Monday was a pretty epic day for Apple users everywhere as the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference [WWDC] kicked off. The annual conference in where all Apple developers meet every year to get the latest on all things Apple-related. It was at this event that the last four iPhones were announced and so there were high expectations for this year’s event, though a new iPhone was not announced. As expected, Apple did not disappoint and they came out with a storm of new software announcements.
Now that the storm is over and the dust has cleared, we are here to give you a summary of the key points of the presentation including the Mac OS X Lion, iOS 5 and the new iCloud service.
Mac OS X Lion
Apple unveiled the next version of Mac OS X: Mac OS X Lion. It will be out in July exclusively on the Mac AppStore for $29.99. Mac OS X Lion will bring elements of iOS to the Mac. Some of the features include:
The new Mac OS is priced in a way that will entice Mac users and make it easy for them to upgrade. I think Microsoft should consider doing this with Windows 8.
Apple’s new mobile operating system is a vast improvement over its previous one the iOS 4, bringing a host of new features and enhancements that developers and consumers have been asking for and also some stuff that we did not expect, but happily welcome. The iOS 5 beta software is currently available to developers but won’t be available to consumers until fall this year. Here’s a list of what they added
Apple has made a great improvement on its notification system which, used to be quite annoying and disruptive. They have added a ‘Notification Center’ which shows all recent notifications from all the apps on your phone aggregated in one place. It displays things like weather, stock prices, new emails, texts and even friend requests. The feed can be accessed by swiping down from the top of the screen and can also be viewed from the device lock screen if new notifications have been received while the device was locked. If you get a new notification while using the device, it is unobtrusive and shows up in a bar on top of the screen without distracting you from whatever it is you were doing.
iMessage is a messaging platform for iOS. It’s like BlackBerry Messenger for iOS devices. It allows users communicate between iPads, iPhones and iPod touches. The service includes text, photos, videos, contacts, group messaging and the ability to show delivery receipts, read receipts. It even indicates when another person is typing. Unlike the Blackberry Messanger however, it runs mostly on email addresses, sort of like facetime I’m guessing, and is synchronized acros all your devices, allowing you to pick up your conversations where you left off, no matter which of your devices you are currently using.
iMessage will be supported via 3G and Wi-Fi and seems like it will be an exceptional application.
Newsstand is an application that keeps all magazine and newspaper subscriptions. All purchases will go directly to the newsstand app which then displays them so new issues are automatically downloaded.
Reminders is like your basic to-do list app. Except this one has an option to make items on the list location-based. Reminders can be synced with iCal, Outlook and in the cloud and as with all the other features, is seamlessly and automatically synced across all your iOS devices.
iOS 5 allows you tweet directly from Safari, Photos, Camera, YouTube or Maps. Twitter is also integrated with contacts, so you can find your friend’s Twitter handle when you type a name.
You can now open the Camera directly from the lock screen so its easier to point and shoot. It also has added features of a regular digital camera – single-tap focus, grid lines and exposure locks. The volume-up button now also works as the shutter for the camera.
The mobile web browser now includes a feature that let’s you save articles to read later, it’s called a ‘Reading List’. All these articles are also automatically synchronized across all your iOS devices.
PC Free connectivity
You no longer need a computer to set up an iOS device. All you need to do is switch on your device and enter your Apple ID to begin. Also included, are over-the-air updates so you dont have to connect to a PC to update to the latest OS.
iCloud is Apple’s internet service for content storage and sharing. It’s in direct competition with Amazon’s Music service and Google Music. Basically, you can buy music from iTunes on any Apple device; your music saves on iCloud and automatically synchronises to all your other devices: iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Mac and PC. Also, all past purchases can be downloaded to new devices and you can view a history of purchases on any of the devices.
If you wish to add songs you haven’t purchased from iTunes but you’ve ripped off a CD or purchased from anywhere else, you can upload them or use iTunes Match. For Just $24.99 a year, iTunes will determine which songs in your collection are available in the iTunes sotre, any music file with a match is automatically added to your iCloud library. Whatever iTunes can’t match, all you have to do is upload and its available to all your devices on iCloud. Comparing the price to Google and Amazon’s music devices iTunes is the cheapest, since you pay only $24.99 for whatever amount of songs. Amazon currently charges $50 for 5,000 songs and $200 for 20,000 songs. We’re not sure how much Google is going to charge yet. iTunes Match is only available for iOS 5 based devices.
These were the basic things showcased at the event but for a more comprehensive overview, you can watch the keynote here.
What do you think of Apple’s new software? Leave a comment and let us know.