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Apple Announces iOS 5 and Lion At the World Wide Developer Conference

Apple’s Steve Jobs recently took the stage at the Moscone Centre in San Francisco to deliver his keynote address to open the 2011 World Wide Developers Conference. In a break from the norm, the Apple co-founder did not announce any new hardware, but used his address to take the wraps off of three new software updates.

For the iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches, Steve announced iOS 5 which will be available free as a download off of the internet, in September this year. For the Apple desktops and notebooks he announced Mac OS 10.7 code named “Lion” which will be available on the iTunes Application store from July this year, and finally, for all internet users regardless of whether they use Windows, Mac or Linux, he announced the iCloud service, which stores all of your content on the internet and wirelessly pushes it to your devices.


The new operating system for Apple’s iOS devices (iPods, iPads and iPhones) brings more than 200 new features to the devices. The top 10 features are as follows:

Notifications Center – a complete revamp of the notifications system to replace the annoying pop ups that come onto your screen catching you by surprise and then disappear before you can read them. It pulls together all notifications into one place accessible by swiping your finger down from the top of the screen. The Notifications Center essentially shows a list of different notifications organized by app. Non-obtrusive notification animation at the top of the screen that quickly goes away but can be easily accessed again later via Notifications Center. Improved lock screen shows more notifications. Sliding your finger across any notification takes you directly to the app where the notification came from. Notifications can also be individually dismissed or dismissed altogether.
News Stand – is similar to the iBook app and makes it easier to access newspapers and magazines on iOS devices with an integrated subscriptions feature. Content is downloaded in the background for you to read when you have time.
Twitter – is now deeply integrated into iOS. It uses single sign-on similar to Facebook’s single sign-on. Twitter becomes a native app and gets its own pane in the settings menu. Twitter is also integrated into native apps such as Camera and Photos, so that you can tweet directly from those apps. You can also tweet from Safari, YouTube videos, and from Maps. Contact photos can also be pulled directly from Twitter profiles.
Safari – a new Safari Reader button has been added that pops up in the address bar, just like how it does on Safari for desktops. It reformats pages to make it easier to read on an iPhone or iPad, and can also email contents of stories compete with its link.
Reading List – allows you to pull various articles together to look at later, much like third-party service “Read It Later.” It syncs across all iOS devices so that if you didn’t finish reading something on your iPad, you can finish it on your iPhone or iPod Touch.
Reminders – a native to-do app that can create virtual post-its and assign reminders and locations to different notes.
Camera – can be accessed faster directly from the lock screen. The most impressive feature for me is that the volume button can now be used as the shutter button to take the photo. You can now pinch-to-zoom and you can hold your finger on part of an image to set autofocus and exposure lock. You can also edit your photos natively, such as red-eye reduction, quick-enhance, and cropping tools.
Mail – now gets rich-text formatting, indentation support, draggable addresses, and flagging to mark mail items unread. Search now works across the entire message, not just the subject. Better enterprise support with S/MIME support added for encryptions. The new split-keyboard option for iPad, makes typing more convenient with thumb use.
PC Free – in the past, the iOS devices needed a computer through which they were activated. With iOS 5, the device no longer needs to be synced with your desktop computer. A new iPhone or iPad will automatically setup and activate. Software updates are now over-the-air and there are now delta updates, which means you can download just what’s changed instead of the entire OS.
Game Center – is now more social. Adding photos and you can even compare yourself against your friends and friends of friends. It also offers Friends and game recommendations, and upport for turn-by-turn games.
iMessages – is a native enhancement to messaging. It brings the features of conversation messaging found on the iPhone, to the iPad and iPod Touch. You can message with individuals and groups, receive delivery receipts and read receipts. It supports text, photo and video messaging, all over 3G and WiFi networks and is encrypted.


Lion will take over from Snow Leopard next month as the latest release of the Mac X series of operating systems, making it the eighth cat in the family. Lion brings with it over 250 new features. Lion will only run on Intel based Macs that sport a Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7 or Xeon processor. Thus it will run on any machine released by Apple in the last four years. Lion will be the first Apple operating system to be distributed via the App store as a download, and it is yet to be seen how this will effect countries such as Zimbabwe with limited download speeds. Given that the download is four gigabytes, it may present challenges, however there will be solutions from registered Apple Resellers.

Below is a wrap up of in my opinion the 10 most key enhancements coming out in Lion:
Multi-Touch Gestures – Apple has taken a lot of what it has learned from the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch and integrated it into the new OS, providing disappearing scroll bars, fluid momentum based scrolling, swiping, and taps.
Full Screen Apps – All native apps now have a full screen mode that take advantage of every pixel on the screen. There is a new Full-Screen button. You can have more than one full-screen apps running at the same time. You can three-finger swipe to the right to go back to your desktop without closing the full-screen app.
Mission Control – Combines the great features of Expose and Spaces. A simple three-finger swipe upwards takes you into Mission Control which is a bird-eye view of everything going on in your system. It makes multiple desktops and multiple full-screen apps, all easy to see and get to.
Mac App Store – Built-in to Lion. In-app purchases, push notifications, sandboxing for better security, and delta updates.
LaunchPad – A pinch motion makes all your applications fly onto your screen. The screen looks very similar to the iPhone and iPad icons grid interface, one of the best enhancements to the iOS in the release of 4.
Resume – Brings you right back to where you were when you quit an application. It works system wide, not just in apps.
Auto Save – Lion will automatically saves everything for you in the background. Adds a new History dropdown to your menu bar including Lock, Duplicate, Revert to Last Opened, and Browse All Versions.
Versions – can take manual snapshots, only changes are stored, not entire document in each version. It looks a lot like Time Machine, but works per document rather than your whole system. You can even cut and paste between the versions.
AirDrop – is a very easy way to share files on a peer-to-peer WiFi-based network. Your system automatically detects who else around you is also running AirDrop. You can drag and drop files to them in this way. Auto-discovery, auto-setup. Confirmations on both sides just to be safe, and all transferred data is encrypted.
Mail – The mail interface has been revamped with full height message, favorites bar, and message snippets. New search suggestions, boolean searches, and conversation views.

These are just some of the great features coming out in iOS5 and Lion, but in true Apple form we are likely to find many hidden gems within the releases that make our user experience even better.

In the next edition of the e Zone, I will be writing on the much talked about iCloud Service that was also announced at WWDC.

16 June 2011