Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Apple Unveils Mac OS X Lion, iOS 5 and iCloud at WWDC 2011

   So like many other technology enthusiasts, I spent most of yesterday afternoon reading up on what was unveiled at WWDC this year from Steve Jobs and Co. I watched the live stream of the keynote and watched some videos from Apple's website on the new features. I've also bounced around the web listening to the mixture of praise and rants. Some are excited while some are just saying it's about damn time. I'll go ahead and jump into the fire and give my impressions of the new stuff that was shown.

 iOS 5: Being an avid iPhone user I would have to say that my favorite new feature was the revamped notification system. I think it looks gorgeous and appears to perfectly consolidate all those pesky popups and bubbles into a singular,easy to manage system. Excellent!

Next thing that caught my eye on iOS 5 was the new ability to access the camera function from the lock screen. YES! As a parent of three children, I'm constantly firing up the iPhone to grab impromptu pictures of the family and the current way to get to the camera is definitely a bit clunky.

Apple also updated the camera app with more features like pinch to zoom (YES!), exposure control, and probably my favorite; the ability to use the [volume up] button on the side of the phone to snap the picture!

 iCloud: Next feature I was quite impressed with Apple's announcement of its new iCloud service. Best part is that its FREE! Yes, amazing considering the retired MobileMe service previously was $99/year! I think Apple learned its lesson with that fiasco and seems to have gotten its act together with the new iCloud service.

This new service will basically backup your important information on Apples servers so you are always protected from losing it, even if your phone, laptop, desktop, or all three burst into flames. All you have to do is login to to Apple iCloud with your Apple ID/password and all your information will be restored. Important stuff like contacts, mail and calenders, account settings and phone settings. 

Apple is taking it to the next level however and allowing free backup (and real-times syncing) of documents, photos (limited), apps, iBooks and best of all; iTunes music! What they means is that you can buy a new song directly from your iPhone and it'll be ready on your desktop or iPad when you get home. Automatically. Simply. You can also jump from iOS device to iOS device and continue reading books from where you left off. So every song you buy from iTunes syncs to all your devices at no charge (up to 10 devices) and automatically. Pretty awesome stuff and it's all FREE!

Apple's only paid cloud service (coming this fall) will be called "iTunes Match" and will scale the free service up to a $24.99/yr service by allowing complete and total backup to all your iTunes music, whether you bought it on iTunes or not. It will try to match ALL your current iTunes music with high quality versions from iTunes and make them yours...officially. This goes for ripped CD's and music you've acquired "other ways". Very cool and much cheaper than competitors right now.

Overall, I was pretty impressed with the keynote. I don't own a Mac so I won't comment on the new Mac OS X Lion features other than to say; looked awesome! I definitely feel that when I finally get my first Mac, I'll know exactly how to use it because of the iOS similarities. Very cool and I see easy to install "apps' as being the next evolution of the desktop and laptop operating systems.

Well, that's my quick thoughts on what went down at WWDC 2011. There was way too many new additions for me to comment on them all right now. Feel free to let us know what your favorite (or least favorite) features were in the comments.

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