Five of the Most Important Announcements of WWDC 2011

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By: Hillel Fuld

Jobs has done it again. Contrary to what we published prior to the WWDC event this week, the new announcements will actually have an effect on various industries. Some of the new features announced in regard to iOS 5, Mac OS Lion, and iCloud came as no surprise to anyone. Others wowed  us all.

The following are five of the most significant announcements that Jobs made on the WWDC stage in regard to the future of the iOS and Mac ecosystem:

  1. Notifications (iOS 5): Based on initial reviews, the new Notification Center on iOS 5 is the most game-changing feature announced for the new iOS. Whether or not Apple copied/borrowed the concept from Android, and it definitely seems like it did, the implementation on iOS is top notch. While some say the new notification bar, which is located on top of the screen (like in Android) is a little crowded, it is useful and provides quick access to your most important information. This was the most lacking feature of iOS compared to other platforms, and just like copy paste, Apple added it and beat others at their own game. This is a perfect example of Apple coming late to the game, but offering such a superior product, that the timing is pretty much irrelevant.
  2. Resume (Mac OS Lion): Many Mac users already claim that the OS boosts their productivity as compared to working on a PC, I definitely agree. One of the new and exciting features announced for the Lion OS (along with many others, such as the new Mail, Mission Control, and many others) is Resume. It is exactly how it sounds, and it enables you to resume your work across all apps, exactly where you left off. That means when you run a software update, you can then resume your work immediately without losing time. This is a feature browsers such as Chrome have implemented long ago, but a full blown operating system that enables you to restart the computer, and then return to the work environment you left, that is something new to me and I love it.
  3. 5GB Free Storage (iCloud): iCloud, Apple’s first “real” entry into the cloud (putting MobileMe aside) seems like it is a whole new ball game. MG Siegler explains here what the difference is between the way other companies implement Cloud Computing and the way Apple does it. In one word? Simplicity, or as Jobs himself said countless times in his keynote, “It just works”. What this means for users is very simple. You have an iPhone, iPad, iPod, or all of the above? No more need to manually sync them all. They are all going to be in sync all the time, and without any effort on your part. What this also means is that you can snap a photo with your iOS device and access it immediately on other devices as well as your computer, and no USB cords need to play an active role. This is great news for those of us that have ever experienced iTunes issues, and let’s be honest, who hasn’t?
  4. iMessage (iOS 5): I don’t know about you, but this came as a surprise to me. BBM on iPhone? There were rumors about this announcement that surfaced just minutes before the keynote, but prior to that, I did not expect this one. Why is this huge? For so many reasons. I already talked about all the apps that iOS 5 essentially killed, and the Web is full of speculation of the effect iMessage will have on SMS revenues, but putting all that aside, I have one question to ask. What is left for RIM? I mean, their OS is outdated, their push mail has been duplicated, and now, their last remaining advantage, free messaging between BlackBerry devices, is available on the device that has been slowly killing its business for years. I guess we will be seeing a lot of RIM advertisements focusing on how great BlackBerry keyboards are.
  5. Airdrop (Mac OS Lion): This is yet another very cool feature that Jobs announced for the new Lion OS. Power up your Mac, press the Airdop icon and with no need for a joined Wifi network, share files with anyone in your vicinity. Of course, for most people this might not be such a revolutionary feature as they could always just email the file (assuming it is not too big for email), but when it comes to work environments, this could be the next step in the evolution of file sharing. As 9to5mac says, the potential for this feature is huge and one obvious example is a classroom of students sharing an assignment with the teacher wirelessly and seamlessly.

Choosing five features of the new innovations developed by Apple was not easy. To read more about iOS 5 and its new features, click here, Mac OS Lion here, and iCloud here. Did you watch the keynote? If you did, or read about it after, which five new features were the most exciting for you?

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“Five of the Most Important Announcements of WWDC 2011”