Apple iOS 5 and iCloud examined
We rate the key announcements
Hail or Fail The keynote speech at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference may have kicked off with a demo of Mac OS X 10.7 Lion that we've seen before - the only real news was its launch date, July, and low price, $30 (£18) - but the iOS 5 and iCloud announcements were packed with juicy details.
It's crucial to look ahead. Many of yesterday's announcements seem to be catch-up manoeuvres, but they reveal on closer inspection the potential to push iOS and iCloud well beyond the competition.
Here's what we think of the key new features.
Like the iOS-only, Wi-Fi-only FaceTime, iMessage connects iOS 5 users - and no one else. How many folk you converse with by instant message own an iDevice? Most of mine don't.
BlackBerry Message, iMessage's nearest alternative, gets used because companies buy BlackBerrys en masse, and colleague messages colleague. Maybe if big business starts buying iPhones too, iMessage will take off, but for most consumers, with pals on a variety of platforms, it's a non-starter.
Or, 'Apple turns the torrents into a money maker for music labels'. iTunes Match may be nominally a way to archive your ripped CDs in the cloud, but it has the potential to do a very nice job monetising peer-to-peer downloads.
You download the new Lady Gaga album from a torrent, but you feel guilty about stealing. So you pay Apple - and through it the labels - $25 (£15) a year to magically convert that download into a legal copy. And likewise all the other albums and songs you pinch.
It's not an all-you-can-eat subscription, but it's close enough. The nominal 20,000-song limit will satisfy anyone who actually spends time listening to music rather than merely hoarding downloads because they can. And Apple's archive of songs is likely to contain almost all popular torrent downloads now that pretty much every release goes straight to iTunes by default.
The question is, do torrenters feel sufficiently guilty to cough up Apple's de facto torrent legalisation subscription? Many won't but a lot will.
Expect iTunes Match to really take off when Apple adds support for all those iffy AVI files...
Next page: iCloud
Reg, you've missed the point. The messaging service is integrated so sending SMS or using Apple iMessage is not a choice users need to think about. There is one messaging centre, so when sending a message to a friend with an iPhone, the message is transported using Apple's protocol, when messaging a friend on a non iOS phone, SMS is used. It's difficult to see how this can be a fail, it will simply be used when it's appropriate. Users aren't going to neglect to use it. It won't whither and die. Indeed it is seamlessly integrated with the only universal messaging service available across all mobile devices - SMS.
All this x copied y...
Most of these companies have been working on features for a long time and in parallel.
And also, while I'm on the subject, why is there is the consistent tendency for commenters to misunderstand the difference between invention and innovation (not OhFFS who I'm replying to I should say)?
Innovation is about being active in bring together new products and services and combinations of features to market and is not simply the sum of inventions. There is relatively little new invented in the world. Apple bringing the iPad to market was innovation, not invention, the ideas that went into it had been around for years. So the criticism "it wasn't new,.. Nokia, or Microsoft, or Palm did x, y or z" wholly misses the point.
As does all this point scoring with x invented y that we see in these comment forums. Apple were innovative with the introduction of the iPhone, Google have since been innovative with many features of Android. We all stand on the shoulders of inventors and innovators who have gone before us. Copying isn't bad - it's a good thing when it's a good idea. The only "crime" is if X copies Y, who has a really great implementation, but then X does it worse despite having the good implementation as an example.
Recognising innovation when it occurs is a strength (and we should all be prepared to recognise innovation whenever it occurs). So yes Apple did some great innovation with touch interfaces, and Google have done some of their own, and copying isn't bad per se, unless it's done badly.
Engaging in point scoring about who invented what is usually just being childish.
Sorry, but I had to get that off my chest.
Hmm. If it's really true that iMessage combines SMS and an Apple-only protocol, this hardly can fail. The carriers of course will hate that. Why isn't something like that integrated with Android? Ah, yes, the carriers. Say what you want about Apple but they have the balls to stick it to the carriers now and then.
And having some (limited to iOS users) texting capabilities on iPod touches and WiFi-iPads is better than nothing. The kids will love that, especially since it's free.
You realise, of course (I know you do, you must, no-one could be this dumb), that this article is about iOS, which is 4 years old. Of course, perhaps you mean to leave disparaging comments about 10.7 instead, only that one would be 10 years old.
The only OS that I can find released 7 years ago is Pocket RISC OS...
Still, thanks for the chuckle.
... but for the fact that they are still selling the 3GS (just checked the Apple UK site) so they better support it !