Apple recently concluded a keynote presentation at their World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco. Though we did not get to see any new Apple hardware, Steve Jobs and group did announce a couple of super awesome software products in the line. This post will talk about each of them. So buckle up, this is going to be a long one.
The three major software that were announced at WWDC are:
Lets go through each of them.
Mac OS X Lion:
This is probably the last version in the Max OS X series of operating systems. Apple didn’t say so, but as Lion is at the top of the cat family, we figure this is probably gonna be the last one. Unless they switch to some other animal family. Nevertheless, the new OS packs some pretty awesome features:
Lion will ship with many new multi touch gestures which you can use to do stuff on your computer. Things like switching between open apps, pinch to zoom, double tap to zoom etc. are some of the new additions.
Lion will have out of box API to enable switching to full screen. Developers can use this API to enable their apps to be switched to full screen. This will come up as a control on the top right corner of the app.
The mission control is kind of like a bird’s eye view of what is happening on your mac right now. When you launch mission control, you will see all the spaces that you have and all the windows in those spaces. You can also move windows around in spaces, create new ones and bring any window in the focus. All at a few taps of your fingers.
This is kind of like iOS home screen for mac. You get to see all the apps installed in your mac here. You can organize them into folders and arrange them in screens, just like you do on your iOS device.
This is probably going to be the best of all the features. Resume will restore your apps to the state they were in when you last closed them. So, if you are in the middle of doing something critical with a lot of windows open and you have to restart your computer, resume will restore all your open windows after the restart as if they weren’t even closed!
Mac OS X Lion will come with a feature that will keep on automatically saving your work. So Command + S will be a thing of the past. Plus, it will also maintain versions of the file you are working on. So you can revert back to any of them whenever you want.
The airdrop is Lion’s solution to the file sharing woes. With AirDrop, you will be able to send files to any of your peers within 30 feet who are also running Lion. No need anymore to get into file sharing stuff and all. This will even work without any WiFi network (though it will use your mac’s wifi card to set up the peer to peer network).
Apart from the above mentioned features, Lion will also have a totally revamped Mail app and the App store built in. Also, there will be no separate server version. Instead, there will be apps for Lion server available in the app store now. You can get more info on Lion here & here. And here is a video demonstrating all these features:
Lion will ship in July 2011 and will be available exclusively though the Mac App Store at a price of $29.99. So if you want to upgrade, make sure you are on the latest version of Snow Leopard. That will be 10.6.7. Plus, if you have more than one mac at your home, you won’t have to pay for all of them. Just buy on one mac and download for free on the others!
The next iteration in the iOS series. This update will bring some of the most wanted features from iOS:
Finally we will have much better notification system in iOS. The notification system will shift from the currently annoying pop ups to more subtle notifications at the top of the screen. All you need to do is drag your finger from top to bottom to pull the notifications drawer on the screen. From here, you can swipe on any one of them to take you to the corresponding application. The notifications will also be visible on the lock screen and accessible from there via a swipe.
The messaging app in iOS is getting a total revamp. In addition to SMS and MMS, it will now double up as an instant messenger. You can chat with people who also have iOS 5 device for free from within the iMessage app. The service will work over cellular data and WiFi and will also sport features like typing indication, delivery & read receipts.
This new app/folder is built on the fact that there are plethora of subscription magazines and newspapers available in the app store now. With newsstand, all your subscriptions will be gathered in one place for you to read. Moreover, it will download any new subscription in the background for you. So if you use your iPad in potty to read newspaper or magazines, you will no longer have to wait for the content to download.
This is a new app which will help you in keeping track of stuff. This is similar to any other reminder app out there, with one big exception – it will also support location based reminders. So if you want to remind yourself to get a new pack of condoms the next time you go shopping, you can set up a reminder around the supermarket area in your neighborhood. So the next time you go to the supermarket, the app will remind you to buy condoms.
In iOS 5, twitter will be built in. This will allow you to tweet from the built in apps in the OS. iOS will allow single sign on for twitter and will feature a tweet sheet which you can use to tweet from anywhere.
iOS 5 will bring a lot of improvements in the iPhone’s, iPad 2’s & iPod touch’s camera. You will be able to use the volume up button to take a picture. There will also be a lock screen shortcut to take you to the camera app directly from the lock screen. Don’t worry though, if you have set up a passcode, all your existing photos will be safe. The camera will also feature pinch to zoom, grid lines & auto focus and auto exposure lock.
The photos app in iOS 5 will let you perform basic editing on your photos. Things like red eye reduction, crop, rotate, and auto enhance will be available.
The Safari browser in iOS 5 will have new features like reader view, reading list and tabbed browsing on the iPad. While reader will transform the web page you are visiting into a content centric page, reading list will enable you to save links and then read them later on any other iOS device or Safari on mac or PC.
This is probably the biggest improvement in iOS. iOS 5 will not need your device to be tethered to a computer. Instead, you can setup the device right on to the device itself. You can use iCloud to backup your device and store your purchases. No need to sync to a computer now.
In case you do need to sync your device with your computer, you can do so now without any wires over your WiFi network.
Apart from these features, iOS 5 will also have many other features like rich text formatting, draggable addresses & flagging in Mail, new multitouch gestures for iPad and AirPlay mirroring for iPad 2. Also, since iOS 5 is PC free, any new updates to the OS will be downloaded over the air (OTA) onto your device. These updates will now be delta updates, as opposed to full OS downloads in previous versions. You can get the details of these features here. Here is a video demonstrating the new features:
iOS 5 will be available to consumers this fall and will be compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad 1 & 2, and iPod touch 3rd and 4th gen.
Steve Jobs said that iCloud is more than just a hard disk in the cloud. And he is totally right. iCloud will give you 5 GB of space in the cloud. This space will not be used for your purchases from apple’s stores or your backups. In addition to being a backup location for your iDevice, Apple’s iCloud will bring in a plethora of features to consumers:
With iCloud, whatever you buy from Apple’s iTunes, iBooks or app store, will be available to download on all your devices for free. So if you buy a song on your iPhone, you can download it for free on your iPad or iTunes on your mac. Same will be the case with apps. Plus, if you switch on automatic download in your device’s settings, iCloud will automatically push your purchase to that device. These features are available in beta right now in iOS 4.3 on iPhone 4 GSM, iPad, iPod touch and iTunes 10.3.
This service is probably going to be the USP of iCloud. By paying $24.99 per annum to apple, iTune will match all the songs in your library (no matter where you got them from) with over 18+ million songs in the iTunes store. The matched songs will be given the same benefits as those that you have purchased from the iTunes music store (256 Kbps AAC, download everywhere). Those which do not match, will be uploaded to the iCloud for you to access from any iDevice you want. This has a limit of 20,000 songs but is totally worth the price.
I addition to music, iCloud will also store your photos in the cloud. So, the moment you take a picture on your iPhone, it will be available on your iPad, iPod touch, iPhoto, Apple TV and Pictures folder on Windows. The iCloud will store 30 days worth of photos, the iDevices will store the last 1000 photos and mac and PC will store the entire library.
iCloud will also let you store your documents in the cloud. These can be documents from any app on your iDevice in addition to the iWork apps from Apple. Developers will have APIs to integrate this feature in their apps. You can start working on a presentation on your iPad and finish it on your iPhone on the way to work and the changes will be synced to all your devices.
In addition to the above features, iCloud will also back up all your apps & iBooks in the cloud. It will also enable you to backup your iDevice to the cloud and restore from it anytime you want. Yes, over the air.
iCloud will also store all your contacts, calendars & email. So whenever you change a contact on your iPhone, it will automatically reflect on your iPad. Also, with iCloud, you get a free @me.com email account which will be synced to all your iDevices.
Though some of the features of iCloud are available as beta now in iOS 4.3, it will be formally available this fall with the release of iOS 5. You can check out all the features here.
Sounds like an awesome set of new software products from Apple. As always, the developer seeds for these are out and people are discovering lots of un-announced features in them. More on them later in other posts.
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