For the first time we all knew what was coming. Steve Jobs came, reshuffled the entire industry and took us all to Cloud 9. It may be all about software this year, but Apple has once again ingeniously changed the rules of interaction between everyone and everything else on the planet over the coming decade. I'm sure every tech geek worth his salt must have by now, scanned every word of tech news available online and offline to understand exactly what Jobs meant when he said; “It just works”.
Resume with your work..
But before we start analyzing, allow me to mention something about ‘the man’ himself. When Steve took the stage he was greeted by a round of applause, standing ovation, and shouts like “We love you, Steve”. That was actually usual. But what was different was his energy levels and restricted stage movements. It is no secret that he’s suffering and this time he clearly looked thinner and gaunter. Sad.
Well, what’s my take on this year’s keynote? To begin with my predictions were right! This year’s show was about refreshing the 10-year old Mac OS with the sprit of recently evolved iOS; moving from local content to cloud content and making iOS devices standalone and self operated hardware by cutting the wire.
Lion: The King of the OS
First let me talk about the Mac OS X Lion. Although, previewed last October, this year’s official launch had enough evidence that showed a perfect marriage between the desktop version of the OS and mobile version of the OS. And, Lion isn’t just a mere upgrade like its predecessors (Leopard to Snow Leopard), but it comes with over 250 brand new features.
Schiller and Federighi demonstrated the top 10 features of Lion like Multitouch gestures, Fullscreen applications, Mission Control, The Mac App Store, LaunchPad, Resume, Auto Save, Versions(what is this??), AirDrop, and finally Mail. With such ammo in their kitty we know the company is openly firing shots at rivals Google and Microsoft.
According to Apple’s press release, Mission Control combines Exposé, full screen apps, Dashboard and Spaces into one unified experience for a bird’s eye view of every app and window running on your Mac. With a simple swipe, your desktop zooms out to display your open windows, grouped by app, thumbnails of your full screen apps and your Dashboard, and allows you to instantly navigate anywhere with a tap. Have you heard this somewhere before? Well, it’s a combination of the current iOS and recently announced Windows 8. Priced at $29.99 with a July 2011 release, OS X just got very competitive with Windows 8.
Lion will not only eat up Microsoft but will also take a swipe at Google’s domination of its cloud products. OS X’s e-mail client has got a full makeover in Lion, adding new features like three-column view, a conversation view, message previews in the message list, search suggestions, color-coded threads, and multiple flags. Now combine this new Mail with iCloud, the other major announcement at WWDC, and what you get is a mirror image of Google’s offering. And unlike the soon-to-be-defunct MobileMe, iCloud is au-gratis.
Another cool feature that I really liked is the Gestures. Yes, it’s already there in Snow Leopard. But Lion, hugely inspired by its younger sibling iOS, lets you interact directly with content on the screen in a more intuitive way to use your Mac. New gestures include momentum scrolling, tapping or pinching your fingers to zoom in on a web page or image, and swiping left or right to turn a page or switch between full screen apps. And trust me, when I saw the demo it felt like I was using an iPad instead of the trackpad.
According to me it feels like it’s Apple vs. World. But hang on. I haven’t said Apple has invented these features but none of these features have been bundled and offered so attractively by a Silicon Valley company before.
And significantly, this 4GB Lion bundle will only be available to download from the Mac App Store and not from the online, Apple Stores, AAD or APR.
- There are 54 million Mac users worldwide and counting
- PCs have shrank 1% and Macs have gone up 28%
- Almost 3/4ths of Mac sales today are notebooks
- Mac App Store beat out Best Buy, Walmart and Office Depot as top channel for buying PC software
- 3000 New APIs for Developers
Stay tuned for more on the WWDC coverage on Tech2.