to rapper Dr Dre, whose Beats Electronics firm Apple has just bought for $3 billion.
Other tech companies are often accused of aping Apple's designs but this time, in what some see as a response to the phenomenally popular Whatsapp, extra features for iMessage were previewed including group messages and the ability to send voice and video clips.
Similarly, newly announced iCloud Drive was seen as a move into the already crowded arena of free file sharing apps, and a legacy of Steve Jobs, who once tried unsuccessfully to buy Dropbox.
With storage and sending capabilities up to 5GB, iCloud more than doubles Dropbox's gigabyte allowance, but it's still only a third of Google Drive's generous offer and it won't be accessible via the Android operating system.
File sharing is mightily useful at work, but Apple revealed it's flexing its muscles in the home too.
HomeKit software gives you remote control of heating, light switches and door locks from your iPhone, while HealthKit connects with wearable devices and brings together health data - like heart rate, calories burned and hours slept - into one dashboard for easeof use.
No Apple conference is without controversy, though, and this time it came in the form of an Australian start-up also called Healthkit, who are not happy the Californian behemoth is using the same name. As HealthKit refers to the API (application programming interface) rather than a product, it doesn't seem like they've got a legal case, but whatever the name, this could well be the start of an app a day to keep the doctor away.
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