The griping about the iPhone 4S—which the more I think of it is a great update to the iPhone 4—has overshadowed the real stuff that is going to make us love our iOS devices more—iOS 5, iCloud, and the Lion updates to support them. By all accounts, iOS 5 fixes how freakin’ annoying notifications are on iOS devices as well as being able to do more without your machine. Yeah, automatic backups to the cloud is going to save a lot of bacon, let me tell you. Access to Camera on the lock screen? Finally! Volume button to take a picture? About time. These incremental—and arguably overdue—features are the what in some ways brings iOS closer to Android devices but in others what pushes beyond them.
Great, overdue features that hardware can support
When you look at the features in iOS 5 some of them like wireless syncing and being able to set up and use an iOS device without a PC are overdue. Tabbed browsing in Safari, I think Apple was waiting for hardware to catch up to be able to have a good experience (somehow I think the experience on a 3GS might be less than stellar). As for iCloud (better) AirPlay mirroring, well that’s the push that shows a peek at what Apple has coming. Apple would like to make the AppleTV be something that people just want to play media through. Maybe the AppleTV will become part of even business conference room setups so presentations can be streamed straight to a screen without a projector?
Same media, lots of places
iCloud? Yeah it might be targeting DropBox (and I think Apple buying DropBox might be really great), but it’s really going for the “just turn on your Mac or iOS device and know that key files are going to be secure” replace Time Machine? No, augment it.
You know I rely on DropBox for the stuff I need to do. I share files, archive files, but you know if when I’m in a completely Mac (and running Lion, iOS 5) office and iCloud becomes the frictionless way to share and collaborate on files—what do you think I’m going to use? Right. Now DropBox (and other folks like CloudApp) well see that they can make iCloud cooler and adapt.
Looking back at the changes in iOS, OS X, and the devices then project forward what you see is a clear path towards seamless, frictionless use and access to your media and files regardless of the device you’re using. Just like Steve Jobs saw the prototype of a tablet and decided to take that and build a phone first Apple’s plan all hinges on plans, dreams, and visions that will come as the hardware becomes ready to support it.
No more Newtons
Great hardware is the secret to great user experience with software. Apple knows this and this is why I’m really excited for iOS 5, iCloud, and the updates to Lion next week.
Originally posted on the Future Shop Tech Blog.