Apple Introduces iOS 5 and OS X Lion– What You Need To Know
It may be hard to believe but iMessage was only one of the many things unveiled by Apple this week at WWDC 2011. In addition to that major news, Apple also had a few other pretty big announcements regarding what we can expect in the next versions of iOS and OS X: iOS 5 and OS X Lion (sadly there was no new iPhone 5 announced here). So what exactly did Apple say and what does it mean for you? Read on for the full breakdown.
Mac OS X Lion
Let’s start with OS X Lion.
As we saw last year, OS X Lion brings to the Mac many of the great features we’ve seen on the iPhone and iPad. A few of the big ones they showed off at WWDC– Mission Control, Launchpad, full screen apps, and the Mac App Store– we covered last year (and you can read all about them here), but here are three new things we’ve never seen before that, while simple, look to be very useful.
Resuming back to what you were doing in OS X Lion
- Resume– What this new feature does is save exactly where you left off whenever you quit an app or shut down your computer so that the next time you open the app you’re right where you left off. Imagine being in the middle of working on a presentation for school, shutting down your computer before you head home and having the app open up to exactly where you left off the next time you turn it back on. Simple sure, but still very useful.
Comparing versions using Versions
- Auto Save and Versions– This is also simple but at the same time one of the features I’m personally most excited for in OS X Lion. It’s happened to all of us– you’re up late working on a paper for school and your Word/Pages crashes or you accidentally close out the app. You had just typed several pages since your last save and since the app just closed, it all looks to be ruined and you’ll have to do all your hard work all over again. With these new features that problem looks to be a thing of the past. Auto Save will automatically save your work for you every five minutes and Versions will make snapshots of what your up to every hour. This means you not only can work easy knowing that your hard work is constantly being saved, but you can also compare what you’ve done in your earlier drafts with your final copy side by side to see all your changes (and you can even save the earlier drafts as different documents so you can try out different changes without worrying about your good copy being ruined). For students, this is THE top feature of OS X Lion and reason enough to upgrade.
- AirDrop– Have a file on your computer and want to share it with a friend but it’s too big to email and neither of you have a flash drive? If you both have Lion you’ll be able to share that file wirelessly with any other Lion-running Mac within 30 feet around you. To send the file all you have to do is click the AirDrop icon in the Finder sidebar, and simply drag it to your friend’s name. Again, simple but useful.
Alright, now let’s focus on what everyone wants to know more of– the next generation of iOS. For those who don’t know, iOS is the software that powers the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch and if you’ve got a iPhone (either 3GS or 4), iPad (1 or 2) or iPod Touch (3rd or 4th gen) this is the big update coming to your iDevice this fall. There were a ton of new features previewed in iOS 5 (with over 200 new features coming in the update) but here are the ones, beyond iMessage of course, that you’re gonna want to know most about.
- Notification Center– Anyone who’s ever used an iPhone knows that the worst thing about it is its horrible way of displaying new texts or notifications– no matter what you’re doing a pop-up will appear and completely interrupt that game your playing, movie your watching, or website your browsing. It’s annoying as anything. Thankfully in iOS 5 Apple looks to have made this problem disappear with their new Notification Center. The Notification Center is the new place where all your new updates go and is easily accessible by a quick swipe down from the top of the screen (just like how notification are done in Android). And don’t worry, you’ll still be prompted by when you get something like a new text or email– just now it will appear briefly along the top of the screen and not interrupt whatever you were doing before by making you have to decide right on the spot whether to respond or ignore. Next to iMessage, this is probably the biggest new update to iOS we’re looking forward to.
- Camera– Apple has done a couple new things to the Camera app in iOS 5 that are sure to make taking pictures with your iPhone or iTouch a much better experience. First and foremost is the ability to use the volume-up button as a shutter button to take a picture you no longer will have to tap the little camera icon on the screen. The lock screen is also getting an update to allow you to jump into the camera right from the homescreen so you can better capture the moment while its happening (like Windows Phone 7). There also are little tweaks like pinch-to-zoom for zooming and one-tap for exposure and focus locks so you always get the best possible shot. And this is not all– the Photos app also got some nice updates….
- Photos– iOS 5 also brings some much-needed on-the-fly photo editing to pics taken with the camera adding things like cropping, auto-enhancing and automatic red-eye removal (these have been on other photo apps on other phone platforms for a while now). You also can now upload photos directly to Twitter, though sadly for Facebook you’ll still need to use the Facebook app. These updates aren’t major by any stretch but they should definitely make the iPhone much better for taking pictures.
- Newsstand– This is basically the new place any newspaper or magazine you download from iBooks will go to. Again, small but nice for those who read a lot on their iDevice.
- Reminders– This is like a calendar on steroids. Let’s say you’re in school and you realize you keep forgetting to finish that big paper due tomorrow and you want to set a reminder for yourself that will pop-up the second you get home. With this new Reminders app you not only can make a to-do list, but you can set it to remind you to do whatever you need to do where you need to do it. For all of us that constantly forget to do things this could be a life saver.
- Goodbye Computer–After you install iOS 5 you will no longer have to connect your iDevice to iTunes to do anything ever again. Software updates, setting up a new iPhone/iPad/iTouch, backing up your iDevice, even adding new songs, apps, books or movies from your iTunes on your computer can now all be done wirelessly over your home WiFi network (though you will need to be plugged in to a charger to do those last two). This has been on Android and Windows Phone for a while as well, but that doesn’t mean we’re not still glad to see Apple finally adding it in here.