E3 2011 Viewpoints: Apple iOS and Macintosh at WDC

Bill Loguidice's picture

OK, it's actually the Worldwide Developers Conference (WDC), rather than E3, but the timing is the same and I like to keep the headers consistent, so kindly deal with it. After starting off with Microsoft and Sony, it's now Apple's turn (leaving only the elephant in the room to cover, Nintendo). Here goes:

  • I'm honestly not that interested in Mac stuff, but of the many updates via the upcoming OS X Lion, I most appreciate the fact that apps will finally be able to go full-screen. I always found the lack of that feature bizarre. The updates still won't get me off of the Windows standard, but at least Apple can still sometimes admit when they're wrong with interfaces.

Now, for the big iOS stuff (On a side note, I think all but one of the AA staff has iPhones at this point, and at least three of us have iPads, so, while Apple's mojo hasn't worked on us from the MacOS side of things, it sure has on the iOS side.):

  • The new system for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch users reportedly includes over 200 new features and will be available to consumers as of this Fall.
  • By storing user's content in the cloud so it can be automatically pushed to various devices, iCloud will let users sync apps, media, documents, calendars and more between their various mobile iOS devices and a Mac or PC wirelessly. iCloud, which can be turned on after upgrading to iOS 5, will provide 5GB of free storage for mail, documents, photos and backup data including device settings and app data. Thankfully, music, apps and books purchased from Apple won't count towards the 5GB, nor will the storage required for the new Photo Stream service that automatically uploads photos taken or imported on any device and wirelessly pushes them to all devices and computers. Extra storage will be also available for purchase at prices to be announced when the service goes live. Daily iCloud backup for iOS devices will occur automatically over Wi-Fi when they are being recharged so as not to drain the device's battery or the user's mobile data quota.
  • Part of the above was iTunes Match, which finally utilizes the scan and match technology Apple gained with its acquisition of Lala in late 2009. Previously, if you bought music on your iPhone, you had to use the "Transfer Purchases" function of iTunes to pull the files back into iTunes, and then sync them onto your other devices. Now, up to 10 of your devices can be configured to have new music purchases pushed directly to them, or you can finally use a purchase history to do so manually. For $24.99 a year, iTunes will scan all the music in your library (up to 25,000 files) and give you DRM-free 256Kbps AAC versions of those files. There's 18 million songs in the iTunes library, so most of your library should be in there, and you can upload the ones that aren't.

The press release goes into some of the other features, many of which brings iOS to parity with competing mobile operating systems:

  • Notification Center provides iOS 5 users with an innovative way to easily access all notifications, text messages, missed calls, calendar alerts, app alerts and more, all in one place, from anywhere in iOS 5. When they arrive, notifications appear briefly at the top of the screen without interrupting what you're doing. With one swipe you can see all your notifications, and a simple tap will take you right to its app for more detail. Notifications also appear on the lock screen, with the ability to be taken to the notifying app with just one swipe.
  • Newsstand is a beautiful, easy-to-organize bookshelf displaying the covers of all your newspaper and magazine subscriptions in one place. A new section of the App Store features just subscription titles, and allows users to quickly find the most popular newspapers and magazines in the world. If subscribed to, new issues appear in the Newsstand and are updated automatically in the background so you always have the latest issue and the most recent cover art.
  • Safari is the world's most popular mobile browser, and with iOS 5 it's now even better. New features include Safari Reader, which gets all the clutter out of the way and sets the right font size on a web page, so you can easily scroll and read through a story; Reading List, so you can save articles to read later and they automatically show up on all your iOS devices; and Tabbed Browsing, which makes it easy to flip between multiple web pages on iPad.
  • iOS 5 includes built-in Twitter integration, so you can sign in once and then tweet directly from all your Twitter-enabled apps, including Photos, Camera, Safari, YouTube and Maps with a single tap. New APIs give third party developers the ability to take advantage of the single sign-on capability for their own iOS 5 apps.
  • iMessage in iOS 5 brings the functionality of iPhone messaging to all of your iOS devices: iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Built right into the Messages app, iMessage allows you to easily send text messages, photos, videos or contact information to a person or a group on other iOS 5 devices over Wi-Fi or 3G. iMessages are automatically pushed to all your iOS 5 devices, making it easy to maintain one conversation across your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. iMessage also features delivery and read receipts, typing indication and secure end-to-end encryption.
  • The new Reminders app helps you manage your tasks; create and group related tasks together; and set time or location-based reminder alerts, priorities and due dates, so you can be reminded of a task as its deadline approaches, or when you arrive or depart a given location. Reminders can also be viewed in iCal and Outlook and are updated automatically.

Comments

Chris Kennedy
Chris Kennedy's picture
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Joined: 08/31/2008
Updates

Hey, Bill. I guess I will start with some commenting on this one.

Perhaps it is a difference in age sort of thing, but I consider myself a tweaker. I like to tweak electronics, optimize software, that sort of thing. I didn't mind editing config.sys and autoexec.bat to try and manage to get EMM386 to pull 3 MB of EMS out of a total of 4 MB of RAM.

I didn't mind upgrading drivers, patching, updating, flashing a BIOS, etc.

But THESE DAYS...I just don't want my free time to have to go toward doing that sort of thing with my phone.

I realize that the iPhone isn't exactly open (no pun intended) to tweaking right out of the box. That said, I don't mind it one bit. I think iOS 5 is getting things to where they need to be, and a lot of the ideas are based off of other phone OSes.

One thing I find myself questioning is - "When is Apple going to release their next phone?" It is a question that is asked all the time. However, I have a 3GS that has TERRIBLE battery life. I wouldn't mind moving to an iPhone 4 (my contract with AT&T expired months ago), however I wonder if hanging on to the 3GS is the better move since the iPhone 4 has been out awhile. I figure I might as well skip a generation. I also wonder if Apple will announce a new phone in the fall around about the time iOS 5 is released. Very interesting.

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clok1966
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Joined: 01/21/2009
i thought the new phone was

i thought the new phone was 'all but" announced with all the leaks on the specs. My understanding is just before Christmas, but eh.... it is "leaks".

Also a bit suprised Itunes hack hasnt got hte publicty of the Sony one.. as far as I know there have been no lost money with the Sony one (except time the service was down and not being able to be used).. but the Itunes one has people getting there CC used (on non apple stuff), people buying stuff in games, Buying games...etc.. seems a bit more damageing to the end user thant the SOny one.. yet nothing from APPLE at all.. just the repeorts of it happening to people which could be 100% incorrect.. but if it isnt, it sure looks like they are following Sony down the path of denial till they cant deny any more. bad move but its apple.. Im sure they will get less a public flogging in the end. I guess it all remains to be seen if its real...

Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
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Joined: 12/31/1969
Well, right now we just don't

Well, right now we just don't know when the iPhone 5 will hit. There is some talk that it's next year, which may be possible, and that this year we may or may not see an iPhone 4S. In any case, waiting or not, one would assume that the battery life in the iPhone 5 will be at least on par with the iPhone 4, which is superb, unlike all iPhones prior to that.

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clok1966
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Joined: 01/21/2009
I love my Droid, no doubt..

I love my Droid, no doubt.. but Im not blind to ease of use ether. I started with a blackberry way back, had a Iphone (first one) and now the Droid.. not going to discuss love and hate with each.. My Droid doenst have great battery life but its good enough.. How are the iphone 4's? I would say I average 3-5 calls a day during week (all 2-5 minutes max) and on weekend maybe 5 a day all slighlty longer. BUT i use email in evenings during week and maybe answer 10 a nightmad 10-20 on sat and sun.. maybe use the web 1 time a day to look something up. I average about 3 days of use before i need to charge mine (roughly) as we all know use differes and such.. but I notice most of the time mine says, 60-80 hours since last plugged in when i get to 20% or so.. How is the Iphone4? Im guessing from the sound of it you use yours alot more than i do.. do you get 2 days? 3 days? I know its a very impossible way to judge battery life... and Im just interested in rough ideas.. I know they say something like a 400 hour standby on them (iphones) this part I know my droid suffers.. when I go see my folks on a holiday my phone gets no use... in fact i generally leave it in my car.. and 4-5 days with no use its getting to 30% or so... so its for sure got a crappy standby time. nd if i turne the GPS on.. it eats the battery in hours....

Bill Loguidice
Bill Loguidice's picture
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Joined: 12/31/1969
I can't really say precisely,

I can't really say precisely, more real world usage. My iPhone 3G would barely get through an average day. If I didn't charge it after I got home from work, it would be dead by evening. I usually listen to a podcast or two, watch some video, check e-mail, check twitter, check Facebook, text message, receive and make a few calls, etc. I sometimes also stream satellite radio or stream Slingbox, either 3G or WiFi. My phone automatically connects to the bluetooth connection in my car through Ford Sync, and of course I typically use headphones to listen to stuff when I'm not in the car. So, I can "abuse" my iPhone 4 like that and not necessarily have to charge when I get home, but I do it anyway to sync the latest podcasts and any updates that might be there. In any case, I rarely have concerns for running out of juice any more with the iPhone 4 (and battery life does get worse over time, of course--I've noticed a little less battery life than when I first got the phone).

It's my understanding that most of the Droid phones have poor battery life. When I had my Atrix 4G for when I was writing the book, battery life seemed rather good, despite the dual processors, so I think Motorola might have licked that particular issue. I would think it would be a major faux pas for today's phone NOT to have good battery life. I'll assume that's a problem from previous generations that has been mostly solved (of course, it's my understanding that running 4G connections can really kill battery life--I'm not sure I connected to 4G much on the Atrix (stupid AT&T set it where it doesn't tell you if you're connected to 3G or 4G - you can only tell by how fast things seem).

I'm also impressed by the iPad 2's battery life. In conjunction with the "magic" cover and light daily usage (mostly lots of reading and the occasional checking of e-mail, Twitter and Facebook, essentially), I can go many days between charges/syncs. Just imagine if we had genuine breakthroughs in battery life rather than the slow, incremental improvements we've been experiencing. That would change a lot of things...

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Chris Kennedy
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Joined: 08/31/2008
iPad2

Heh. The iPad 2 battery life is amazing to me. What a contrast between my 3GS and the iPad 2 in terms of battery life!

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