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What Apple's WWDC announcements reveal about products to come

Michael Simon | June 19, 2014
To a casual observer, Apple's big show may have seem to produced very little of consequence but to savvy Apple watchers, it was a wellspring of potential

wwdc continuity apps
The Mac may have been demoted to just another device, but WWDC showed that it's on equal footing with the iPhone and iPad.

Retina displays, however, are another story. Along with a curious line of code that references a whopping 6400 x 3600 resolution, Yosemite's lighter, flatter interface and thinner fonts are clearly built to look best on the sharpest of screens. They might not all make it in before 2015, but it shouldn't be long before visual pixels are obsolete across all of Apple's displays.

Wear oh wear?
iWatch rumors have been around long enough for Samsung to release two generations of Galaxy Gears, but it suddenly seems like an Apple wearable device is closer than ever. Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac published an exhaustive report examining how the technologies in iOS 8 and Yosemite could be used in a scaled-down iOS interface, and much of it mirrors our own observations—like how the Health app ties in nicely with the iWatch's presumed new fitness sensors and how Notification Center widgets could work on a tiny screen.

ios8 health
iOS 8's Health app would seem to cry out for an accessory that can help monitor these vital stats.

Moreover, several of the technologies that Apple's Craig Federighi demoed at WWDC could speed third-party developers on their way to creating software for a wearable device. For example, the introduction of Extensibility makes it easier for developers to share code between different versions of the same app. Likewise, cross-app communication could allow an app on an iOS device to talk to a companion app on a wearable device. And, of course, the aforementioned resizable screen option in the iOS Simulator makes it feasible to actually test software for a smaller-screen device.

Security guard
Apple has always taken security seriously, but iOS 8 ups the ante considerably, taking on location trackers with randomized MAC addresses and adding heavy layers of encryption for enterprise users. And beyond the system-level safeguards, Apple has opened up Touch ID to developers, allowing third-party apps to better protect our data and safely integrate it with the sites that request it.

touchID
With iOS 8, Apple's opening up Touch ID for use by third-party apps, so the technology may finally be destined for iPads, too.

So it only seems natural that Apple's fancy fingerprint scanner would make its way into new iPads later this year. The 5s was something of a beta run for Touch ID, with speed and accuracy gradually improving in each iOS 7 update. Now that it has an API, Apple is signaling that Touch ID is ready for prime time, and it will no doubt be a central feature across all of this year's iOS devices.

 

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