iOS 8 images leak: it's iOS 7, but with new, unnecessary apps
Apparently, you’re looking at Apple's iOS 8.
The well informed folks from 9to5Mac put their street cred on the line for these screenshots from Weibo. We wouldn't doubt it - it's unlikely that iOS 8 will look dramatically different from iOS 7.1 - but for the appearance of four new icons: the already-rumoured 'Healthbook', 'Tips', 'TextEdit' and 'Preview'. That doesn't quite stack up for us.
TextEdit and Preview appear to have been ported direct from Mac OS X, icons and all. These icons are a blast from the past and fall well short of Jony Ive's skeuomorphism-free iOS makeover, but as pointed out on 9to5Mac's comments section, that's OK - they could be placeholders for the minimalist icons that will ultimately replace them. We just can't understand why you'd need TextEdit or Preview on an iPhone in the first place.
iOS already has a TextEdit-style word processor in Notes, which is still present and correct in these screenshots. Apple has also made its powerful iWork apps free. Preview, a quick-view gallery app that opens up PDFs and images on the Mac desktop, is also redundant, as those tasks are handled elsewhere in iOS already (in Mail, for example). Introducing redundant apps is introducing unnecessary complexity to the simple iOS. And that simplicity makes us question the need for a Tips app, too.
9to5Mac speculates that, because TextEdit and Preview auto-sync with iCloud on the Mac desktop, an iOS version of each could be a part of Apple's wider strategy to make sure you have all your important stuff on every device. This sounds quite convincing, although we'd expect Apple to find a more elegant way of syncing those files with existing iOS apps, or new built-for-purpose ones. Again, it's possible these 'apps' are actually placeholders for what will ultimately be a technology that runs in the background in iOS 8.
The appearance of Healthbook is in line with Apple's plans for an internal app focused on health. We've speculated for a while that Apple would introduce more health-based functions to the iPhone that’ll fully utilize the M7 motion co-processor inside it. It seems plausible that Apple would introduce a one-stop app for all of the health and activity metrics the iPhone and its connected health accessories (such as an iWatch) are measuring - and the look and feel of the Healthbook icon here falls in line with that of iOS' ticketing and payments app, Passbook.
We’re willing to bet everything in our pocket on Healthbook. After all, it won’t be an epic showdown if Apple doesn’t take a cue from the Samsung Galaxy S5’s heart-rate monitor and fitness-focused apps. Or was it the other way around? These days, we’ve lost track of who copied which features.
Whether the next iOS is set to get these apps or not, you can expect the iOS 8 rumours to come thick and fast from now on in. Stay tuned.