No iWatch, but Apple Makes Moves into Health, Home
Apple (AAPL) shared glimpses of how it plans to tackle digital health and the connected home at its Worldwide Developer's Conference on Monday.
As part of the new iOS 8 operating system, the tech giant revealed HealthKit, which appears as the "Health" app on the iPhone screen, and is used for collecting and viewing health-related data.
HealthKit enables a user's various different health apps to share data. It also allows for developers and health care providers to enable access to a user's health information on their iOS device.
For example, a person could enable the Health app to pass critical information onto a their physician in case of an emergency. It also acts as a hub for a person so that all of their health information can live in one place.
Currently, there are apps that can do everything from monitor a person's activity levels to their weight and even chronic medical conditions, said Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, at the event. But people need a way to bring all of that information together, he said.
"That information lives in silos. You can't get a single comprehensive picture," he said.
%VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%As for the connected home, the company announced a platform called "HomeKit," which is also part of iOS 8 and aims to make the iPhone a remote control for the connected home. The company didn't elaborate too much on its push into home automation, however, it was announced that it has been working with partners for some time.
Robert Luna, SureVest Wealth Management CEO told CNBC that Apple is essentially in a race with Google (GOOG) over what he called "share of your life." Both companies are looking to control "your home, your health care, your car," he said.
Apple also announced a long list of other updates for its operating systems, but it didn't reveal any hardware updates that some were expecting. But that may not be enough for investors, said Colin Gillis, senior technology analyst and director of research at BGC Capital.
"Investors want to see new categories coming out of Apple, and not just catch up features from iOS or from their OS X. in fact, they actually need to start thinking about merging those two operating systems at some point," Gillis said.
"We're all waiting for the next great piece of hardware, and today was all about software," said John Malloy, co-founder of the venture capitalist firm BlueRun Ventures, told CNBC.
"If you're a consumer ... you didn't really hear anything that lit you up to go out and buy the next great thing," he added.
Many of the new features in iOS 8, which is the mobile operating system for iPhones and iPads, focus on messaging.
For example, the company showed off a new keyboard function called QuickType, which is a context-aware predictive text feature. Also revealed were new messaging tools that mirror many functions included in other messaging apps like WhatsApp and Line.
There were updates to Siri, including stream voice recognition, which will display what the user is saying as they speak, and Shazam song recognition, which will make identifying songs easier.
The company also previewed its new Mac OS X called Yosemite. The big highlight with Yosemite was an improved search function as well as improvements to iCloud. Photos will now back up to iCloud on every device and photos can also now be searched by location, date and album.
Apple is also going to roll out new pricing for its iCloud. For example, 20 gigabytes will cost 99 cents a month and 200G will go for $3.99 a month.
The user interface of Yosemite also looks a lot closer to Apple mobile operating system. Some speculate merging the two interfaces is part of Apple's strategy to introduce touch on the Mac.
The company's stock closed down slightly less than 1 percent.