After cooling down for a week, it’s fitting to do a little reflection on what was revealed and what was not. I’m not going to go in-depth about any particular features and obviously this is not full coverage, everyone’s done a better job at that than I would.
First revealed last October, it has changed very little from what we saw back then. There are a couple of half baked backed features. For example, Full screen apps? It’s incredibly revolutionary. No, I’ve talked about this before and it’s always bothered me that the dock would always be present on the screen and windows could not go below the dock. Another example is Launchpad. For some people, that will be better for people who can’t remember what apps they have on their system, but I think Spotlight really works wonders for users like me – that know what they are doing.
On to features I do like. Mission Control is a clever. It thumbnail previews different desktops and exposés the rest of the on-screen windows. I wonder if the spaces keyboard shortcuts will remain the same. If anything that I miss in Windows that a Mac has, it must be true control with a mouse. There is true momentum based scrolling system wide. I can emulate the effect with my mouse with its hyperscrolling, but it is not even in the same ballpark. Switching full screen apps is well done, just full swipes left or right, mission control call up is nice with just a three finger swipe. The back and forward controls are obvious and should have been implemented years ago. But it’s good it’s there now. With the lack of ever-present scroll bars, will Safari reflow the page if the content expands below the fold?
AirDrop is only useful if you have friends with Macs. And I don’t have friends with Macs and nor do I even have my own Mac. If you use Gmail, why would you use Mail? I’ll never know. iOS-auto-correction is definitely a feature I’d love to have on Windows.
But you know what the biggest deal is? You can now resize windows from any edge or corner. That’s right. What has been present on every other OS in the world for the last ten years now comes to OSX and it is the most basic yet most useful of all features.
First a rant on silly tent-poles. Newsstand. The way the chose to write the name grates my eyes alone. It should be two words, it should just be News Stand and that would be fine. Do people seriously read magazines on the iPad? Why don’t people feel bad that they can no longer give their used physical magazines? I’m getting old, I guess.
Reminders. Why bother now? Did Apple see such an intensely competitive reminder app market last month and decide to make one? There is no better reminder than having less to do – short of emailing it to yourself.
Camera? I think all of those features should have been there from the beginning, especially pinch/tap to zoom since those are system wide and obvious to everyone.
Okay, now let’s return to those things in which I like.
Notification Center is a welcome addition to the iOS platform. Compared to my Android 2.2 notification drawer, it’s spectacular. Why? Well, for instance, it’s sorted by apps, emails short up individually, messages short up in full, and it looks better than just a fake metal sheet – this has a lovely faded black denim texture. Going further – on the lockscreen, I get nothing on Android. With the ability to see everything that has happened and then to go on and directly launch into whatever needs my attention, well, that’s great. The little turning unobtrusive block animation is a nice way to do it too. But I do have one gripe: the not-full-screen view on the iPad and the classically centered notifications on the lockscreen on the iPad. I guess the iPad was never meant to have notifications.
Those Safari improvements are great. I use Springpad to keep track of articles I still need to read but with Reading List, maybe I wouldn’t have to use that. I feel like my iPod was fast enough to deal with any page content but my Android isn’t, so Reader would be better on my phone. Browsing speed is tricky to deal with. Tabbed browsing exclusively on the iPad is a sad choice, because it would be wonderful to have every where – clicking to get to other tabs is slow and painful.
Wifi Sync. You must connect the device to a power source in order for it to sync and obviously the computer in question must be on and connected to wifi.
Those other features? Like Twitter? Well, I’ve had a good time with Twitterrific and I don’t know if I needed more. Multitasking gestures is again iPad 2 exclusive, mirroring is iPad 2 exclusive and so much more is exclusive! Fine, whatever.
I suspect more iPhone and iPod exclusive features when the hardware is announced.
First, iCloud is free and I can get a @me.com email address for free which is a really good idea. I should get on that.
So iTunes in the Cloud will let you download any thing you buy from the store on up to ten authorized devices. Still, they must be authorized. Aside from the lockdown, nobody will really call it iTunes in the Cloud. Why is purchase history just coming now? iTunes Match seem like there is a lot of opportunity for some fraud.
Photo Stream is nice but it’s not really a serious feature. I did take over a 1000 pictures in February and I know how annoying it was to sync those back to my computer. But I only had to do it once so it wasn’t so bad.
Documents in the Cloud, when it allows third-party apps on both Windows and OSX to utilize the sharing, it will be fantastic. If it ends up that only Macs can be party to the syncing, then, it will leave out so many people. Or it will entice them to get Macs. I wonder.
Apps, Books and Settings should have always backed up. I recently got a new Android phone and when I did, I had to replace all my old apps by hand yet again. It’s great that App data is indeed backed up. It’s not synced but it is backed up. That’s a good start.
John Gruber was saying that the Keynote was a little strange. The demos for OSX and iOS couldn’t show anything that involved iCloud. iCloud isn’t something that you really show off. It’s one of those features that you learn about once at the Apple Store and promptly forget that it’s there, but you use the service all the time subtly in the background.
How was the keynote? It was good. Steve was looking pretty poor and he only did a single segment. There was no hardware and my own personal plans have been foiled yet again: no new Macbook Air. There were no iPhones in sight and now with the looming iPhone announcement in the fall, where will the iPod announcement be? So let’s look forward to September 1st!
Have a good one.