News From The Apple 2011 World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC)
As planned, Apple held their 2011 World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) today at 1pm EST. For those that don’t know, the WWDC has become monumentally significant in recent years as Apple has used this venue to launch new versions their iPhone platform.
Except this year, they didn’t. Not only was a new iPhone not unveiled, there wasn’t even a mention of when the inevitable next iteration is coming.
There was however, a bevy of other smaller announcements which, rolled up together made for an extremely significant WWDC despite the lack of a new iPhone to announce. Here’s a run-down of a few of the items I found to be significant. As always, preliminary details are sketchy:
Mac OS X Lion:
Mac OS X is officially 10 years old this year, and Apple’s latest iteration of the operating system for their PCs and laptops is called Mac OS X Lion. Now, before I get into Lion, let me throw out some numbers which Steve Jobs put out during WWDC about the growth of the Mac platform:
-There are 54 million Mac users and growing.
-Last year PC growth shrunk 1%, while Mac grew 28%
Most experts agree that the one factor and one factor alone is primarily responsible for this recent Mac growth: The iPhone. The iPhone was certainly a primary motivating factor for me in purchasing my first-ever Mac (a 15″ MacBook Pro) just three months ago. So it should come as no surprise that Apple has really focused making Mac OS X much more like iOS-like in Lion. This includes many more multi-touch gestures on the trackpad. It also means familiar scroll bars at the bottom and right sides of the screen are gone (are traditional mice rendered near-obsolete on a Mac now??).
In total, Apple indicates there are about 250 changes/enhancements they’ve made to Lion. The most notable upgrades and enhancements to Mac OS X Lion include:
-Launchpad: Say goodbye to hunting for the app you need in an applications folder. Launchpad gives you instant access to all your apps.
-Mission Control: Mission Control brings together Exposé, Dashboard, Spaces, and full-screen apps to give you one place to see and navigate everything running on your Mac.
-Mail: OS X Lion takes a few cues from Mail on iPad, then taps into the power of the Mac to deliver the best email experience you’ve ever had on a computer.
-Full-Screen Apps!: For the first time, support for full-screen apps is built into OS X. So you can take apps full screen with a click and navigate between them with a gesture. I’m just praying that Photoshop will quickly support this feature.
-Apple Mac Store: With the Mac App Store built into OS X Lion, getting the apps you want has never been easier. No more boxes, no more discs, no more time-consuming installation. Click once to download and install any app on your Mac.
Mac OS X Lion will be available for $29.99 sometime in July (previous upgrades were $129). I get a free upgrade since I so recently bought my MacBook Pro. 🙂
If the big news for Mac OS X Lion is that it’s becoming much more iOS-like, the big news for iOS5 is that Apple has seemingly taken every good idea an app or jailbreak developer has had, and baked it into iOS 5. There’s a whole slew of seriously killer enhancements and capabilities coming in iOS 5 including:
-New Notification Center: All of your alerts, all in one place
-iMessage: I’m not sure if this replaces the current messaging app, or is simply built into it. But it’s a killer all-in-one messaging app when dealing with other Apple devices, and no slouch for sending text, photos, videos, etc. to all your other friends and contacts too.
-Newsstand: A custom newsstand for all your subscriptions (newspaper, magazine, etc.).
-Reminders: A better way to do to-dos.
-Twitter: Twitter is now integrated right into iOS 5.
-Camera: Now you can operate the camera right from the lock screen (much quicker)!
-Photos: Now you have even more photo editing capability without ever having to leave the camera app, including crop, red eye reduction, rotate, enhance, etc.
-Safari: Many new enhancement including tabbed browsing!!
-PC Free: Now over-the-air-updates will be possible! No longer is it necessary to have a PC to update your iOS device.
The worst part about iOS 5 will be the waiting – it’s not going to be available until the Fall.
It’s all about the cloud baby. Remember MobileMe? It’s gone. Kaput. Steve Jobs even joked about how bad MobileMe was in his Keynote. In its place, iCloud is seamlessly integrated into your apps, so you can access your content on all your devices. And it’s free with iOS 5. Yes, free! You automatically get 5GB of free storage (note: 5GB won’t get me very far if I want to back up all my data to the iCloud, so I’m sure I’d have to pay a premium, but many other might not need to).
So what is iCloud exactly? iCloud stores your music, photos, apps, calendars, documents, and wirelessly pushes them to all your devices – automatically.
iCloud is scheduled to be available this Fall, to coincide with the availability of iOS 5 I would assume. So now the waiting begins. Until then, head over to Apple’s website for more information on everything they announced at WWDC 2011.
John B. Holbrook, II
John B. Holbrook, II is a freelance writer, photographer, and author of ThruMyLens.org, as well as LuxuryTyme.com and TheSeamasterReferencePage.com. *All text and images contained in this web site are the original work of the author, John B. Holbrook, II and are copyright protected. Use of any of the information or images without the permission of the author is prohibited.