Already passed the half way line, it is around September that the new Apple smartphone is released. That makes it less than 6 months away when we can expect to see the new iPhone, going by the last iterations each year which has seen the 4, 4s, 5, 5s and now the 6 launched each September. The speculation on just what will be in each is already starting to headline blogs and news outlets all over the world as the action heats up and the world begins to watch (pun there see that?) and see what is next.
There are links between the software leading up to the release of the new devices howvere that has made the guessing game just a little more predictable (remembering of course the notorious secrecy around Apple’s products, this I have experienced first hand). By watching the new features coming in the pre-released software, the beta packages, it is possible to get a stronger view of what features are coming in the next devices.
It seems like yesterday that we only saw the new iPhones, the 6 and 6 Plus’s and the histeria that surrounded the launch of these devices which were Apple’s most successful iPhones to date. They are the most superior iPhones in terms of performance, battery life, screens, cameras and the most important pieces from the ‘users’ perspectives with the huge boost in battery life to boot by comparison with the previous devices. It almost begs the questions – why would anyone want a new iPhone, and what more can come from the operating system iOS.
Probably the biggest change in iOS 8.4 so far in the version that has been released to developers is the Music application. The new version comes with a new design which makes exploring your music collection easier and more like the iTunes experience of the desktop. The playlists get more personal and the functionality improved along with the useability.Finding new albums will be easier and the ‘recently added’ function has become more prominent, again, in line with the desktop experience.
iTunes radio gets a tweak to make finding your music more simple and creating a favourite station. There is not too much emphasis on the streaming part here yet, as it is expected that their new Beats streaming service which will compete with Spotify and will play a significant role in the very near future. There is some suggestion that there could be a merger between the Beats music service and the Music application. Competitors for the music space such as Spotify are slowly taking over the music functionality of the iPhone device as people stop wasting their device storage on a fixed amount of songs, while streaming opportunities offer endless amounts of music options, including playlists.
The Now Playing will also include album artwork which is another visual and usability tweak, although it is easy to forget the iPhone’s roots as an iPod music player and this certainly is a great reminder. So far, the audio books have also been moved to the iBooks application, but the functionality of audio books has alos now been extended to CarPlay.
Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference has been scheduled for early June 2015, which is on par with the timing for the new operating system and its expected there will be a beta version to play with around this time for the developers to start tuning their apps and developing new ones.
While iOS 5 brought a stronger integration with iCloud as Apple jumped in to the Cloud Computing bandwagon, and the more recent versions of iOS seem to be aimed at bringing closer integration with OS X, it is expected that his trend will continue into the latest version. A newer trend and one I’ve been closer to with a number of sources is that Apple will start to focus on enterprise integration. While devices like Blackberry and Nokia have enjoyed the focus of massive enterprise, the Apple iPhone has certainly been pushed into the business world for their devices. This is natural considering the user base out there that is already using iPhones as a personal device. I’ve personally watched IBM employees move on masse to Apple devices with the growth of their bring your own device program and throw their Lenovo’s and Thinkpads at a wall. Administrators and the people running the enterprise networks and infrastructure will be able to employ a range of rules and functions to better control security, deployment and device management with the new iOS 9 features that will be available.
For the public, this will mean a lot of work in the guts of the iOS platform that they may not see much of until the developers of enterprise software start to focus on building apps for the platform and big software development platforms like IBM’s BlueMix is positioned well to take advantage of this new scenario.
Given the launch of the new Apple iWatch, there is an even money bet that iOS 9 will increase the integration between these devices. There will be more functionality between the watch and iOS 9, likely to increase the ability to port applications (or at least increase the communications) between the two devices. The iWatch is already shaping up to be a tremendous hit despite the large number of people (including techies that are ususally on the bleading edge of the curve) wondering why, what it is about and what is the point.
CarPlay is becoming a major attraction to the iPhone. The race for in-car communications that include applications, telematics and infotainment is converging with the ‘internet of things’ whereby everyone wants a piece. From the car manufacturers racing to own the digital dashboard after missing the boat on the car radio (they are still smarting because they are not taking a cut on advertisement revenue or making radio stations pay to have their car stations in the vehicle) right through to the smartphone manufacturers wanting to extend the phone. With the smartphone becoming the centrepiece of an individuals digital communications, its shaping up that the phone is the most likely piece to extend to the car, giving it the inside edge to be the device of choice. Apple has always made great steps at integrating their devices into their ecosystem, so its quite likely that the CarPlay application, already adopted by a few key manufacturers, will be the device/application combination to win the next steps into the car.
Bearing in mind, Apple’s notorius secrecy, the new iPhone 6s is expected around September 2015 (as always), and the exterior design is expected to be the same as the current models. While there are already rumours that there is a new 4 inch returning with the 7 model, (also called the 7c), however, this reads as an unlikely story given the recent killing off of the 5c. Apple is continually focusing on the usuals, better battery life which is becoming like Moore’s law of computer speed and continually evolving. Sony has set the standard being able to last a few days without a recharge and the rest are trying to catchup.
There is ongoing focus on improved camera capabilities and ensuring that camera use does not reduce battery performance. Apple will want to reap some benefits of their recent purchase of Linx Imaging, who are specialists in camera phone technology, creating lenses that combine multiple aperture configurations to produce DSLR quality photo’s. The battery sizes continue with a 16, 64 and 128 GB capacity and there is a strong belief that the new A9 processors will be used bringing in a faster perfomance again.
Force touch was introduced in to the new Macbook that Apple has released and this is thought to be coming in the new iPhones. This is where the device distinguishes between a light tap, and a hard press to offer different functions.
That’s about all on the items with any dependability. There are others out there such as working on a competitor to Samsung’s edge design, but that design is not being as well recieved as Samsung would like, so that is not likely. If you’ve heard any other rumours, inbox me or leave a comment.