June 6, 2011

Apple Announces iCloud, Mac OSX ‘Lion’ and iOS 5

Lee Rannals for RedOrbit.com

Apple Inc. announced during its World Wide Developers Conference on Monday new updates for its Mac OS and mobile operating system, as well as its new "iCloud" service.

Steve Jobs opened up the keynote address during the WWDC conference with applause and cheering from his many admirers at the event.

"We've got some great stuff to talk about: OS X Lion, iOS 5, and some kind of interesting new cloud stuff," Jobs said prior to introducing Phil Schiller, Apple's Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing.

Schiller started off introducing Apple's new Macintosh operating system update "Lion."

Schiller said there are currently 54 million active Mac users and growing.

"Next up in OS X is Lion, a major release with over 250 new features. If you'd like we can go over every one of them today," Schiller said.

He instead just focused on 10 new features that will be available in Lion when it releases in July. 

One of the features Lion will bring to Mac owners is called "Resume."  This new feature allows a user to start an application where it last left off.  It works similar to what is already seen in Apple's iOS for iPhones and iPads.

Another feature Lion will add to the operating system's repertoire is an auto-save function.  This works differently than what is already incorporated into other applications that use a similar function.

The Auto Save feature automatically saves all work being done, as well as allows a user to load their history of a document to help them pick up in places they may have already made changes over. 

"The one time you might forget to save what you're doing, something goes wrong... Why can't the computer help you? That's what Lion does," Schiller said during the Keynote.

Lion will be available for download only through Apple's App Store for $29.

Apple also announced iOS 5, the newest operating system update for its iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices.

Scott Forstall, Senior Vice President of iOS software, introduced the new operating system to developers at WWDC 2011.

He said there are currently over 200 million iOS devices.

"That makes iOS the number one mobile operating system, with more than 44% of the market," Forstall said during the event.

The new features of iOS 5 include a more organized way for users to manage their notifications from applications. 

The "Notification Center" feature aggregates all the notifications and can be accessed by swiping down from the top of the screen, making it less intrusive to what a user is currently doing on their device.

Apple is also allowing Twitter to play a bigger role in its mobile devices. 

Twitter will be integrated in photos, map locations and Safari, Apple's web browsing software, in iOS 5.

Another new feature Forstall mentioned was "Reminders."  This allows a user to set up a quick reminder to any dates or time, and even location.

"I can set a location to remind me to call my wife when I leave the convention today. It'll set up a geofence," Forstall said while explaining the new feature.

Reminders will sync across multiple devices, as well as iCal, Apple's calendar application for Mac OS and iOS devices.

Jobs later came back to stage to introduce a completely new type of cloud computing service Apple will be offering called "iCloud."

iCloud will provide automatic daily backups over Wi-Fi for those users who wish to be unleashed from a PC and their mobile device.

One of the features iCloud will perform is to allow users to start working on an application on one device, and then continue working on it while using another device later on, without having to connect the devices.

"If I'm on my iPad and I create a Pages document, it automatically uploads it and stores it in the cloud," Jobs told the developers at the conference.

"It then pushes it to all the devices that I have Pages on, so I can get the document between my devices."

iCloud will work across all iOS devices, Mac OS devices and PCs and will be available for free this fall, alongside iOS 5.

Jobs concluded his keynote speech with his infamous "one more thing" line announcing iTunes Match.

This service allows any songs in a user's database that has not been downloaded through iTunes to be uploaded to their cloud to be used across multiple devices for just $24.99 a year. 

With these new updates, Apple is laying the foundation for a new direction technology can be integrated into a user's life.

"If the hardware is the brain and the sinew of the product, the software in the middle is the soul," Jobs said during the event.


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