By Claire Reilly
SYDNEY, NSW: Apple has announced its latest product innovations at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco overnight, including new operation systems for the Mac, iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, as well as a cloud computing storage system called iCloud.
Mac OS X Lion was billed as “the best version of OS X yet” by Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, Philip Schiller.
“Lion is packed with innovative features such as new Multi-Touch gestures, system-wide support for full screen apps, and Mission Control for instantly accessing everything running on your Mac,” he said.
The Multi-Touch feature will bring increased functionality to the Mac’s trackpad, with movements such as momentum scrolling and finger-pinch zooming. Full-screen viewing mode of apps will also be supported and Mission Control will allow users to get a bird’s eye view of everything running on their Mac.
Apple also revealed iOS 5, an updated version of the operating system used on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. iOS 5 features a Notification Centre that aggregates information such as calendar alerts, text messages and missed calls into the one place, as well as a PC-free feature that allows users to update their device without needing to connect it to a computer.
The new operating system also features a virtual newsstand that displays newspaper and magazine subscriptions, one-tap Twitter integration that allows direct tweeting from compatible apps, and updates to the Camera and Photos apps that offer enhanced features such as cropping and rotating images, removing red eye and easy organisation of files into album.
Both iOS 5 and Mac OS X Lion are designed to integrate with Apple’s new cloud-based storage system, iCloud.
Like other cloud services, iCloud will allow users to push data to an online server for storage, and then access it (using their Apple ID) from other compatible devices such as an iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, Mac or PC. The cloud replaces the need for storage on individual hard drives, and ensures continuity across multiple devices.
Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple, said the innovation was designed to make life easier for users.
“Today it is a real hassle and very frustrating to keep all your information and content up-to-date across all your devices,” said Jobs. “iCloud keeps your important information and content up to date across all your devices. All of this happens automatically and wirelessly, and because it’s integrated into our apps you don’t even need to think about it—it all just works.”
Instead of being locked to individual devices, purchased apps and iBooks can be downloaded on up to ten devices for free. iStorage will offer users up to 5GB free data storage in the cloud (with changes to documents automatically pushed to all devices) and iCloud Backup will automatically backup data via Wi-Fi when devices are plugged in for charging.
Mac OS X Lion is set to be available to users in July for $31.99 as an update to OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, while iOS 5 and iCloud are due to be released for free in Spring.