"An era can be said to end when its basic illusions are exhausted." - Arthur Miller

Monday, June 06, 2011

Apple's WWDC Introduces iOS 5

Today Steve Jobs held the key note address for Apple Worldwide Developers Conference 2011 that did not introduce the iPhone 5 as hoped but instead introduced iOS 5 with iCloud. The emphasis on the update is to try to put data "in the cloud" so easily accessible from any iOS device (iPad, iPhone, etc). iOS 5 is being released sometime this Fall.

The key new feature is the replacement of the now defunct MobileMe called iCloud. The idea is a hub to store all data might use on an iOS device such as music, videos, photos, etc. It sounds a whole lot like Dropbox with an auto sync feature. All users will get 5GB free, not sure how much it costs for more. However, if you have music, Apple is introducing something called iTunes Match that will have you "upload" your music collection to iCloud and does not count to the 5GB limit. The reason for the quotes is it’s not really uploading your music but matching your music library to iTunes. This works for music already purchased from iTunes or music ripped from CD collection. If like me and didn't rip your collection at a good bit rate, this is a solid way to "upgrade" your collection to 256 kbps AAC files without going through the trouble of re-ripping everything. Just note that ACC is not as universally accepted a format as mp3.

As far as iOS 5 outside of iCloud, there are some improvements but not sure if consider them major. Here a some of the new features. A new notification center is being added that will replace the current annoying pop-up fest. Newsstand has been created so that can easily track various periodical subscriptions and will likely encourage more magazines to go digital. If you love twitter, you will love iOS as it has been integrated across the board so can tweet anything you are doing from any app that wants to take advantage. Other tweaks include accessing camera from lock screen and using volume up button as shutter, basic photo editing app, improved mail app but still lacking any rules capability like blackberry has. The biggest improvement is setup and updates will occur wirelessly so synching to iTunes will no longer be required for most operations. If, like me, about the only changes you make to the device is adding music (which iCloud takes care), then literally the only reason you might want to hook iOS device to a computer is to perform a backup. A brief hands-on preview can be found here. The entire keynote can be found here or the nearly 2 hour address is too long, click here for the 8 minute highlight video.

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