As many Apple fans out there, I followed the news at the WWDC keynote yesterday. I was quite pleased with the amount of new features both on Lion and iOS5 but what really caught my eye was the way Lion and iOS are starting to walk towards a unified operating system for all Apple devices. And in doing so, they are filling out the holes that were previously occupied with third-party apps that will now have to rethink their future.
One OS to rule them all
Both Mac OS X and iOS are walking towards each other in the sense they keep borrowing features from each other, but between Lion and iOS5, I’d say Lion is the one taking the biggest leap.
Let’s start with Multi-touch gestures. This has an impact on the way people browse in Safari or iPhoto, all to make it look and feel more like if you’re working on an iPad. Consider even the subtle change of reverse scrolling in Lion.
Then there’s Full-screen. Let’s not waste any display real estate, exactly like you have on the iPad or the iPhone. It actually makes a lot of sense, especially in smaller displays like in the Macbook Air or my white unibody Macbook.
The new version of Mail looks really familiar, doesn’t it? That’s because it is almost the same as in the iPad!
And if you still need more proof, check out Launchpad:
I rest my case!
More Apple, less third-party apps
Another thing that really surprised me in yesterday’s keynote was the way Apple seemed to be launching new features that were fulfilling most of their users’ desires. Apple is known for their innovative features but it is also known for not launching simple features like MMS or copy-paste on the first iPhone (when the competition had already done it 4 or so years ago) or the simple fact that we still don’t have SMS receipts on the current version of iOS. Yesterday was different. They sounded a lot like a company that was actually listening to their users and decided to act upon it by presenting some interesting features that aim at filling out some holes in the current version of iOS and Mac OS X.
But Apple’s faults on missing features are third-party developers’ opportunities. And if they have been taking advantage of those missing features by creating great apps (and gaining some money in the process), now they’ll have to rethink their future.
iMessage vs. PingChat (and a bunch others)
I’ve been using PingChat to exchange SMS and MMS-like messages (with reading receipt) with family and friends and it works great. But now Apple is launching their own version of this kind of apps. And I bet the integration with the rest of iOS is much more subtler than in PingChat, so… guess which one I’ll be using in the future? 🙂
Reminders vs. 2Do (and a bunch others)
This is one of those things that Apple haters love to point out: why doesn’t iOS include a simple way to sync ToDos with the Mac? This is 2011 and I still have to use apps like 2Do to manage my tasks between iCal and the iPhone/iPad. Finally, Apple has come to its senses and is now releasing the Reminders app that I hope will finally make my life easier on this end. 2Do is great and all but it still creates some (really hard to manage) conflicts when it comes to sync tasks between 3 different devices. I’d much more rather use an elegant Apple solution, which I hope Reminders will be.
Safari (with Reader and Reading List) vs. Instapaper
The only downside I see on this Instapaper-clone of the new Safari on iOS is the fact that it will only work on Safari and since I use Chrome on the Mac, I’m not quite sure I’ll stop using Instapaper. If only Apple would release the API for Reading List… (pretty please, with cherry on top?).
AirDrop + iCloud vs. Dropbox
Don’t start your flame-throwers just yet, I don’t really think that the AirDrop and iCloud combination will make me stop use Dropbox altogether. But I’d say Apple’s getting there and if they do it the right way in the future, I’d say Dropbox will lose a great chunk of Apple users.
Oh, and Wi-Fi Sync (vs. jailbreaking alternatives)
Finally! No more USB-based syncing!