Two things you should know about this year’s Apple Worldwide Developers Conference:
- There will be no new hardware. (So much for iPhone 5.. at least until the fall.)
- If you don’t like the idea of moving all of your information to the cloud – sorry kids, you better get on board, because if you have an Apple device, you’re being skyrocketed straight into the stratosphere.
The iOS 5 will surely be the talk of the tech world for the rest of the week, but as we’re all still digesting and processing the information that the one they call Steve has given us, we’re sitting back and thinking more about how the new OS is going to affect communication – because that’s what we’re all about.
Here’s a quick rundown of the iOS 5 features and what we think is cool (plus what we think is less cool).
Notification Center – With all of the push notifications and pop ups received for text messages, applications, Tweets, you name it, Apple has developed a center within the phone to store these. Simply swipe down on the home screen to see any Facebook updates, new emails, or phone calls you might have missed while watching a movie on Netflix or jamming out to the latest tunes served up on your Pandora application.
Upside: No more Facebook popups while I’m trying to watch episodes of Veronica Mars!
Downside: There actually isn’t a downside to this. It keeps reminding you that you have something to respond to. Right now if you dismiss or clear a reminder, good luck on figuring out what it was.
Reminders – No longer just calendar based popups, iOS 5 can set up location based reminders. (This explains the importance of the tracking software.) I could set up a reminder to pop up and tell me I need to pick up milk from the grocery store, and I can set it up to do this when I get to a certain point in my commute home. This way, if I work past the time I had arranged for the notification, I can’t dismiss it and forget. It syncs across all iOS devices and with iCal.
Upside: Since I’m notorious for dismissing reminders, it would prevent me from hitting ignore and then freaking out later when I forgot to do something important.
Downside: This means Apple has to track me… legittrack me. It knows when I leave work; it knows when I get home – what if I make a detour? It’s like being tailed by Steve Jobs. I have to say I don’t like that one bit. I’d rather be forgetful and freak out later.
Twitter Integration – Across the board, Apple is trying to embrace the Twitter craze by making their applications like video and camera easier to integrate into the social media service. This will make it even easier to share your pictures and videos with your loyal followers.
Upside: I’m all about making things easier.
Downside: Is there confirmation before that picture is sent? Could you pocket send a picture or video you had no intention of keeping?
PC Free: Cut the cord (if you want to) and rely on your iPhone and iPad devices to facilitate all of your computing needs. Straight of the box, you can activate your i-Device and start using it right away, no need to sync it up to your computer.
Upside: After waiting in line for hours to get an iPhone, how could you possibly contain yourself if you’re expected to wait until you drive back to your house to use your new device?
Downside: See below.
iMessage – This new service will synch up all iDevices (iPhone, iPad, and iTouch) to allow you to send and receive texts, videos, and photos to any device. You can criss cross your messaging platform and continue to move freely around, no matter what device you are trying to use. (Something that Blackberry managed with BBM a couple of years ago.)
Upside: The original iPhone was created as a way of combining all of your devices together – cell phone, MP3, personal calendar, and it only makes sense that Apple would continue this trend. While you can’t take your phone calls on your iPad, you can continue text conversations, even if you want to disconnect from the ringer for a while.
Downside: Remember those pesky notifications from above? You’re about to get more of them.
iCloud – In the “cut the cord” theme of the WWDC today, Apple introduced iCloud. Technology has changed, and so have our devices, and it’s annoying to say “oh, wait that’s on my camera” or something (at least, this is what Steve tells us). The iCloud will allow you to store everything – your data, your applications, your photos, videos, movies, music, whatever, you can put it right into the hands of Apple. If you take a picture on your iPhone, it will be sent to the cloud, saved, and then sent back to the other Apple devices you have. (That’s a lot of data being pushed around.)
Upside: $24.99 / year for iTunes Matching isn’t a bad price. I wouldn’t mind getting better quality for some of the songs I imported from my ancient CD collection onto my iPhone and I’m curious if some of the songs I purchased years ago will be upgraded to better quality as well. I also like the fact that if I buy a song on my iPhone or iPad it would go to each device automatically, I just wish this could be done without the use of the “cloud”.
Downside: The idea of putting everything in the Apple iCloud makes me a little more than nervous. I’ve never been a fan of the “cloud”, just due to the security concerns. (Please note that Steve didn’t talk about how he was going to keep your information secure, simply that there were a lot of big buildings ready to store your email, documents, pictures, and music. Just saying.
So there you have it. That’s what you missed at the WWDC today, at least in highlight mode. Are you excited for iOS 5? How do you feel about being tracked or all of your information being stored in the cloud? Apple clearly has a goal for becoming the one device that does everything – but are there some things that you will always rely on your personal computer for? I want to know. Tell me your thoughts in the comments.