Is this what iOS 8 will look like?

Alleged screenshots of iOS 8 emerge on Chinese website.

It's barely mid-March and already the iOS 8 rumors are starting to fly. Earlier today, 9to5Mac posted a purported screenshot of iOS 8 which showcases a number of interesting new apps.

Most notably, we have the presence of a Healthbook app. Healthbook, of course, is a rumored iOS app that will reportedly interface with Apple's also rumored iWatch wherein it will present users with an array of health-related biometric information. According to a subsequent tweet from typically dead-on Apple blogger Mark Gurman, the icon color scheme breaks down as follows, "Red = Blood Pressure, Orange = Calories Burned, Green = Heart Rate."

Apple has made a dizzying number of biomedical hires over the last few months and it stands to reason that the rumored iWatch will be able to monitor a small number of health vitals rather accurately. Also recall that Apple earlier this year hired Philips Research sleep expert Roy J.EM Raymann to presumably lend his expertise to the iWatch team.

If indeed accurate, I gotta say that the Healthbook icon design is pretty sleek, with a nice color pattern to boot.

But, of course, there are more notable apps to dissect here as it's hard to miss the traditionally OS X-only 'Preview' and 'TextEdit' apps gracing the iOS screen above.

So what gives? Apple executives have been pretty adamant about iOS and OS X not merging, so what's the story here?

As Gurman explained in a post published Thursday morning, Apple is aiming to bridge the gap between OS X and iOS with respect to synchronization.

Apple is developing versions of the Mac operating system’s Preview and TextEdit applications that are optimized for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The applications are said to not be designed to actually edit PDFs, images, or text documents. Instead, the apps are built to serve as tools to view Preview and TextEdit files stored in iCloud by OS X. 

It's hard to argue with Gurman's track record, but I just don't see this happening. The last thing Apple needs is even more built-in apps taking up valuable real estate on the iOS homescreen. Besides, given that the Notes app already mimics much of TextEdit's functionality, the inclusion of a new text editor seems superfluous. Of course, it would make much more sense if a new TextEdit app was released in place of Apple's longstanding Notes app. Still, this still seems highly unlikely.

Lastly we have a "Tips" app, but no one has really come up with an explanation for what this may represent.

iOS 8 will likely be unveiled at this year's WWDC. iOS 7 was mostly about aesthetic changes, so expect some more substantive and functional updates to iOS this time around. Even more intereting will be what Apple's 2013 iPhone lineup looks like, especially with rumors that Apple will release two new iPhone models with larger screen sizes.

Copyright © 2014 IDG Communications, Inc.

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