Mac OS X
Mac OS X 10.10 is likely to get a drastic overhaul, and look much like iOS 7, with a much more flatter look to it than previous version. That doesn't mean it's going to become the same as iOS, just that it will continue to take on similar features, such as bringing Messages, Notes, Maps and other features, as Apple has done over the years.
Nomura research analyst Stuart Jeffrey, who rates Apple "neutral," is expecting to see continued convergence between the two platforms. "We expect OS X changes to drive greater convergence with iOS, from a user experience perspective rather than a Windows 8 style integration," Jeffrey wrote in a research note. "With Mac sales accounting for less than 13% of revenue (less of gross margin), this is a positive step but likely not that EPS sensitive."
Aside from these slight changes, there are likely to be bigger announcements as it relates to Mac OS X, which Apple made free for updates at its iPad Air event in Oct. 2013.The last version of OS X was codenamed Mavericks, for the surfing location in Northern California. It's unclear what the name of this version of OS X will be known as, now that Apple has abandoned using cats for the name, with previous versions being known as Mountain Lion, Lion, Snow Leopard, Leopard, Tiger and others.
iOS 8 Last year, Apple gave iOS 7 a major overhaul, changing the way it looks, and updating it for 2013. Now that the major design overhaul is over, Apple may wind up announcing several new parts to iOS 8, particularly as it thinks about moving into the health and fitness market, with the rumored iWatch. Optionsinfocus developer Scott Jenkins expects there to be some features cleaned up in iOS 8 that were left "borderline incomplete" in the previous OS. "On [the] software side, last year the cleaned up some major features that were borderline incomplete in iOS 7 (auto layout, core data, iCloud, and core text api's)," Jenkins said via email. "Working with those were risky without your own customization. I expect those to be cleaned up even more." Healthbook, an app similar to Passbook, that will store all of your health and fitness related data in one place, is expected to be announced on the software side.
Of the more notable features included in Healthbook, it tracks steps taken and calories, as well as monitoring things like blood pressure, oxygen levels, sleep activity and even monitors your breathing. There are several other features included in the app, but these are some of the most important. In a note previewing WWDC, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster wrote a fitness app could be a precursor of things to come. "We believe an Apple fitness application would be a significant sign pointing to an Apple watch/band in 2H 2014," Munster penned in the note.
Outside of Healthbook, there's the potential for Apple to get into the mobile payments industry, something that has been seeking leadership and a standard for a few years. Companies like eBay (EBAY) with its PayPal unit, Square, BrainTree (also owned by eBay), Google (GOOG) Wallet and a host of others have competed in the mobile payments space, but there appears to be no industry standard, as of yet. While this remains a long shot, it's clear Apple is working on something related to payments.
On a recent earnings call, Cook noted the opportunity for Apple, using TouchID, a feature on the iPhone 5s. "The mobile payments area in general is one that we've been intrigued with, and that was one of the thoughts behind Touch ID," Cook said on Apple's fiscal first-quarter earnings call. "But we're not limiting ourselves just to that. So I don't have anything specific to announce today, but you can tell by looking at the demographics of our customers and the amount of commerce that goes through iOS devices versus the competition that it's a big opportunity on the platform." There's also been speculation that Apple would announce a standalone iTunes Radio app to be part of iOS 8 and boost usage. Given the recent Beats acquisition announcement for $3 billion, which includes both the headphone business and Beats Music streaming service, this seems less likely. Apple confirmed Beats Music service has 250,000 subscriptions following the deal, though that number pales in comparison to services like Spotify, Pandora (P) and others. There may be other features to iOS 8 announced that are likely to capture the attention and imagination of both developers and investors alike, though these are less certain. "Meanwhile, we believe it is possible, though less likely, we will see (1) enhanced third-party app support for Siri and (2) third-party support for TouchID commerce APIs," Goldman Sachs Shope wrote in a note. There's also been increased speculation in recent weeks that Apple is working with Shazam in conjunction with Siri to identify songs based on their sounds, and then be able to download the song from iTunes if they want. Other potential features include VoLTE support, and apps to edit and preview text.
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