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technotes

Apple's latest offerings don't disappoint

posted by Kristin Lynch

Jun 11

Apple WWDC 2010 Keynote AddressListening to Apple's keynote address at WWDC on Monday, I was struck by the audience's reaction. Since the WWDC audience consists primarily of application developers and technology media, it's fair to assume that they've done more than their share of speculation about what will be announced. Yet they still manage to react like giddy children at a magic show - oohing and aahing with excitement.

And I reacted the same way, though I oohed in the privacy of my living room in front of my MacBook Pro - simultaneously listening to the keynote (and occasionally watching it as video feeds became available for short periods), watching podcasts, following a chat feed and live tweeting the entire experience to grateful friends who were unable to participate. We all had expectations of what would be revealed surrounding Mac OS 10.7 (Lion), iOS 5 and iCloud. Our speculation was accurate while allowing Steve Jobs the satisfaction of still being able to provide us with a few surprises.

Some highlights:

Mac OS 10.7 (Lion)

250 new features, including multitouch gestures, fullscreen apps, Mission Control, Launchpad, Versions, Airdrop and new email functionality. Available only through the Mac App Store starting in July, and at a very reasonable price of $30 for up to 5 devices. Sweet.

iOS 5

More than 200 new features for our iPhones and iPads, including the much awaited new notifications system. No more annoying popups that must be attended to immediately. Awesomesauce. A new iBooks type of application specifically geared for newspapers and magazines called Newstand. Seamless Twitter integration. New Safari features such as tabbed browsing and page saving. A new reminders 'to do' list application. Improvements to their already impressive and popular camera - such as faster loading, pinch zoom, auto-exposure, red eye reduction and more. New mail features and a new messaging client. Most importantly, we're FINALLY PC Free! We will no longer be required to use the archaic method of connecting our devices to cables in order to install and update content. We'll also enjoy over the air 'delta' updates, resulting in smaller, faster downloads. Biggest surprise? iOS 5 will work on iPhones back to the 3GS. Most of us assumed iOS 5 would only be made available for the iPhone 4 and 5.

iCloud 

No more MobileMe. Even Steve made a joke about MobileMe, one of the only self-proclaimed 'failures' in the Apple product line. iCloud will replace MobileMe and provide much more functionality - while at the same time eliminating the $99 yearly fee. iCloud becomes your content source, wirelessly and seamlessly integrating content between your devices. Your documents, bookmarks, messages, etc. all save automatically to the cloud. Get a new iPhone? Just enter your Apple ID and your data restores itself the new device. Photos will automatically be stored between your Mac and iOS devices. Music and other iTunes content will also be available immediately across your devices. iTunes Match is a new product that allows users to access their iTunes content across devices, regardless of where it was purchased. To those of us with huge libraries of content purchased outside of iTunes, it is very reasonably priced at $25/year.

My only disappointment? That more wasn't made immediately available to consumers. I realize the address was intended for developers, but I was still hoping that at least iOS 5 and iCloud would be available same day as the keynote. But once again, Apple leaves us happily excited about their new products, and even happier that most of the new offerings won't even require us to open our wallets.

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