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Digital Savant

Posted: 11:11 a.m. Friday, June 6, 2014

Micro: will Apple's 'Handoff' simplify device juggling? 

Apple's "Handoff"
David Paul Morris / Bloomberg
Craig Federighi, vice president of software engineering at Apple Inc., delivers a keynote address during the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco on June 2. Apple unveiled new features for its mobile and computer software, including “Handoff,” which allows tasks started on one device to be completed on another.

By Omar L. Gallaga

Last week at the kickoff of its Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple failed to introduce any new hardware, but it debuted a new programming language, Swift, and lots of software tweaks. The updates for its Mac OS (next version named “Yosemite”) and iOS mobile software (next version: 8) are due in the fall as free software upgrades. What feature are we most intrigued by? Something Apple calls “Handoff.”

For Apple devotees who have Mac computers as well as mobile devices such as iPhones and iPads, Handoff may provide some sanity, allowing users to finish tasks on one device that they started on another. For instance, you could begin an email on an iPad and finish it later on a Mac, picking up right where you left off. Even better, Apple says it’ll allow an incoming iPhone call to be picked up via computer or iPad. Same goes for receiving and replying to any kind of text message.

It’s promised the feature will work with Mail, Safari, Maps, Calendar and other apps, including some developed by companies other than Apple. Though it should bring some welcome continuity to those of us juggling multiple devices, we’ll reserve judgment until we see Handoff in action.

In this space every week, we’ll define a tech term, offer a timely tip or answer questions about technology from readers. Email

Omar L. Gallaga

About Omar L. Gallaga

Omar L. Gallaga writes about technology culture for the Austin American-Statesman. He was a technology correspondent for NPR's "All Things Considered," helping originate the All Tech Considered segment and blog.

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