Earlier today Apple kicked off it’s annual developer conference with it’s usual keynote address from Apple’s commander in chief Steve Jobs. Lots of announcements this time around as they talked OSX, iOS, and their new cloud venture known as iCloud. I wanted to touch on a few of the announcements and give my two cents.
Please note, that I was pretty happy with the round of announcements for OSX and so I won’t be covering those too much here.
Twitter iOS Integration
This was a popular one that was rumored in the days leading up to the keynote and picked up some heavy steam over the weekend. While much of this is nice, I think that it greatly demonstrates the key differences between iOS and Google’s mobile offering, Android. With iOS, Twitter had to work directly with Apple to bring in such deep integration into their mobile OS. The contact sync, tweet photos from the photos app, etc, all have been in the Android version of the Twitter app for some time now. Why? Twitter didn’t have to wait to work with Google. Twitter could do it all themselves with the APIs provided by Google for the Android operating system. Apple however had to bake it in for their users to see such deep integration.
The notification system on iOS today sucks, badly. Anyone that has used Android devices, knows that its notification system has long been superior to iOS. It was non-intrusive, and easy to manage. With iOS 5, Apple is introducing a notification system that looks very similar to Android’s. But really, it’s about time for this change. They’ve needed for so long, and from the looks of what I saw, it seems like a good system even if you can tell it’s largely based on Android’s way of doing things, with some Apple flair thrown in.
iOS Goes PC Free (Cutting the Cord)
Apple was the one’s that said they were ushering in the “post PC era” when they announced the iPad2. However, if you bought an iPhone or an iPad, the first thing you had to do was connect it to a PC or Mac computer. That’s not very “post-pc” is it? But with iOS 5, new devices are ready to go without the need for connecting it to another device. This is good stuff, considering that even pro-iPhone himself, Robert Scoble, has said this was one of the things where Android was winning.
Apple also announced wireless iTunes syncing, and cloud based connectivity to get content on all their devices, so getting a new i-device will be similar to getting a new Android device. Activate, login, and your stuff downloads to the device.
With iCloud, Apple also announced iTunes Match, which scans your iTunes library, matches any tracks you haven’t purchased with those in the iTunes, and uploads anything it can’t match. Giving you access to your entire music collection. However, it costs $24.99/year. The price isn’t horrific, but if I can upload my collection to Google Music for free, there’s not exactly a value add for that $24.99. Especially since I’m okay with having that initial upload period (yes it sucks, but after it’s all there it’s just uploading new stuff which goes much faster). However, I’m willing to bet bucks to dollars that the yearly fee is mostly going to paying the labels for licensing.
What I do like is the matching technology and I really thought Google would come out with something like this for their service, but since they didn’t reach an agreement with the labels, I’m sure that’s why they haven’t done something similar. So there’s some good, some bad here. But I would expect Google, Amazon, and even Microsoft to start offering a similar service soon.