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Apple WWDC 2011
June 13, 2011 - Dave Hecei
Well, the keynote is over and there is lots to go over. Steve Jobs took the stage, as planned, but shared the stage with a cast of thousands (well not that many). In a rare move, Apple actually pre-announced what the keynote would cover. There was the typical accounting numbers, but then came the big 4. This consisted of Lion (the next Mac OS), iOS 5 (the next mobile OS), iCloud (MobileMe plus a whole lot more), and the forth - one more thing. I will pick what I thought was the biggest news items during the keynote.
The Lion overview really didn't show much of anything new. News about Lion has been slowly leaking out from all kinds of sources, including Apple itself. The real news is the price, which will be $29.99, just like Snow Leopard. It will be available sometime next month. The really big news is that it will not be available on a disc. The only way to get Lion will be through the new Mac App Store. The only way to get the Mac App Store is to have a Macintosh running OS X 10.6. One would assume that if you have a Mac capable of running 10.6, you will be able to run 10.7.
Jobs then went on to start a review of iOS 5, the next version of their mobile OS, which is used on iOS devices like the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. The next version is due out sometime in the Fall, most likely to coincide with the next version of the iPhone. This next iOS is said to be compatible with iPhone 3GS and 4, 3rd gen iPod Touch or better, and all iPads.
The one feature that stood out for me is the completely new notification system. Instead of a single annoying pop-up box, that seems to happen at the most inopertune moments, there will be a small banner that pops down at the top of the screen. If you click on this banner it will take you to that application. If you drag down on this banner it will take you to the notification center where you can see all the notifications currently available.
While an OS update is nice, iCloud is something completely new from Apple. It is not really the next version of MobileMe, while it does have some of the features, it is something built from ground up to help users control all there data and media in multiple devices. MobileMe will still work, for how long is unknown at this time, but starting in a few months, iCloud will be available for all iOS 5 and Mac OS X Lion users - for free.
It hasn't happened for a while, but Jobs ended his keynote with the familiar '...and one more thing.' This was another piece of the iCloud puzzle and something that will really add to the value of owning Apple based devices. They are calling it iTunes Match. The idea is that you can put you whole iTunes library up into the cloud without having to upload any music. In theory, iTunes Music Store has multi millions of songs to choose from. They will likely have the same song you have in your iTunes so you don't have to upload your copy, Apple will just move theirs into you iTunes in the cloud.
Amazon announced a similar service just a short time ago. To use their service you have to physically upload all your music to their cloud. If you had 1 Terabyte of music, you would have to move all that data to Amazon's server. That takes a good amount of time. With the Apple iTunes Match system you could essentially get your entire library on the cloud in 5 to 10 minutes. The way Apple does it is that it just grabs a list of your songs. If that song is in the catalog you don't have to upload it. This way you don't waste bandwidth getting all that data online, plus Apple doesn't have to waste disk space having multiple copies of the same music.
More information will likely be available as these services become available and when Lion and iOS 5 starts to ship. Apple looks to be taking the cloud very seriously and I can see them doing more and more with iCloud in the future.
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