During today’s Let’s Talk iPhone keynote by Apple there was a lot of exciting announcements regarding the upcoming iOS 5, iCloud and iPhone 4S. It was the first keynote in a while that Steve Jobs didn’t take center stage, but his legacy continues and Tim Cook took the reigns for his first official product launch event since he was named the new Apple CEO back in August.
There were a few speakers at today’s event but of course Tim Cook kicked things off, and he did so in quite a graceful and subtle manner. He was very humbled and proud to be hosting the event. He went on to explain many things, including how much momentum the iPad and iPad 2 still has even despite all of the newly surfaced competition this year in the tablet PC market. As it stands, 75% of all tablet computers sold worldwide are in fact iPad’s which is nothing short of impressive.
Over 1,000 Schools, including grade schools and colleges, as well as several other industries such as medical (hospitals) and airlines have deployed, or are in the process of deploying programs that involve the iPad. Currently 92% of fortune 500 companies are in the process of buying up iPad’s to integrate them somehow and planning big things for the future of their markets, products and industries.
Next to take the stage was Scott Forstall, he was quite charismatic and had lots of great news to share. He explained how iOS is the world’s #1 most popular operating system and that 43% of mobile devices are using it. He also went on to explain how there’s currently half a million iOS apps available with no sings of these numbers slowing down, 140,000 of which are iPad specific apps.
Top New Features & Services From Apple
Of course you’re likely anxious to hear more about the upcoming features and services that Apple will soon be offering alongside their new products. Scott Forstall first announced the new Cards app which enables you to send physical greeting cards to your friends, family and other loved ones all with a few taps on the screen. That’s right, you can use a new digital app to send greeting cards the old fashioned way. The cost is reasonably cheap too, only $2.99 to send cards within the US and $4.99 to send one internationally. If you think about it, that’s actually a lot quicker and cheaper than hopping in your car, purchasing a card on your own and mailing it yourself. This is great news for customers, perhaps not so much for Hallmark.
iOS 5 Updates and Key Features
Along with iOS 5 comes an abundance of new features which were presented with more clarity and detail at today’s keynote. For starters, those annoying popups from Tiny Tower have been removed. There’s now notifications visible from the top by swiping down.
PC Free Feature
Now you can update your iOS software and also activate iOS devices wirelessly, that’s right, Apple has cut the wire and there’s no longer the need to plug your iOS device into a computer to do these tasks.
Updated Game Center
Apple’s Game Center is currently 67 million accounts strong and they’ve gone ahead and improved it even more. Now there are features such as new achievement points, friend recommendations and an update that allows you to add photos of friends.
Similar to how iBooks is setup on the iPad, Newsstand lets you access and organize content from popular magazines such as Vanity Fair, Allure, GQ and The New York Times to name a few.
Apple’s new iMessage feature is similar to BlackBerry’s BBM, essentially it’s like free texting and messaging between fellow iPhone users who are on your contacts list.
Also bundled with the updated iOS 5 is Twitter which is now deeply integrated in the operating system. I wonder why Apple didn’t decide to go with Google+ instead? Oh yeah, the whole Android competition thing, just ignore that question!
Updated Camera App
Apple has taken steps, or should I say reduced the steps required, to make snapping photos using your Camera app even easier than ever before. With iOS 5 & the updated Camera app, to take a photo all you have to do is double-tap your home button and voila! There’s also the new option to take photos by pressing the “volume up” button for even more added convenience.
Safari Browser Updates
Along with iOS 5 comes drastic improvements and changes with Safari. For example, now you can sync your Safari bookmarks & reading lists across other iOS devices. You can add content to your reading list from one iOS device and read it later from another.
Oh, and let’s not forget to mention that full tabbed browsing is coming soon to the iPad.
You can also “Push” content such as to-do lists or notes from one iOS device to another, say for example between an iPhone and iPad. Pretty cool huh? There’s over 200 new features bundled with iOS 5, but we’ve simply mentioned a few of the major ones.
A lot of what Eddy Cue had to mention regarding iCloud was basically reminders of what was covered during the WWDC 2011 Keynote but it never gets boring hearing about iCloud of course! For example, you’ll be able to re-download movies and music you’ve already purchased from iTunes as many times as you’d like between different iOS devices that you own.
All photos you take will also be stored and accessible from the “cloud”, so if you take a photo from your iPhone 4S you can later access it from your iPad no matter what your location. The same applies to documents you have stored on your iOS devices.
Similar to movies and music, with iCloud you’ll also be able to re-download purchased apps and books as many times as you need to no matter what iOS device you are accessing them from.
Please note, iCloud is free of charge and comes with 5GB of storage space however additional storage space can also be purchased if need be.
Find My Friends App
Find My Friends is a cool new iOS location-based mapping app integrated with iCloud. Easily reveal the location of your friends, those who have opted to share their whereabouts that is, including longitude and latitude.
With iCloud and beefed up parental controls you can easily take advantage of the following new features:
- Easily locate friends and family
- Temporary sharing option
- Privacy restrictions
- Simple privacy controls
Believe it or not, most of the announcements today almost seem miniscule compared to the new Siri personal assistant technology (which is still in BETA). It’s easily the most intelligent voice activated software developed by Apple for mainstream use. It could almost fall into the “scary” smart category, it’s just that advanced.
Ask her, ahem, Siri anything, yes anything and she will comply. Basically, your wish is Siri’s command. Not only does Siri answer questions, she also performs desired tasks instantly, accurately and on the fly. For example, here’s a few random questions you could ask or tasks you can ask to have completed:
- Tell my boss I’ll be 10 minutes late for work. Done!
- Set my alarm for 7am. Done!
- Is it likely to rain this weekend?
- Should I recharge my battery soon?
- What’s my friend Andrew’s address again?
- Call my parents. Done!
- Add “look for new suit and tie” to my to-do list. Done!
- Where’s the nearest Chinese food restaurant?
Siri Demo Video
Don’t just take our word for it though, see just how intelligent Siri really is for yourself. Watch the demo video below to see Apple’s new Siri technology in action.