On Monday, June 6, Apple opened its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, California. The rumor mill has been running full tilt over the last few weeks with speculation about iCloud, the confirmation of the Mac operating system new release––Lion––and the iPhone/iPad release of iOS 5. While there were no huge “wow” moments, there were certainly a few utterances from the crowd of developers on hand. Steve Jobs was in attendance for the keynote even though he is currently away from his post at Apple on medical leave. Jobs and his gaggle of presenters wowed the audience for 2 hours. Here are some of the highlights:
Mac OS X Big 10 Features
1. Multi-Touch – In what is clearly the future of the Mac platform user experience, Apple has extended scrolling, tap to zoom, pinching, and swiping as basic user gestures across the OS.
2. Full-Screen Apps – In this era of small screens, developers have struggled to use the full-screen real estate to its fullest potential, and now full-screen apps come baked into Lion.
3. Mission Control – This new feature––a combination of Exposé and Spaces––lets you see everything occurring on your Mac.
4. Mac App Store – Apple claims that its Mac-oriented App Store has become the #1 PC software channel for buying software. Lofty claims, but regardless, it makes downloading content easy. Apple will, however, take a cut of every transaction, similar to the 30% from the iOS App Store.
5. Launchpad – This iPhone/iPad home screen meets Mac offers instant access to all applications, with the ability to group them into folders like the iPhone.
6. Resume – This brings you back to where you left off system-wide.
7. Auto Save – This automatic saving and versioning feature is presented with a Time Machine–like interface.
8. Versions – This gives the everyday person the ability to roll back to any version easily.
9. AirDrop – This peer-to-peer, Wi-Fi–based network for file sharing is built in, with no setup required beyond both the sender and receiver accepting a request to share files.
10. Mail – This brand-new email interface has intuitive search, conversation view, and tagging features.
Lion will be available only in the Mac App Store––no more optical media––and will work with all authorized Macs for a mere $30.
iOS Big 10 Features
1. Notifications – All notifications are combined into one unobtrusive interface, very similar to how Android handles notifications including info on the lock screen.
2. Newsstand – This “news rack” for all media is able to download new content as a background task.
3. Twitter – Since it is now integrated directly into the OS, sharing anything via Twitter will be very simple using a single sign-on.
4. Safari – Features have been added to enable easy, uncluttered viewing of websites, with Reading List built in and shared with all iOS devices via iCloud.
5. Reminders – This task list is complete with location alerts and iCal and Outlook integration and can be shared with multiple devices via iCloud.
6. Camera – The iPhone’s camera now offers grid lines, auto focus, exposure lock, pinch zoom, and the ability to use the volume button as a shutter button as well as the ability to access the camera from the lock screen.
7. Mail – You can now send email with rich formatting (bold, italic, underline) and indents. Flag support and the ability to do a full-text search also top the list of new features.
8. PC Free – There’s no need to own a PC to have an iOS device––wireless updates come to the OS with software updates over the air (OTA).
9. Game Center – Extensions of current Game Center features allow comparison with other users, including support for turn-based games, directly from the OS [?].
10. iMessage – You can send unlimited text messages to other iOS 5 users via Wi-Fi or 3G––it’s BlackBerry Messenger meets iOS.
iOS 5 is slated for release later this year.
Finally, the long-awaited and much-rumored iCloud: Apple states, “iCloud stores your content and wirelessly pushes it all to your devices.” MobileMe was the basis for the development of iCloud and was written from the ground up, sharing contacts, calendar events, documents, and mail-syncing with folders and inboxes synced on all devices via an @me.com account. iCloud offers once-a-day backup of all content via Wi-Fi, including purchased music, movies, apps, photos, and books. 5GB of storage comes free, but if you want to sync your music library with iTunes Match, it will cost you $25 per year.
Author: John Carew