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At their last earnings call, Tim Cook mentioned that Apple is looking into mobile payments. Specifically, they would be using Touch ID to enable purchases at points of sale. This makes sense because iOS users spend more money than users of any competing mobile operating system.
Touch ID based mobile payments would also provide a better and more secure user experience than NFC (near field communications). NFC has caught on as a payment system in many parts of the world. Users tap a smart card or device on a POS terminal (or other device) to authenticate payments. Touch ID would offer more convenience and better security. You could pay for your purchase without having to be near a payment terminal. Fingerprint authentication would ensure that only the authorized user can complete the transaction. In the wake of serious breaches of security at Target and other retailers, Touch ID based mobile payments make a lot of sense. If Apple can get a cut of the transaction, it could boost profits substantially.
Siri will be improved in iOS 8. Apple’s digital personal assistant gets a makeover with every release of iOS. In addition to new voices and languages, Siri will be enabled with new functionality. Given the health and fitness focus of iOS 8, I expect Siri to offer complimentary functionality.
I also expect Siri to work with Apple TV. Apple TV will undergo a major refresh in 2014. I would even go so far as to say Siri will be included in the new Apple TV. The new model will likely have an A7 processor, which is capable of running Siri. Users would speak to Siri using a redesigned remote control, which might also function as a gaming controller. If Siri isn’t included directly in Apple TV, it is likely that your iOS device will support Siri commands for controlling the set-top box.
Some tech experts expect that multitasking will be improved in iOS 8. Specifically, they feel that there will be split screen capabilities. I don’t expect this to happen. Split screen multitasking on an iPhone is just too cumbersome for Apple. It could possibly be a feature unique to the iPad, but I doubt it.
I don’t expect radical changes from iOS 7. iOS 7 was a huge change. The difference between iOS 7 and iOS 8 will be more like the difference between iOS 5 and iOS 6. The look and feel will be similar. There will be enhancements, but don’t expect radical changes like split screen multitasking. Running two apps simultaneously wouldn’t even work on anything but the newest iOS devices. Even with the best iOS device, it’s still not feasible to have two resource-intensive apps running side-by-side. For example, think of GarageBand running in one pane and Infinity Blade 3 running in the other. This could only work with a few apps. iOS multitasking allows background processes to run, but don’t expect to be able to run two apps simultaneously. (continue…)