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WWDC 2011

Worldwide Developer Conference for Apple

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Top 10 Highlights from the 2011 WWDC Keynote

  • Jun 7, 2011

Steve Jobs and gang announced quite a bit on Monday to kick off this year's WWDC, but there was quite a bit to digest, especially with all the E3 announcements at the same time.  As a self-proclaimed Apple fanboy, here's my filtered list of the big take-aways from Monday's event.

iOS 5 - Next iOS software update due this fall.
  1. PC Free syncing -  Based on the hours of tech support I've supplied to family and friends, I've very much wanted to recommend an iPad as a replacement for their SpyWare/Virus infected computers.  Unfortunately, the first thing you need to do when you get an iPad (or iPhone/iPod Touch for that matter) is connect it to a computer.  With PC Free syncing, the iOSdevice really can replacethe traditional desktop computer -- not just play the role of accessory.  For me, this was the biggest announcement of the day because it opens up the iPad to all new opportunities.
  2. iPad Split Keyboard - I love reading email on the iPad, but the keyboard can be really difficult to use unless you're in a position to rest the iPad on your lap.  The new split keyboard makes it really to hold the ipad in your hands and type with your thumbs as it moves the keys closer to the edges of the screen. 
  3. Notifications Update - The iOS notifications have been a bit of a target for Android fanboys due to the antiquated designof the alerts and lack of usability.  Rather than reinvent the wheel, Apple just copied the Android method bringing a much more elegant in-app notification update as well as a "lock screen" summary page. 
LION - Next OSX Desktop Software due in July
  1. Full Screen Apps - As multi-tasking becomes more prevalent, it sometimes becomes difficult to focus on the task at hand.  Full Screen Apps takes the simplicity and focus of iPad apps, and brings it to the desktop computer. 
  2. Mission Control - Everyone is pretty familiar with "Alt-Tab" (or Command-Tab) for switching apps.  Mission Control is like Alt-Tab on steroids.  You really have to see it in action to get the full effect, but it elegantly manages all theapplications, spaces and full-screen apps in a very intuitive and efficient manner.  
  3. Auto-Save/Versions - When you quit out of Apps optimized for Lion, you'll no longer be prompted to save your work.  Just like Google Docs, documents are auto-saved as you work.  Even better, Lion automatically tracks version history of your document so you can easily go back to an earlier version and replace in full or in part  Is "Did you save your work" a thing of the past?
  4. $29.99 - This isn't really afeature, but after looking at the pricing grid of all the variants of Windows 7, $29.99 is a steal.  Even better, if you use the same accounts on multiple computers, you only have to buy the software once and you can install it on all your computers.
iCloud - Online storage and services from Apple
  1. Music Match - Anyone remember MP3.com from 1998?  The idea was that you would put a music CD in your computer, some software would scan it and recognize the album, and then you could stream a copy of those songs from any web browser.  The music industry wasn't ready for that, and they quickly shutdown MP3.com with lawsuits.  Over ten years later, Apple has enough money to pay the music labels for the rights for this service, and for $25/year you can now store up to 25,000 songs in the cloud and download them to all your iOS devices and computers.  And since Apple is providing the "reference" version of each song, you get the high quality stream without having to wait for your files to upload to their servers (a huge advantage over Amazon and Google's offering).  Maybe DirecTV will take a page from this approach and stop requiring people to rent DVR's and schedule recordings in advance.  Just have DirecTV record every show and let  people stream whatever they want on demand.
  2. Backup - As mentioned in the PC Free section, you no longer need a PC to backup your iOS devices.  The iCloud service will automatically backup your iOS devices daily to the cloud, so should you lose your iPhone (or perhaps drop it in the ocean), when you get your replacement device, once you login, all your settings and data will be automatically installed back onto your new device -- no computer necessary! 
  3. Photo Stream -Take pictures with your iPhone.  Then go home and stream the photos to your iPad or through the AppleTV.  Apple will store your last 1,000 photos automatically on the cloud.  I love the idea that I can take pictures all day of my two adorable kids, and then immediately share the photo stream with the grandparents.
Bonus: Updated Camera App - This list goes all the way to 11!  The new iOS Camera app supposedly launches much faster now, and can also be launched directly from the lock screen.  So no more fumbling to enter your passcode and launch the app while you're trying to capture that moment in time.  Also, you can use the Volume Up button as a shutter button on the phone.  Much easier than trying to touch the icon on the screen.  A great addition (and I believe yet another thing Apple "borrowed" from a third party developer.  

There's still even more coming in the software updates that wasn't announced today, so I can't get to get my hands on the new updates!

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June 08, 2011
Ditto devora. I love the idea of saving of the time with regard to music match. Can't imagine uploading all the songs!
June 07, 2011
great breakdown, thx!
June 07, 2011
Can. Not. Wait. for the 5th gen iPhone! These features sound awesome. Thanks for the scoop!
More WWDC 2011 reviews
Quick Tip by . June 08, 2011
The statistics announced by Apple were astounding as well as impressive. $2 billion paid to developers, some 200 million users of Apple's iOS. The huge iCloud data center in North Carolina. Well, how do all these translate to profitability? Watch out for Apple stock prices during Fall when the iPhone 5 (shipped with iOS5 presumably?) is being launched! Let's see how accurate that prediction is! ;-)
About the reviewer
Andrew ()
Ranked #24
I'm a technology early adopter. I thoroughly enjoy geeking out with the latest hardware, software and electronics. I probably have as much fun setting up, tweaking, and configuring systems as I do actually … more
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