WWDC 2011: Lion, iOS & iCloud
Monday, June 6th, Apple is set to announce what is likely to a host of groundbreaking new things at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference. While they’re not known to pre-announce the release of a new product or service ahead of time, Apple uncannily confirmed the release of their new brainchild, iCloud. And as expected, they also confirmed OSX Lion will be shown off — and likely released — as well as talk about iOS 5. Not to be forgotten, Steve Jobs is also said to be involved in the opening of the Keynote.
Mac OS 10.7 Lion was already previewed by Steve Jobs back in October 2010, and Monday we’ll probably see more features and additions made since then, and the OS will likely be released soon after. OSX Lion’s biggest claims to fame thus far have to do with the overwhelming overhaul of OSX to mirror many of the hallmark features of iOS on the iPad. These new additions have largely to do with a focus more so on apps, touch-based gestures, and ease of use.
iOS 5, whose announcement at WWDC is all but a given. Every year we’ve seen a revision to iOS (originally iPhone OS) — and at the very least, a revision to Apple’s most successful product, the iPhone. However, rumors circulating over the past few months have hovered around the theory that we might not see a new revision of the iPhone hardware this June.
With the addition of the Verizon-branded iPhone 4 in January 2011, and the ushering in of the elusive white iPhone for both AT&T and Verizon back in April, it’s not that impossible of an idea that Apple might be planning to pair the yearly iPhone and iPod releases for later this year. However, another theory that has merit, says that while Apple had blatantly confirmed the announcement of a new version of iOS and iCloud, yet no new iPhone; we might see a “One More Thing” that has to do with a mild revision to the iPhone hardware. Many of the recent and more viable rumors rule out the issuing of brand new iPhone hardware from Apple. Just like we saw an internal spec bump from the iPhone 3G to the 3GS and no facelift; my money’s on a new iPhone 4.5, otherwise known as iPhone 4S.
iCloud, which is probably the most important thing Apple will announce Monday is one that many Apple fans have been looking forward to for a very long time. There have been a lot of commentary on Apple’s secretive construction of a mysterious server farm in North Carolina. iCloud, is a service that credible rumors have associated with cloud-based streaming of music. More specifically, many have credited the major importance of iCloud to deal with streaming users’ iTunes libraries from the cloud.
One of the more intuitive features iCloud may present is the method of using a “scan and match” tactic, where instead of a user uploading their entire music library to the cloud, the iCloud service would instead scan a user’s iTunes library for tracks. This would allow for playback of a central version of any track a user has from Apple’s servers. Some are even saying Apple could offer higher quality versions of users’ tracks online via iCloud.
While Lion and iOS 5 are sure to make this year’s WWDC a big deal, iCloud has potential of overshadowing them both. iCloud could be what unifies both the iOS and Mac platforms in more ways than ever before. Apple’s current cloud-based service, MobileMe has a profound footprint in OSX as of now, yet much less so on iOS. It’s also apparent that Apple will likely be phasing out this service in favor of iCloud’s potential non-music-related features, like file storage and backup. Apple began discontinuing retail versions of MobileMe in February 2011.
If you’re as excited as I am about Apple’s upcoming announcement’s Engadget, as always will be liveblogging the event, here.