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Indeed, the "appification" of appliances and devices is already here. You can already control tons of products directly from an iPhone and iPad -- or, from an Android device. What needs to happen next is the knitting together: common language, common infrastructure, and a way for new products to easily connect, too. And ideally, fewer individual apps. These are categories of products Apple may never choose to make: air conditioners, cars, blood pressure cuffs. For these devices, better connectivity could make them star products.
Consider Sonos, which went from a promising multiroom digital music system to a category killer that's 8 iphone cases now being aped by the likes of Bose , Samsung, and others, The company really took off once it dumped its expensive proprietary touchscreen remote and released a free app that turned any iPhone into a controller, If the other things you own can play well with the phone in your pocket or the tablet in your bag, that's a world most people would prefer to live in, Google's already driving this forward via acquisitions like Nest, and Samsung's aiming for the same thing in health and home, And, once Apple's next big hardware products finally do arrive, they could end up working with a whole new landscape of connected tech, And that could be what this year's WWDC could really be striving for: laying the groundwork..
Yet, for the first time in as long as I can remember, I'm just not that excited. It seems like we're hitting a point where smartphone operating systems are only getting smaller tweaks for convenience rather than ground-breaking new features (iOS 7's redesign notwithstanding). It's enough to make me wonder what's left to add to iOS, or any mobile OS for that matter. The fact is, there are simply not many features left on my iOS wishlist. The problem is not that Apple, Android, or any other smartphone company doesn't dedicate enormous resources to research and development -- they most certainly do. The problem is that there simply isn't much left to add to these computers in our pockets and purses that don't already exist, and the list of things we desperately needed early on have mostly been crossed off.
Back in the early days, asking what iOS lacked compared to rivals like Android was an easy question to answer, Most will probably remember iOS didn't have cut and paste functionality for far too long, It also didn't have turn-by-turn directions with voice, And those are just two examples, Apple was roundly criticized for being late to both of those parties, but like everything else iPhone users clamored for, Apple slowly but surely added them to iOS, (Yes, Apple Maps was not a blunder anyone will soon forget, but Apple continues to work on it, slowly making it better with still more improvements rumored to 8 iphone cases be announced on Monday.)..
As for what iOS desperately needs there is simply not much left to add that iOS lacks, besides NFC and the much requested kids mode for handing off to toddlers. Android users might say Widgets are the biggest blindspot for iOS, but that addition would just be another feature to catch up and would soon be taken for granted. Instead, the definition of "need" is probably what will change. For example, Apple established a new "need" when it launched Siri, its useful, but slow-to-evolve personal assistant. Google and Microsoft quickly followed suit by developing their own personal voice assistants. Suddenly, a voice assistant was something everyone needed.
Likewise, Apple could surprise us on Monday with a new software solution in iOS 8 we didn't know we "needed" to have, Or instead, maybe it will be at Google I/O 8 iphone cases in late June, where Android could gain the upper hand with a new and creative use of augmented reality, leaving Apple to once again play catchup, Or maybe it'll be the real-time translator for phone and video calls that Microsoft's Skype is expected to get later this year, We don't know where the next "need" will come from, but its always a possibility that the big companies will create something we never knew we wanted..
The fact is, we've seen iOS play catch up to Android and we've seen Android play catch up to iOS. But the question is whether there is anything big left that will push operating systems in new directions that will differentiate one smartphone from the other. As CNET's Luke Westaway pointed out, he made the switch recently from iOS to Android, and it was so painless it made him believe the war between Android and iOS no longer mattered. One reason that makes it even harder for Apple to wow us is that there are thousands of third party developers filling the app stores every day with software that does just about everything under the sun. It makes me wonder how many ideas Apple's iOS 8 team have come up with only to find there was already an "app for that."Digging deeper into iOS 8 rumors, the platform could get a fitness app called HealthBook, a stand alone app for iTunes Music, Shazam integration for Siri, and even some re-imagined Mac OS X apps including Preview and TextEdit. These are all nice additions, but gamechangers they are not. For a closer look at iOS 8 rumors, check out Scott Stein's .
So the rumors give us some nuggets of what to expect in iOS 8, but when I take a step back, there's not much here to be excited about unless Apple surprises us with something we never knew we needed, What I do know is that Apple events almost always have one or two surprises and that there are still at least a few directions iOS can explore, But to be honest, as I've watched new smartphones and OSes come out over the past couple of years, it's felt a lot more like catchup on all sides rather than significant innovation that makes me say, "Finally! 8 iphone cases That's just what I needed on my smartphone!"All of this makes me believe that before long we may reach feature parity with our smartphones no matter the platform, At that point, will there still be smartphone wars? Will anyone care what kind of phone you have? Without device makers creating a new need, probably not..