However, HealthKit needs one more thing before it can really take off as a hub: the Apple Watch. We expect to see a better HealthKit experience in 2015, because the platform is sure to be a driving force behind the wearable's features. Once the Apple Watch launches, we'll likely see more third-party health apps jumping on the HealthKit bandwagon, too.
HomeKit will officially launch in 2015, so we'll finally see some compatible connected home products hit the shelves. Rumor has it we'll see some HomeKit device prototypes at CES in January, so we'll get an early taste of what's to come. We also reckon that HomeKit will be closely tied to the Apple Watch as well--imagine controlling your smart lightbulbs and appliances with a gentle tap on your wrist.
These connected hubs are only half-baked platforms now, but once the Watch launches they'll really take off, opening the door even wider for third-party apps and devices.
The Apple TV has served Apple reasonably well over the past several years, providing a way to play iTunes content on your television as well as stream such Internet heavy hitters as Netflix, HBO, YouTube, and MLB.com. But it's time for it to take some important next steps.
The first is to make the Apple TV even more entertaining. This could come in the form of more networks and media sources, thus bringing the dream of cable cutting closer to reality. But it might also mean an Apple TV that supports an app store of its own--one that brings games and interactive media to Apple's set-top box.
In addition to a more entertaining Apple TV, Apple might produce one that helps us manage the many devices in our homes. Thanks to Apple's HomeKit technology, we will soon be able to use our mobile devices to control many of our home's smart appliances, including lighting and security systems, thermostats, refrigerators, and power outlets. While we could do this with a host of individual apps, a single app that talks to a HomeKit hub would be vastly more convenient. And the Apple TV seems like the perfect candidate. It's always on, it doesn't use a lot of power when idling, and it could protect the data coming into and out of your home's smart devices. Add the ability to trigger some of these functions from an Apple Watch and you've got a sweet home.
Apple didn't buy Beats Electronics this year because the company wanted to expand into headphone manufacturing. What execs in Cupertino were after was Beats Music, the unique subscription-based streaming service that could challenge Spotify with a little help. Apple's revenues from iTunes music downloads are dropping due to streaming, and iTunes Radio (with its many limitations) isn't exactly killing the competition.
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