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A new report on 9to5Mac claims to have information on what Apple will bring to the table when iOS 8 launches for iPhones and iPads—whenever that might actually happen. The report cites unnamed “sources briefed on [Apple’s] plans” and says that iOS 8 will offer users a new and improved Apple Maps app, not to mention a focus on health monitoring and biometric data collection and analysis.

So what kinds of improvements will Apple Maps receive? The post says it’ll rely on “enhanced data so it is more reliable,” along with “new points of interests and new labels to make places such as airports, parks, train stations, bus stops, highways, and freeways easier to find.” Additionally, Apple’s summer 2013 acquisition of public transit app HopStop will inform its mapping app as well, giving users directions and data on public transportation schedules—at least for “major cities, such as San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York.”

HopStop isn’t the only acquisition whose tech might show up in the new and improved Apple Maps. In 2013, the company also bought PrimeSense, the Israeli firm who provided the foundations for the original Xbox Kinect, and some speculated at the time that the buy was related to 3D mapping, which could provide the better mapping data to the app service. Two other mapping services, BroadMap and Embark, were also acquired last year, so it seems likely that the app will actually deliver on its promises this time around.

The new mobile OS will also reportedly include an app called Healthbook, which will allow users to manage “fitness activity and health information.” Like news of a better mapping app, none of this is particularly surprising either. We’ve been hearing that Apple’s been doing lots of work in the health and biometrics space, like its patent to predict heart attacks based on the sound of blood moving through your arteries and another patent for monitoring your health through headphones.

In short, if all this turns out to be the real deal, iOS 8 will give iPhone users a lot to be happy about. When iOS 7 was unveiled at Apple’s WWDC last summer, the operating system was making lots of tweaks and improvements to how it worked under the hood, incorporating a lot of Android’s best features. But iOS 8 sounds like it’ll actually deliver some more meaningful and flashy improvements that might actually change the way users interact with the OS. Will we see this newest OS unveiled at WWDC this summer?

[Source: 9to5Mac]

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