Friday, June 10, 2011

WWDC Keynote Announcements In Review

Didn’t make it to WWDC this year?  Neither did I.  But lots of good information has been making it’s way out and the following is an attempt to collect some high points in one place, based on my best current understanding.

MacOS 10.7 Lion
Three of the most striking new features are Mission Control, Launchpad and Auto Save.
  • Mission Control is a re-designed combination of Exposé and Spaces, with access to Dashboard thrown in. It seems to allow for the management of the desktop and running applications with more intuitive groupings.
  • Launchpad is an iOS-inspired application launch tool. A simple grid of applications available for quick launch may feel more natural to iOS users today, and may be the start of bridges being built between the two operating systems for the long term.
  • Auto Save is the clever name for the ability to automatically save open documents. Best of all, as it saves, it creates new versions so that reverting to previous versions is possible.

Here are a few of the 200 new iOS features that I think will matter (to me).
  •   PC Free is the new capability to own and manage an iOS device without having it tied to a Mac.  This seems perfect for casual users who don’t spend their days tied to a computer, but who could have a very satisfying experience with just an iPad or iPhone.  It’ll be interesting to see how well this works in the initial release.  I suspect some time will be needed to fully work this out.  But at least now I can get my mom an iPad.
  •   iMessage achieves a substantial upgrade to the original Messages app by adding an “i” to the front.  It also has many improvements, including group chats, and better media handling.
  •   Twitter integration allows for tweets from within the native iOS apps.  It’ll be interesting to see how well this works out, and whether Apple and Twitter continue down a path as allies.
  •   Reminders provides a way to manage lists and sync them through iCloud among many devices.  It also integrates with iCal and Outlook, so it could provide good access from non iOS devices, too. I plan to give this a serious look.
  •   Notification Center organizes many kinds of communication in one interface.  This seems like a trend.  Facebook is doing a bit of this, and it seems like Google flirted with this idea with Wave.

iCloud is disk space in the cloud with some great functionality layered on top.  It provides some DropBox-like functionality as a start, giving users an easy way to sync data among multiple devices and for many applications.  But for many people, the iTunes portion of iCloud is the most interesting.   The service will let you access content you’ve purchased from Apple from cloud storage, and through a paid service extension ($25/year) called iTunes Match, you can access up to 25,000 of your iTunes tracks on any of your mobile devices that use the same AppleID. This includes tracks ripped from CDs or acquired in just about any other way.  Pulling together your collection on cloud-based storage and making it available on multiple devices just might be a winner if enough fast reliable Internet bandwidth is available.


That’s what I understand about the big announcements at this point. Did I get some of this wrong?  Did I miss some of your favorite features or capabilities? Do you have more to add?  Please leave a comment!
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