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June 6, 2014updated 22 Sep 2016 1:24pm

Apple’s 5 coolest gadgets yet to be released

What to expect with the iWatch, Beats and iOS8.

By Joe Curtis

Ah, Apple. Five years ago it was the most innovative company around, head and shoulders above its competitors, with its boss and founder Steve Jobs providing its own most important anatomical parts.

Now, though, it’s under fire from critics and fans alike for an apparent failure to keep up with game-changing gadgets – instead focusing on developing Jobs’ own innovations further.

But is that really true? There’s plenty of exciting releases in the pipeline, it’s just that they’re not all hardware these days. Let’s take a look at five to get excited about.

(Main picture: credit to Brett Jordan)

iWatch

It feels like we’ve been talking about the iWatch for a year already, but there’s still no confirmed release date for Apple’s venture into wearable tech.

One analyst known for his accuracy has pegged the device for a September release date, and believes the smartwatch will come in two different sizes: a 1.3-inch screen and a 1.5-inch screen, both of which will integrate with Apple’s other devices, the iPhone, iPad and Mac.

Other features would include biometric technology, an NFC chip, and a 200 to 250 mAH battery, which is longer than average for many existing smartwatches.

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Some rumours suggest LG is close to agreeing a deal with Apple to build the screens.

‘Beats’ headphones

It was the start of summer when Apple announced its $3bn deal to buy rapper Dr Dre’s Beats headphones business.

Then, at its annual developer conference, WWDC, it officially revealed the new Lightning module, specifically designed for headphones.

As Apple’s manager of platform accessories Robert Walsh, told Apple Insider: "If your headphones support, for example, noise cancellation, you can offer an app on your device that communicates with your headphones that controls how it operates."

While Apple users could benefit from richer sound and better controls for things like iTunes Radio, the Lightning connector jack would replace the regular headphone jack to provide users with "lossless stereo 48 kHz digital audio, and mono 48 kHz input for microphones".

iOS8

The big disappointment from WWDC was that Apple didn’t announce any gadgets to sate their news-hungry fanboys/girls with.

However, most people agree that their software announcements were nearly as tantalising as some news about the iWatch or iPhone 6 would have been.

Take iOS8, for example. We won’t see anything until autumn with the new raft of device releases, but the new operating system looks pretty revolutionary.

It looks to be the first version to bring your Mac and your iPhone closer together than ever before due to a new feature called Handoff, which allows you to pick up work where you left off when switching between iOS 8and OS X devices.

With that, you can switch seamlessly between devices to work on documents, emails and texts, as well as getting SMS messages (as opposed to iMessages) on your iPad or Mac, and making calls over Wi-Fi.

HomeKit

An iOS8 feature, HomeKit will aim to make your iPhone or iPad the device that controls your house.

You can instruct it to lock the door, dim the lights and more – home automation firms can use APIs to let you control Internet of Things-connected devices via your iPad.

HealthKit

This one is another iOS8 release, though developers have their hands on it now, those lucky so and sos.

The idea here is to provide one central space for all your health-related apps and information, rather than expecting to see a sudden rush into the fitness hardware space by Apple anytime soon.

That’s because it can be used with third-party apps from the likes of Nike, and even allow patients to share health data with their doctors.

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