When is the iWatch shipping? When can you buy an Apple television set? And when will Beats by Dre headphones become Beats by Apple headphones? Apple continued to up the ante for its 2014 product roadmap on Monday, further laying out plans for the company’s most ambitious year ever – even as the calendar continues to march onward without a single major new Apple hardware product having arrived so far this year. Today Apple showed off some the biggest software based changes to its Mac and iOS platforms to date, both of which will be shipping in the fall. And it also offered some vague clues as to when its other, brand new product lines will finally surface.
Apple all but unveiled the iWatch today when it showed off the HealthKit features of iOS 8. While the medical tracking features will be rooted in the iPhone itself, the technology practically begs to be used in conjunction with a wearable wristband which can monitor things like heart rate. HealthKit ships in the fall, so it’s now reasonable to expect the iWatch to arrive in the fall as well. Rumors say Apple has hired everyone from the designer of the Nike FuelBand to the CEO of Yves Saint Laurent to work on the technical and fashion aspects of the iWatch, making it a high priority within the company. But what of Apple television sets?
Today Apple made its WWDC keynote live stream available on Apple TV, the set top box it sells as an ancillary product, going so far as to add a special viewing app. While subtle, this may be a sign that Apple is finally nearing ready to unveil its plans for smart television sets, which have been playing out in the background since Steve Jobs was still with us. It’s a sign that just maybe, Apple television sets will debut this fall as well – but perhaps that’s just a bit too much wishful thinking.
Dr. Dre made a remote appearance at today’s WWDC keynote, appearing via phone call to demonstrate how iPhone users will be able to use their Mac computer to place and answer phone calls. The conversation consisted of mere smalltalk and gave no hint of what the Beats by Dre product line will look like under the Apple umbrella, other than to confirm again that Dre will be an active participant at Apple going forward, which Apple has already made clear last week when the deal was sealed.
Will Dre work with Apple design guru Jonathan Ive to make the Beats headphones look and sound more Apple-like? Or will Apple simply continue existing the existing Beats lineup under the separate brand? Those answers won’t come for at least a bit. WWDC is, after all, a developer conference. Apple won’t likely speak publicly again until its traditional fall media event in September, when everything from the next iPhone to the unveiling of the iWatch and the Apple television set will on the table. Until then, Apple will go right back to being its ever secretive self, and rumors will continue to fill the vacuum.