What's the best way to start the week? Probably with WWDC, if you're an Apple fan. In the past few years, we've seen new releases of products each time WWDC came around. Unfortunately, there aren't any new hardware products this time around, but the new software will more than make up for it.
Steve Jobs started us off with OS X "Lion", the latest build for Macs. This upgrade is available from the Mac app Store and can be downloaded straight to your Mac: no need for CD's anymore. It'll come with over 250 new features, but only 10 were previewed at WWDC. Lion will be available for $29.99 in July.
- Multi-touch Gestures: How can you go wrong with this? Feel free to zoom, scroll and swipe to your heart's content. From what we saw, you can use up to 3 fingers for different commands and functions.
- Full-screen Apps: Fairly self-explanatory there. Not only can you run the apps full-screen though, you can also swipe on your trackpad to switch between apps.
- Mission Control: This will show all currently running apps or open documents in a sort of windowed-array. You can assign certain sections of your screen to hold specific windows in different sizes, and even zoom in on specific apps and windows for a preview.
Auto-Save: This feature can be toggled on/off, but when left on, it will not only automatically save your documents, but also load up your document to exactly how you left it. Auto-Save also includes the capability to see past "versions", allowing you a sort-of "timeline" of your file.
AirDrop: Files kept in this section can be shared with other nearby users running AirDrop. No need for flashdrives or cables, and no need to set up any programs. Simple!
Mail: A new version of Mail includes a favorite-folders section, which allows for easy viewing and searching. Speaking of searching, the search-bar can filter by people, subjects, or even dates. Mail can be viewed as a conversation, so that all messages show inline.
Next up, iOS 5 was introduced for all the iPhone fans out there. Features include:
Notifications: Hate those pesky push-notifications that constantly interrupt what you're doing? Then say goodbye to them. Apple is adopting an Android-like method of notifying users: a swipe-down menu can now be accessed from the top. During games and videos, a small animation appears up-top that disappears shortly after. Clicking on the animation will take you straight to the app, or you can ignore it and carry on. Notifications also appear while the screen is locked, and swiping to a particular notification will open up that app directly as well.
Reader View: Ever browse a website and the words are too small, or you have to keep swiping left and right to see everything? With Reader View, the OS will re-organize the screen to make everything readable in one scrollable page.
Reading List: Now you can save that website you're browsing for later without adding it to the bookmarks or leaving the window open! Just add it to the "Reading List", which can be accessed across devices (more on this later).
Reminders: This will allow you to set reminders based on the date or location. Feel like being reminded to stop by the bank the minute you leave your house? Just set it up accordingly, take one step out the door, and you're set.
Camera: The camera's been upgraded to include a button on the lock-screen for easy access. Also, the volume-up button now serves as a capture button, and you can edit your pictures directly (reduce red-eye, crop, rotate, etc).
Mail: Addresses can be dragged-and-dropped (from the To/From fields, for example). You can flag individual pieces of mail as unread, and search the contents of the messages from the search bar. Rich text formatting is finally included, as well as indentation control and a built-in dictionary (which, actually, works for all apps bought through the app store).
Game Center: For the gaming-enthusiast-on-the-go! This app will keep track of high scores made by you, your friends, and even your friends' friends. You can recommend games to them through here, and vice versa. Or, play a turn-based game with your friends from this app.
PC Free: Brand new devices can now be activated straight from the device: no need to go to a PC anymore. Software updates are OTA, and you can even sync iTunes without the wires! Which brings us to...
The iCloud! The long-awaited solution to everyone's hopes and dreams...at least when it comes to cross-device synchronization. And that's assuming all your devices are Apple products. But hey, brand loyalty pays, right? The iCloud is a free service that Apple is offering, which will hold all your content in Apple storage facilities. All of your content can then be pushed to your other devices.
So, what kind of content, you ask? Just about anything from your documents to your music, from your pictures to your videos. There are slight limitations though: for example, photos only last in the cloud for 30 days, but your devices can hold the last 1000 cloud-shared photos. Obviously, your PC/Mac can hold save these for as long as you want.
The music you bought is automatically uploaded to each device as well, assuming you have the capacity for it. And speaking of music...
iTunes Match was probably the most exciting news (for me, at least). This will scan your library and attempt to match your songs to anything in the iTunes Music Store's database. Songs that are matched are upgraded to 256Kbps AAC without DRM That's right folks: all those torrented CD's you've been listening to are now somewhat legit. iTunes Match is $24.99 per year, but Jobs promises that the matching-and-moving will take minutes, not weeks (which seemed like a swing against competitors Amazon and Google's music services).
So, no iPhone 5. Can't say I'm shocked, but it doesn't mean I'm any less excited. And you should be excited too! Don't you have some files to go prepare for the cloud?
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