Apple unveils Healthkit, Continuity and Family Sharing

Faith Merino · June 2, 2014 · Short URL:

Here's what you missed...

WWDC came and went, and one thing is clear: Craig Federighi is Apple’s new “It Boy.” No sign of Jony Ive or Phil Schiller anywhere. Even Federighi admitted: “this must be some kind of endurance test from Tim.”

But onto the nuts and bolts of what you missed. Ultimately, there were no real surprises. Honestly, the whole thing felt a little “meh,” in my opinion—maybe because there was no hardware. Maybe I shouldn’t have gotten my heart set on a solar-powered iWatch that measures your blood glucose levels

As was expected, iOS 8 was revealed, which includes a bunch of new features. The team finally revealed “Healthkit,” with its corresponding “Health” app, which more or less curates your health data points from various third party apps. The company is working with the Mayo Clinic to integrate the app so that when a patient gets a blood pressure reading, for example, the app automatically updates to include that data and compare it with the patient’s typical blood pressure readings.

This seems like a cool new app at first glance, but really, who uses more than one or two health-tracking devices? And how many people go to the Mayo Clinic for all their healthcare needs?

Some other new iOS 8 features include interactive notifications, allowing you to respond to notifications directly from your locked screen without having to unlock your phone, whether that’s a text, email, or a notification on Facebook (you can “like” or comment on a Facebook post right from your locked screen now).

Additionally, messaging got a big facelift. Now, you can take more control over group messaging by naming threads, adding and removing people from a conversation, putting a “Do Not Disturb” notification on a thread, choosing to share your location, and now you can choose when to leave thread.

Users can also send voice messages via text—as in, you speak into your phone like you’re leaving a voicemail message, and it transmits via text.

Your Photos app got an update, with smart editing, which does a detailed image analysis to help you tweak the lighting and color.

One of the bigger feature unveilings, though, was Family Sharing, which lets you share purchased media like movies, books, and music with up to six family members (as long as everyone is using the same credit card). Kids can use it, too, but if they attempt to make purchases, it sends a notification to their parents to get permission. Brilliant. Beyond media, though, Family Sharing allows family members to share photos, calendars, reminder lists, and help find lost devices.

Another big feature unveiling was Continuity, which works across all of your devices to let you start an email, text, or whathaveyou on one device, and continue on another. Essentially, what this means is you can start an email on your iPhone, and your Mac “knows” what you’re doing, so if you’re in proximity to it, you can set your phone down, hop on your Mac, and you’ll see a notification that will allow you to pick up right where you left off.

Additionally, you can now use your iPhone as a hotspot for your Mac or iPad if you’re on the go, and you get cross-platform messaging on your Mac.

With the new Mac update, OS X Yosemite, calls will now show up on your Mac with caller ID, and you can even answer calls and use your Mac like a speaker phone. In that same vein, you’ll also be able to make calls directly from your Mac.

OS X Yosemite will be available in the fall for free, but Apple is launching a public beta program over the summer for non-developers. 


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