Apple announces Mac OS X Lion, iOS 5, and iCloud

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Exterior of Moscone West center, where the WWDC 2011 keynote was held.
Image: Ben Miller.

At the company's own Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) keynote at the Moscone West center in San Francisco, Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the next generation of software products from Apple. Apple unveiled Lion, the new version of their Mac OS X operating system for desktop and laptop computers that brings new features to the software. They also demonstrated iOS 5, a new version of the operating system that powers iPhones, iPod Touches, and iPads. Alongside both announcements, Jobs also announced a new iCloud service to sync data among all devices. All 5,200 participating developers will spend the rest of the week in workshops with Apple employees; developer releases of each product were made available today.

Mac OS X Lion will be shipped in July through the online Mac App Store available on Mac computers for US$29. According to Apple, the update adds over 250 new features to the OS. Employee Phil Schiller discussed new multitouch gestures along with a dynamic task manager named Mission Control that shows open applications. During the keynote, Schiller said, "The Mac has outpaced the PC industry every quarter for five years running and with OS X Lion we plan to keep extending our lead." It also adds full support for the Mac port of the popular App Store, full screen applications, iOS-style app icon lists called Launchpad, and other iOS-like features including a revamped Mail and Auto Save among others. Mac OS X Lion was announced at a different Apple event several months ago and will replace Mac OS X Snow Leopard, which was released in 2009.

Interior of Moscone West center, where the WWDC 2011 keynote was held.
Image: Ben Miller.

Soon after, the company also introduced the latest installment in its popular mobile operating system iOS. The fifth version (iOS 5) introduces around 200 new features, including a revamped notification system, which combines messages and notifications from all applications installed on the user's device. Scott Forestall, an Apple employee, also revealed that iOS devices would no longer require a computer for setup, allowing users to 'cut the cord' between their devices and PCs. Magazines and newspapers also have a new folder interface; the Twitter social network is now integrated significantly into iOS devices. Improvements to the mobile Safari browser were also announced; tabbed browsing and a Reader feature introduce desktop-like functionality. Finally, new camera features are built in, including the ability to take snapshots from the lock screen, as well as iMessages, a new messaging platform for iPhones and iPads.

Cquote1.svg We are going to demote the PC to just be a device. We are going to move the digital hub, the center of your digital life, into the cloud. Cquote2.svg

—Steve Jobs

CEO Steve Jobs returned to the stage to reveal Apple's new cloud services offering, iCloud. The service integrates with Lion and iOS applications and syncs data between a user's iOS devices. For example, calendar events created on a user's laptop would be sent to their iPhone through iCloud. Apps, books, documents, photos, and more purchased or created on one device will be shared with others. The service is intended to launch in the fall of 2011 alongside iOS 5 and will be available with 5 gigabytes (GB) of storage for 10 devices for free. Earlier this year, Apple opened a 500,000 square foot data center in North Carolina intended to facilitate this new service. Jobs rounded the services off by unveiling a new iTunes feature that mirrors a user's library in the cloud, allowing them to listen and download music to authorized devices. "We are going to demote the PC to just be a device. We are going to move the digital hub, the center of your digital life, into the cloud,” said Steve Jobs during the keynote. iCloud and iOS 5 will be released in the fall of 2011; Apple announced no new hardware products.


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