Apple’s WWDC 2011
Apple’s WorldWide Developer Conference 2011 was an event which was quite hyped. And it has lived up to most of its expectations except for some new hardware.
A quickie on what’s to come in this post- Mac OS X Lion, iOS 5 and iCloud.
- Mac OS X: The Mac OS X Lion is Apple’s latest addition to its already huge family. Like the previous iterations of the Mac OS X, Lion is built on the rock-solid UNIX foundation. Mac OS X Lion is rumored to have 250 new features. This OS adds a plethora of new features like multitouch, full-screen apps, Mission Control, LaunchPad and an interesting new feature called Resume.
This feature lets the user pick up from where he/she last left, showcasing a new auto-save attribute of this OS. This nifty little feature saves different versions of your document. The files are created automatically and only the changes of your file are saved. So, you certainly won’t have jillions and jillions of copies of your file roaming about! Another new feature is AirDrop, a P2P file sharing system for Macs. The user has to confirm to send & receive content and the transfer of information is fully encrypted, Apple claims.
Mission Control lets you see all the applications and documents you’re currently using. Basically, it combines everything into a huge screen from which you can access everything at once. The LaunchPad is an application which brings iOS to your Mac. All your applications are portrayed in an Apple-popularized grid. The applications will be spread across multiple pages.
The Mail application has also been updated and is apparently more ‘beautiful’. Mail has an all new search engine. It recognizes whether you’re searching for a person or a subject. You can search by date, sender and subject too! And of course, you can combine everything to narrow down your search. Also, there’s a new ‘conversation view’.. Something like the iOS text messaging view.
These were the major features in the OS. The other new stuff which is included is a Windows Migration Assistant, FaceVault 2, FaceTime(built-in) and Lion Server. And like almost every other Apple products, these are overpriced and are yet bought. *tsk tsk*
Nevertheless, it is quite a solid Operating System and lives up to the hype Apple created. Mac OS X will be available in the Mac App Store from July for $29.99 as a 4 GB download. Apple has been considerate enough to drop the prices of upgrades. This is purportedly the “easiest upgrade ever”. You won’t have to reboot your Mac and you won’t have to buy multiple copies to install on different Macs.
- iOS 5: Apple’s latest iteration of its Operating System for it’s mobile platform was released at the WWDC, as expected by consumers and developers around the world. iOS 5 will be available for the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad 1, iPad 2, iTouch 3rd gen and iTouch 4th gen. Overall, iOS 5 is just a sad attempt at coping up with Android.
The major overhaul in this version of iOS is the notifications system just like Android’s. This was a feature which was welcomed by iFans coz they were so envious of the Android notification system that they went & developed apps for it in Cydia. The new Notification Center combines all your iPhone notifications into one list which can be accessed by swiping your finger from the top of the screen to the bottom. Exactly like Android. Sadly, there is no ‘Clear All’ button which helps you clear all the notifications at once. Instead, you have to painstakingly tap on the ‘X’ to make it disappear. But, iFans certainly won’t mind, will they? They just need a reason to show off their devices. 😀
Notifications are also present on the lockscreen, much like Samsung’s TouchWiz.
Another new feature is NewsStand which will give you the ability to buy magazines and newspapers & read them on your device. Something which I’ve been able to do on my Galaxy S since eons, it seems.
The Twitter integration is also something that Jobs has stolen from Android. 🙄
Nevertheless, I shall go over it. You can just attach a photo, share an article from Safari or a map location with the help of the Twitter integration. Also, you can assign Twitter IDs to your contacts and view their Tweets when you view the contact information. Borrowed from Android. Again. *sigh*
I wonder why they haven’t integrated Facebook this way, though.
Apple wanted to make sure that all its consumers get a seamless reading experience and have therefore, added a feature in Safari by which all advertisements and irrelevant stuff is banished. Just the article is before your eyes. This innovative new technology is called Reader and will have Google AdSense users in tears. Tabbed Browsing is finally added to Safari for iOS. Also, something called a “Reading List” has also been incorporated. It accumulates pages which you want to umm…well, read later.
Reminders is an application which is going to have all the wives and girlfriends rejoicing. Husbands and boyfriends can now store a list of stuff and a date reminder in this application. Locations can also be assigned. It’ll sync across your Mac and iPad, too! So, the next time you won’t have an answer to “Why didn’t you call me after last night?”, you can blame Jobs.
There’s now a Camera button on the lockscreen as well! The volume-up button is the physical shutter key and pinch-to-zoom is used for zooming in/zooming out. Holding your finger down on a particular area will increase the exposure and will improve the lighting. In device editing features have also been added.
For the iPad, a new split keyboard has been added. Half the keyboard is on the left side of the screen and the other half is on the right. Didn’t I just see this in the Windows 8 tablets? Hmm..
The only cool feature I could find in iOS 5 is that it’s now cable-free. Setting up your new iOS device doesn’t mean that you have to connect it to your computer. It’s ready to go out of the box! Also, iOS updates are now going to be Over The Air. Even better, you won’t have to download the full OS again if Steve doesn’t like the colour of the icon. You’ll just need the data that has been changed!
The best feature about iOS 5 is iMessage. It is a messaging feature only for iOS users, irrespective of the device they’re currently using. It will have delivery and read notifications and a ‘typing’ indicator. You’ll be able to send messages, videos, photos and contacts. Just like BBM. It will work over Wifi or 3G. This is a feature that Android users are gonna envy. No, I’m not ashamed in admitting that.
New multitasking features like “flicking” across applications have also been introduced. Not much was said on that, though.
iOS 5 will be available this fall.
- iCloud: Apple’s foray into cloud computing is something I was personally looking forward to. Since I couldn’t say it better than Steve Jobs, here is what he says- “iCloud stores your content in the cloud and wirelessly pushes it to all your device. It automatically uploads it, stores it, and pushes it to all your devices.”
All the content stored on your device such as music, documents etc will be backed up immediately and stored onto iCloud. Thankfully, advertising is not featured and calendar, mail and contact syncing is free up till 5 GB.
Photo Stream is a new crowd-puller from Apple. It is a gallery of photos that are synced from your iOS device and your Mac/PC. For example, if you’ve clicked a picture of your beautiful girlfriend on your iPhone, you don’t need to connect it to your computer to upload it onto Facebook to show it off to the world! The picture will automatically appear on your computer and your iPad! The picture will be stored in iCloud only for 30 days.
Most of the consumers out there are worried that most of their 5 GB in the clouds will be taken up by their HD photos! But, don’t you worry, FanBoy! Photo Stream doesn’t count towards your 5 GB of usage!
Sadly, only the device’s last 1000 pictures will be stored in your iCloud.
Calendar and contact sharing also got the FanBoys at the event squealing like little girls.
It’s the same story for applications, Pages, Numbers and Keynotes applications. You buy an app on your iPhone, you can download it onto your iPad/iTouch again without paying Apple a penny. Any documents edited on your iPhone will be automatically synced to your iPad and Mac thus, enabling you to start working on it from the very same spot!
After watching Google & Amazon launch their cloud services for music aficionados, Apple decided to come up with their own variant of cloud music streaming- iTunes Match. In Google’s cloud service, you have to upload your music manually to their cloud. Ditto for Amazon. This can take weeks if you have a large music library!
The twist in Apple’s iTunes’ cloud music streaming service is that you don’t have to upload your music onto Apple’s servers. Instead, iTunes scans your music library and matches the songs in its database and adds them to a list compiled especially for your device! If, for any reason, the song that you have is not in the iTunes database, it’ll be uploaded by Apple, especially for you. The songs will be available to you at 256 kbps without DRM. And yes, it’ll also be able to store your illegally downloaded music! 😀
iTunes Match is set to launch with iOS 5 and will cost $24.99 annually. Worth it. Every penny.
That’s all, folks! 😀