Oh! There is one more thing…
Greeted by a standing ovation, Steve Jobs took to the stage at the annual Apple WWDC 2011 to lead the keynote on June 6, 2011. The weeklong Apple Worldwide Developers Conference takes place in San Francisco’s Moscone Center and is main platform for Apple to make new product announcements to a gathering of 5,200 developers, 1000 Apple engineers and VIP guests. This year Apple spoke about three new software products to enhance their hardware lines. The upcoming Macintosh operating system, Mac OS X 10.7 aka Lion, the next iOS for it’s industry transforming hand held devices and the introduction, for most of us, to iCloud – which will transform how we work with, share and store or data, photos and music.
Steve Jobs, iCEO currently on medical leave from Apple, handed the task of introducing the new operating systems to his VPs, Phil Schiller and Scott Forstall. Schiller began with the Mac’s growth of the past few years pointing out that the Macs market had grown while the PC market actually shrank. He then went on to highlight the top ten, 250 new features in the Lion OS for Mac.
Building on the multitouch gestures available on all Macs, users can get a physical reaction to their work on the screen. Using pinch and swipe gestures users can zoom in and out and flick between photos, pages and even between apps. Having learned from the iOS devices, iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, Apple is doing away with user interface and give users full screen apps.
Also borrowing from iOS is the Mac App Store, applications bought on the App Store are available across all devices connected to your Apple ID. The Launch Pad app brings iOS look and feel to the desktop with its iPad-like presentation of all applications. Apple is also doing away with file management chores, like saving and backing up by automating the process. Additionally, Versions will allow users to keep previous incarnations of working documents. Applications will resume where the user left off re-opening documents, tool pallets and even highlighting selected text if that’s how the user left the app. Apple will provide even easier Peer to Peer networking and file sharing further enhancing the Mac’s legendary ease of use. The most phenomenal aspect of the aspect is that Lion will be available for $29 USD.
Scott Forstall then presented the top ten features iOS 5. One of most notable is that notifications are moved to the Notifications Center app. Currently notifications disrupt the operation of the iOS devices. Users cannot hang up a phone call if a notification opens during the call. In iOS 5, notifications simply pop in and auto-dismiss to the Notification Center for later follow up. Apple is also cutting the tether between the PC and the iOS devices so that updates can happen “over the air” using Wi-Fi and iOS devices will be able to be set up without first connecting to a Mac or a PC. Another highlight is that the Camera app is now accessible from the lock screen so users can immediately capture an image. Additionally the “volume up” button can be used as the shutter making captures even more convenient. Forstall joked that users can “turn the volume up by pressing the shutter button.”
Perhaps the most significant announcement was saved for Steve Jobs – the iCloud service that will be available for free to users of all iOS and Mac devices. Ushering in the post-PC era Apple has demoted the PC as the center of the “digital hub” that they introduced ten years ago. Now that user’s devices have changed trying to sync across all of them is crazy making. iCloud accounts will allow users to automatically sync, contacts, calendars, as well as documents between their devices. Building on the new features of Lion and iOS the iCloud service seamlessly connects and tracks users purchases and creates 5GB of space for data and automated backups.
Oh and there was one more thing. iTunes Match and iCloud adds an unprecedented feature for $29/year. Apple will automatically upgrade user’s own ripped music to a higher quality AAC 256 Kbps versions. This is a really interesting feature an perhaps will calm the nerves of the record industry as they will get something for content that otherwise is uncontrollable. iCloud automated syncing, backups and document storage could be the salvation of user’s data or could increase the costs of internet services in general. iCloud’s success could be a great boon to Apple as it will increase sales of hardware and could change they way the market deals with cloud services.