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June 06, 2011

Apple Debuts iCloud, Lion OS, Latest iOS Update at WWDC

By Tammy Wolf, TMCnet Web Editor

After much anticipation, Apple’s (News - Alert) CEO Steve Jobs took the stage to an enthusiastic audience at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco today (Monday). While the past four conferences have entailed an unveiling of a new iPhone (News - Alert), it’s not the case this year, as Apple will be unveiling the much talked about iCloud and iOS 5.

Apple kicked off today’s event by highlighting features for a updated version of its operating system, Mac OS X Lion. Set to be released for Mac computers this summer, the $30 operating system uses similar functions to Apple’s mobile operating systems on the iPhone and iPad, according to

Using finger “gestures” on a computer’s trackpad, Mac users will be able to control and manage Lion’s features. Other features include full-screen applications; all of Mac’s system apps; a new way to look at all apps on the system, called Mission Control; face-tracking technology in Photo Booth; AirDrop for sharing documents over the air; redesigned mail; instant view of all apps on the system using Launch Pad; and a redesigned mail system.

According to a live blog, Lion will be released solely in Mac App Stores.

While much excitement buzzed around all these new features, cheers resonated especially for the announcement of the iOS 5, which will feature more than 1,500 new APIs. iOS 5 will come packed with new features, including: a notifications center that combines Facebook (News - Alert) updates, mail notifications, and more; Newsstand for newspaper subscriptions; single sign-on for Twitter; Safari improvements; reminders; camera updates; enhanced mail, including a keyboard for the iPad; and an improved game center.

Apple has also unveiled iMessage, a new innovative way for iOS users to communicate with each other through sending text messages, photos, video, contacts group messages and more. Encrypted over WiFi (News - Alert) or 3G, users receive read and delivery receipts, typing indication – much like BBM on BlackBerry smartphones. Using Push, iMessages sends messages to all of a user’s devices. 

Just announced at 2:20 p.m. ET, Jobs unveiled iCloud, or a solution to help users avoid syncing all of theirdevices. Now, users will be able to sync information the cloud from any device. iCloud essentially stores content in the cloud and wirelessly pushes it to all devices. For example, if you add an appointment to your calendar, it can be pushed to another person. In addition, mail will be pushed to all devices. 

This goes the same for iBooks, presentations, and photos, which will automatically be backed up to the cloud and pushed to all devices. 

Using Bob Dylan, Jobs demonstrated how iTunes will work in the cloud. For purchased songs, the system will add the "purchase button to all songs bought on any device for no additional charge. By pushing the "cloud" button, whole albums and songs are downloaded to all devices -- a first in the record industry. 

For those users who have downloaded music without using iTunes, Jobs revealed several ways to deal with this issue. First, users can sync new devices over WiFi and cable, then rely on iCloud for new purchases. Also, with iTunes Match, Apple has written software to scan a user's CDs and match them with songs in the store.

Keep checking back to TMCnet for more real-time updates on this ground-breaking conference.

Tammy Wolf is a TMCnet web editor. She covers a wide range of topics, including IP communications and information technology. To read more of her articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf
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