At Apple’s annual Worldwide Developers Conference, the technology giant introduced three new platforms – iCloud, iOS 5 and Lion. All three are expected to go live this fall along with the much-anticipated iPhone 5.
While Mac OS X Lion, the eighth major release of Apple’s desktop and server operating system for Macintosh Computers, was a pretty big announcement (updates include multi-touch gestures, full-screen apps, AutoSave/Resume features and an enhances Mac apps store), it was the unveiling of iCloud and iOS 5 that stole the spotlight on the conference opening day.
It’s almost as if the world was waiting for the announcement of iCloud, which allows iOS devices to integrate cloud-based sync, apps and streaming services. The iCloud is an expansion of Apple’s initial “cloud” service and in addition to email, calendar and contacts there are now cloud versions of the apps store, iTunes, PhotoStream, iBooks, document sharing and backup. With the iCloud, PCs are unnecessary – users can now wirelessly upload, access and share all kinds of digital content with any of their Apple devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch)!
What is perhaps most amazing is Apple’s pricing of the iCloud – free for up to 5GB of data. Purchased music, books and apps don’t count toward the 5GB quota.
As far as the iOS 5 is concerned, the more than 200 new features should keep users very busy come fall. Some stand-out features include Twitter integration, a revamped message notification system, iMessenger (similar to Research in Motion’s BlackBerry Messenger), Newsstand (a program that keeps magazine and newspaper subscriptions in one place), a camera button on the lockscreen and, of course, use of iCloud.
Some of the new features to iOS 5 may have other smartphone companies worried. With iMessenger, for example, Apple could prove to be an even deeper threat to BlackBerry.
And on June 6, Corporate Vice President of Windows Phone program management tweeted, “Feeling flattered today. Lots of great [Windows Phone] ideas headed to iOS,” referring to features like the camera button on the lockscreen, better notifications and automatic picture uploading.
Apple, however, seems to be continuing to focus on what (or who) matters most to them – users. The company said it has now sold more than 200 million iOS devices to date. The company has grown significantly without the new iCloud or the many new features within iOS 5, so these are great new additions should go a long way in reinforcing an already strong position for Apple in the world of smartphone and tablet operating systems.
(Photo: The Associated Press)
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