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What Apple Didn’t Announce At WWDC 2014

Author

Dan Rowinski

June 3, 2014

At this point, just a few hours after Apple wraps its annual Worldwide Developer Conference, the post-publicity depression usually sets in.

Not that there should be a lot to get angsty about; Apple threw a truckload of new features at both developers and consumers today. iOS 8 has more than 4,000 new application programming interfaces and a new version of Mac OS X, dubbed Yosemite, offers a slew of cool-looking functions. Apple even released its very own programming language called Swift for iOS 8 developers. It’s definitely laid the groundwork for a busy summer ahead of an expected iPhone 6 release later this year.

See also: 6 Things Apple Should Fix In iOS 8

But expectations rarely fail to run ahead of reality where Apple is concerned. Here are seven rumored developments that failed to materialize as some pundits, consumers and developers expected.

1. An iWatch Or Wearable Framework

People have been talking about the possibility of an iWatch from Apple for nearly two years now. Given the time and attention Apple’s rivals are devoting to wearable technology these days, you might reasonably have expected Apple to announce a framework or software development kit for wearables development. But Apple officials didn’t once say the word “watch” during the WWDC keynote, let alone announce any new hardware.

Apple did lay some groundwork for possible future smartwatch features. Its new Health app and HealthKit framework could make it easier for fitness-related app makers to build for a possible iWatch later this year.

2. New Macs Or MacBooks

Apple sometimes announces new hardware at WWDC. Last year it announced the Mac Pro along with newer versions of MacBooks. This year, however, hardware was completely left by the wayside at WWDC 2014, which maintained a relentless focus on iOS 8 and Mac OS X Yosemite.

At this point, it’s hard to tell when Apple will refresh its PCs this year. It may tuck them into the iPad or iPhone announcements, or even just issue a press release at some point.

3. Maps Features And Functionality

A lot of people thought that Apple would go heavily into new mapping features in iOS 8, but the Maps app was hardly mentioned. In China, Apple is releasing new vector maps (along with a couple other China-related maps features), but the main version of Maps didn’t get much play at WWDC 2014.

In retrospect, the lack of Maps at WWDC makes sense, as Apple released a fairly robust series of new developer features and functions to Maps with iOS 7.1 earlier this year. (It still doesn’t offer transit directions, though.)

4. iBeacons

Rumors persisted ahead of WWDC this year that Apple’s developer conference would, more or less, be the year of the iBeacon—Apple’s proximity-sensor, announced last year, which promises to support a new range of location based services in places such as retail stores. 

But Apple didn’t mention iBeacons once at the WWDC keynote.

Of course, that doesn’t mean Apple is abandoning the iBeacon project or that it won’t have plenty of developers working on iBeacons during the WWDC sessions this week. The most we can tell, in fact, is simply that Apple didn’t have anything new to announce about iBeacon support.

5. iTunes, Beats, Music

Apple’s senior VP Craig Federighi was the star of the show at WWDC, announcing all the new features (except for the new Swift programming language) and showing them off. He even gave Dr. Dre a call with the new calling app shared between Mac OS X and iOS. But other than Dre’s slightly surly phone call with Federighi, music was notably missing from the WWDC keynote. 

Apple didn’t have any Beats news during the keynote, nor did it have an update to iTunes or anything music-related in iOS 8 or Mac OS X Yosemite. For a company whose executives said last week that “music is dying,” that’s a bit surprising. 

6. Apple TV

Apple’s set top streaming box normally gets short shrift at events. It hardly ever rates a mention outside of download numbers and the software for it is hardly ever publically updated.

See also: Apple TV: The Fun Little Experiment Is Getting Serious

This year might have been different; there were signs that Apple was putting more effort into the device and giving it a higher profile on its website. But Apple TV was basically a no-show at WWDC 2014, although it may still be waiting for its day in the sun—perhaps later this year, closer to the holiday shopping season.

7. Dual-Screen iPad Support

One of the biggest arguments against the iPad over the years is how hard it is to use two different apps at once. Samsung offers dual-screen app support and app switching for its bigger tablets and smartphones; Microsoft has made using several apps on a single screen a central philosophy in Windows 8.

Rumors said Apple may announce dual-screen apps at WWDC, but if the company is working on that feature—and it probably is—apparently it’s not yet ready for prime time.

What did you want to see at WWDC 2014 that Apple neglected? Let us know in the comments. 

Lead image by Flickr user z287marc, CC 2.0

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