Steve Jobs went onstage today at the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco and made a number of major Apple announcements, the most anticipated of which was iCloud.
"It's a hugely enhanced version of Apple's $100-a-year, problem-plagued MobileMe service," wrote David Pogue of the New York Times. "But iCloud is free -- and far more ambitious."
So, what is iCloud?
- iCloud syncs your e-mail, address book and calendars on your iDevices, Macs, PCs and the web, writes Pogue, as well as your bookmarks, iBooks, app and song purchases, and photos. "Take a photo with your iPhone, and it shows up automatically on your computer and iPad."
- iTunes Match (which costs an extra $25/year) matches whatever non-iTunes music you have (ripped from a CD, for example) to what exists in the iTunes catalog, giving you all the benefits of the iCloud (including high-quality sound format) applied to your non-iTunes music.
- "iCloud is also a rival to the recently announced AMazon and Google music-storage devices, in that it lets you upload songs in your collection that are not in Apple's inventory to iCloud so that those songs, too, are available from any gadget," writes Pogue.
What does iCloud mean for wireless data service?
"Daily updates could indeed put a strain on already struggling cellular networks," wrote Marguerite Reardon of CNET News. "But Apple seems prepared to mitigate this problem by forcing some of the data intensive activities to be done over Wi-Fi instead of over a carrier's cellular network.
"Experts believe between Apple's use of Wi-Fi, plus the low-bandwidth nature of some of the updates, it shouldn't be a problem for most consumers," she adds. "For one, much of the data that will be transferred between devices will be contacts, emails, calendar updates, and other text-based data that doesn't gobble up a lot of bandwidth. What's more, when devices are synched they will only be updating new information and not reloading the device entirely.
"Secondly, software updates and major data transfers will likely be reserved for Wi-Fi only."
Also: iOS 5 announcement
- Like Android, you can swipe down from top of screen to see a list of notifications.
- Direct posting to Twitter from Camera, Safari, YouTube or Maps.
- Tabbed browsing on the web browser, read-it-later feature and Reader mode (hides all ads and clutter and expands text size).
- "A new Reminders app is a smart to-do list: it knows where you are, and pops up a reminder when you're near the place in question," Pogue writes.
- Built-in photo editing: cropping, red-eye reduction, color enhancing, etc.
- A new iMessages service to compete with RIM's BBM service or WhatsApp, which many iPhone owners currently use to chat with BlackBerry users.