Apple again set the foundation for the next stage of innovation at WWDC 2011 with their announcement of the iCloud, OSX (Lion) and iOS5. Innovation is key this year as Apple has not invented a new device but rather they are moving technology forward and are the one company who has the foundation set to make it successful where other companies have failed.
The first new innovation is Apple’s iCloud technology and App Store. iCloud is a tool to allow seamless integration into your applications (“not a hard disk in the sky”) whether it’s pages, keynotes, numbers, email and gives you access to those applications and content no matter what device you are using. No more syncing via wire with your computer to update your Operating System (OS), applications or music library. One library connects to multiple devices without any wire syncing occurring. Users can open documents, edit them and then open that same edited document on their computer, iPad or iPhone. Content is now accessible on all your devices. Apple has not given an official release date but it is expected around Fall 2011. iCloud is FREE to those who upgrade to Lion, Apple’s next OS.
Which brings me to the next BIG innovation from Apple – OSX Lion. There are over 250 new features but the top ones that Apple touts are Multi-Touch gestures, Mission Control, Full-Screen Apps and Launchpad. Multi-Touch gestures allows users to use multiple finger gestures on the touch pad to control the interface with their computer, such as full screen swiping and page and image zoom, and three finger swipe down to immediately go to Mission Control feature. Mission Control gives you a view of apps and windows open on your computer so you can quickly look at what you were doing and where you want to go next on your computer. You can create a dashboard or desktop view that take you to all things relevant to a project you are working on, Apple calls it the “Hub of Your System”. The next OSX Lion feature is Full-Screen Apps. In the past with Apple you expanded your app window view to the size you wanted. Now with a simple click in the upper right corner of each app you can expand to the full size of your computer screen or Full-Screen. This is not a major improvement but something Apple needed to incorporate into their applications. Launchpad is a definite improvement on the past method of keeping track of your applications and updating them. In the past if you moved the applications out of the apps folder then your system update did not locate them automatically to get the latest update and it was sometimes difficult to find your application. Now with Launchpad, applications are automatically all in one place viewable via icons making them easier to find. You can group applications that fall into a category such as “Productivity” and place all your Word, Excel, PowerPoint apps in a group, just like dragging and dropping apps on the iPad and iPhone to group apps together. And if that wasn’t enough, the ONLY way you can get this operating system for a mere $29.95 is thru the Mac App Store which now can be on your Mac computer like it is on your iPhone and iPad. No more CDs and printed manuals. One hundred percent all digital is now how Apple will offer all new applications and this is just the beginning we are seeing from Apple. Expect to see other technology companies take this trend but Apple is leading the way with making the digital method the ONLY method to get the new OS.
Finally, Apple announced the iOS5 which is the new operating system for the iPad and iPhone. Again leading the way with over 200 new features in this update with the top features being Notification Center which is an improved method of announcing new SMS, Mail, Event, and WiFi locations without interrupting your current activity. Other features are iMessage, Reminders, Twitter integration, an improved Camera and Photo Streaming, improving your Safari or browsing experience with the smaller screens on iPad and iPhone with tabbed browsing and Reading List generator. But one of the best items added to this iOS is the fact that you no longer have to sync via wire with your computer EVER. You can upload all updates via the iCloud which in turns updates all your devices. This is major as there was always some sync issue with documents not matching up on one device and having to connect via wire and move over from your computer to your iPad or even to make sure your music library was updated on all your devices which drives people crazy trying to keep it all organized together.
Other announcements at the 2011 WWDC include:
- No new iPhone 4S or iPhone 5 was announced this time.
- R.I.P MobileMe – it’s dead and everything now goes into iCloud – all free for up to 5GB and it will update across all your Apple devices.
- The Volume up button can now be used to take a photo on your iPhone 4.
- A split virtual keyboard on iPad that allows for easier typing. Our hands thank Apple!
- iTunes 10.3 is out. – launch the old one to upgrade.
- App Store gets a magazine stand
Apple truly fixed the content sync issue with iCloud, OSX Lion and iOS5 bringing it all together in true Apple form and simplicity and we love it!