Since the conception of the Internet of things (IoT), a large number of promising applications and technologies have been developed, which will change different aspects in our daily life. This paper explores the key characteristics of the forthcoming IEEE 802.11ah specification. This future IEEE 802.11 standard aims to amend the IEEE 802.11 legacy specification to support IoT requirements. We present a thorough evaluation of the foregoing amendment in comparison to the most notable IEEE 802.11 standards. In addition, we expose the capabilities of future IEEE 802.11ah in supporting different IoT applications. Also, we provide a brief overview of the technology contenders that are competing to cover the IoT communications framework. Numerical results are presented showing how the future IEEE 802.11ah specification offers the features required by IoT communications, thus putting forward IEEE 802.11ah as a technology to cater the needs of the Internet of Things paradigm.