Tech: Steve Jobs unveils iCloud, Mac OSX Lion and iOS5

By Eyal Hanfling

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Apple announced a line of new products Monday at its annual World Wide Developers Conference that, for many, will change the way information is shared on the computer.

CEO Steve Jobs made an appearance to announce the next generation Mac and iOS operating systems, Mac OSX Lion and iOS5, as well as a new cloud based storage system called iCloud, which will be used for music, photos, email and other basic services.


iCloud and iTunes Match

Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveils a new line of products June 6, including the highly-anticipated iCloud. Photo courtesy

iCloud will replace Apple’s current cloud based storage system, MobileMe. The service will be free for all iTunes users and will let users store music, emails, photos, documents, contacts, calendars and backup files online.

When a song is purchased or a contact is created on one device, the same information will be updated on all of the other devices a user owns, as well as the iCloud account.  The iCloud service will begin sometime in the fall and users will be provided with 5GB of free storage.

iTunes match is a music storage service Apple will offer starting this fall to let users keep all of their music on the cloud at one time, for $24.99 a year. Users will not need to upload all of their music to the cloud, only songs that are unavailable at the iTunes store.

What this means for you

Unlike Apple’s problem-filled MobileMe service, which had a heavy price of $99 a year, the iCloud will provide a cheap and functional solution to benefit all customers. On its website, Apple compared its iCloud service to the similar services already in place by Google and Amazon. Clearly, Apple is trying to enter the new cloud-based storage industry, and this is just the first step.


iOS 5

Apple also released the newest version of its mobile operating system, iOS5. The update, which will come in fall, has a number of changes that make iPhones, iPads and iPod Touches more user friendly and internet integrated.

Some of these features include a new notification system,  which replaces the old, distracting system of notifications. It also includes a location-based reminders application, a new messages and SMS system, a newsstand for newspaper subscriptions and improvements to Safari, Camera and photos.

The biggest change in iOS5 will be the new system of syncing mobile devices to computers. In a move away from computers, Apple will let users will have the opportunity to sync information over a shared WiFi network when the device is plugged into a power source, rather than on a computer.

What this means for you

For users, the biggest change will be getting used to the integration of iOS5 and iCloud on their device. Unfortunately, there have been no plans for Apple and Facebook to work together to integrate Facebook into these devices. For me, I will enjoy not having to plug my iPod into my computer every time I want to sync a song or a new TV show.


Mac OSX Lion

At the conference, Apple also explained the details of its newest operating system, Lion, which will replace the current system, Snow Leopard. Lion will borrow a few features from its mobile counterpart in an effort to create a user-friendly experience on desktops and laptops.

Lion will add full screen compatibility for many applications, support for multi-touch gestures on trackpads, Mission Control to organize windows and launchpad, a home-screen location to see all of a user’s installed applications.

It will go on sale in July for $29.99 via the Mac App Store.

What this means for you

Although this update will not completely change the way your computer will work, upgrading to a new operating system is always beneficial for productivity, compatibility and security. However, Mac OSX Lion will only work on computers that currently have an Intel Core 2 Duo, Core i3, Core i5, Core i7 or Xeon processor. The computer must also run Snow Leopard, the current operating system.


Apple’s new products will boost its popularity in both the mobile and computer industry, adding to what is already a dominant line of devices.

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