Category: WWDC 2011

WWDC 2011 Keynote Available to Watch [U]

Steve Jobs explains iCloud during WWDC 2011 Keynote

Steve Jobs explains iCloud during WWDC 2011 Keynote

Apple has posted a stream of today’s WWDC keynote which saw Steve Jobs, Scott Forstall, Phil Schiller and Craig Federighi take the stage to show off iOS 5, iCloud and Mac OS X Lion.

Lots of information was presented during today’s keynote, here are the highlights:

[Update] The WWDC 2011 Keynote is now available to download via Apple’s Keynote podcast.

iOS 5 and iTunes 10.5 Betas Available, Lion Preview 4, iCloud Live

Mac OS X Lion Mission Control running on MacBook Air

Mac OS X Lion Mission Control running on MacBook Air | Image courtesy of Apple

Following today’s WWDC keynote where Apple discussed Mac OS X Lion, iOS 5 and iCloud the company has now released a slew of updates for registered developers. Apple has released the first beta of iOS 5, as well as iTunes 10.5. The fourth preview of Mac OS X Lion is also available. Registered developers can also enable iCloud for testing with their own apps.

Apple has also released Xcode 4.2 developer preview.

The first build of iOS 5 is available for iPhone 4 (GSM and CDMA), iPhone 3GS, iPad, iPad 2, iPod touch (3rd and 4th generation) and is labelled build 9A5220p. The beta of iOS is also accompanied by an update to iTunes which brings the extensive media software to version 10.5. iTunes 10.5 brings some minor graphical interface changes and of course adds support for iCloud, in this case Automatic Downloads of Music, Books and and Apps.

The features available in iOS 5 are covered in detail by World of Apple’s keynote coverage, over the coming days we’ll be offering a more detailed look at Apple’s brand new version of iOS.

Mac OS X Lion DP 4 is labelled build 11A480b and is available for registered Mac developers from the Developer Center. Apple today demoed many of the features we’ve already seen in Mac OS X Lion. With the release of the fourth developer preview iCloud will be the biggest changes. World of Apple will be looking in more detail at what has changed in developer preview 4 soon.

The big one for developers today is early access to iCloud. Such access will give developers time to build the services available into their apps. Apple has posted a detailed iCloud page just for developers which tells them what they need and how they get started with iCloud. Notably Apple has posted a beta of iPhoto which has Photo Stream built-in.

Finally Apple has released a beta of Safari 5.1 which includes a number of new APIs for developers, those that initially stick out are, “support for full-screen web content”, Extension Popovers API, and Extension Menus that can show a list of options from within the Safari UI.

Quick Look at iTunes in iCloud in iOS 4.3 [U]

Today Apple announced its brand new service iCloud, as part of iCloud both the iOS App Store and iTunes Store allow purchases of songs, videos and Apps to be downloaded to a new iOS device if they’ve been previously purchased on another device. Immediately following the keynote Apple pushed this out to both stores and is accessible from devices running iOS 4.3.

iCloud beta and Cloud Storage APIs are available immediately to iOS and Mac Developer Program members. iCloud will be available this fall concurrent with iOS 5. Users can sign up for iCloud for free on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch running iOS 5 or a Mac running Mac OS X Lion with a valid Apple ID. iCloud includes 5GB of free cloud storage for Mail, Document Storage and Backup. Purchased music, apps, books and Photo Stream do not count against the storage limit.

Here is a quick look at iCloud on both the App Store and iTunes Store.

Open the iTunes store on an iOS device running 4.3 and you’ll see a new “Purchased” button in the bottom bar. Clicking that button will show a full purchase history for the signed in Apple ID. A purchase history will be shown for all devices and what’s not on the current device.

Items not on the current device can be downloaded straight to the iOS device at no additional cost.

App Store iCloud on iOS 4.3

The same applies to Apps from the App Store. It is now possible to very quickly install Apps that have been purchased on another iOS device.

Here’s some shots from both stores on the iPad.

Apple Unveils iTunes in the Cloud

As part of Apple’s iCloud service announced today at WWDC the company also discussed iTunes in the cloud. iTunes in the cloud lets you download your previously purchased iTunes music to all your iOS devices at no additional cost, and new music purchases can be downloaded automatically to all your devices.

Apple also covered iTunes Match a feature which allows music not purchased from iTunes to be replaced with a 256 kbps AAC DRM-free version if we can match it to the over 18 million songs in the iTunes Store, it makes the matched music available in minutes (instead of weeks to upload your entire music library), and uploads only the small percentage of unmatched music.

iTunes Match will be available this fall for a $24.99 annual fee and will be a US only service.

Apple Announces Free iCloud Service

Steve Jobs announces iCloud at WWDC 2011

Steve Jobs announces iCloud at WWDC 2011 | Image courtesy of iLounge

During today’s WWDC keynote Steve Jobs announced iCloud, a brand new service from Apple. iCloud is a set of free new cloud services that work seamlessly with applications on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac or PC to automatically and wirelessly store your content in iCloud and automatically and wirelessly push it to all your devices.

“Today it is a real hassle and very frustrating to keep all your information and content up-to-date across all your devices,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “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.”

The formerly $99/year MobileMe services are now free. Contacts, Calendar and Mail—all completely re-architected and rewritten to work seamlessly with iCloud. Users can share calendars with friends and family, and the ad-free push Mail account is hosted at me.com. Your inbox and mailboxes are kept up-to-date across all your iOS devices and computers.

The App Store and iBookstore now download purchased iOS apps and books to all your devices, not just the device they were purchased on. In addition, the App Store and iBookstore now let you see your purchase history, and simply tapping the iCloud icon will download any apps and books to any iOS device at no additional cost.

iCloud Backup automatically and securely backs up your iOS devices to iCloud daily over Wi-Fi when you charge your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Backed up content includes purchased music, apps and books, Camera Roll (photos and videos), device settings and app data. If you replace your iOS device, just enter your Apple ID and password during setup and iCloud restores your new device.

Users get up to 5GB of free storage for their mail, documents and backup—which is more amazing since the storage for music, apps and books purchased from Apple, and the storage required by Photo Stream doesn’t count towards this 5GB total. Users will be able to buy even more storage, with details announced when iCloud ships this fall.

iCloud Storage seamlessly stores all documents created using iCloud Storage APIs, and automatically pushes them to all your devices. When you change a document on any device, iCloud automatically pushes the changes to all your devices. Apple’s Pages, Numbers and Keynote apps already take advantage of iCloud Storage.

Apple also announced Photo Stream which automatically ploads the photos you take or import on any of your devices and wirelessly pushes them to all your devices and computers. To save space, the last 1,000 photos are stored on each device so they can be viewed or moved to an album to save forever. Macs and PCs will store all photos from the Photo Stream, since they have more storage. iCloud will store each photo in the cloud for 30 days, which is plenty of time to connect your devices to iCloud and automatically download the latest photos from Photo Stream via Wi-Fi.

Cloud will be available this fall concurrent with iOS 5. Users can sign up for iCloud for free on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch running iOS 5 or a Mac running Mac OS X Lion with a valid Apple ID. iCloud includes 5GB of free cloud storage for Mail, Document Storage and Backup. Purchased music, apps, books and Photo Stream do not count against the storage limit.

iOS 5 Available This Fall With Over 200 New Features

iOS 5 unveiled at WWDC 2011

iOS 5 unveiled at WWDC 2011 | Image courtesy of Apple

Apple has today announced a brand new version of iOS for iPhones, iPads and iPod tocuhes. iOS 5 will be available as a free software update for iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2, iPad, iPod touch (fourth generation) and iPod touch (third generation) this fall. The iOS 5 beta software and SDK are available immediately for iOS Developer Program members.

New iOS 5 features include: Notification Center, an innovative way to easily view and manage notifications in one place without interruption; iMessage, a new messaging service that lets you easily send text messages, photos and videos between all iOS devices; and Newsstand, a new way to purchase and organise your newspaper and magazine subscriptions. With the new PC Free feature, iOS 5 users can activate and set up their iOS device right out of the box and get software updates over the air with no computer required.

“iOS 5 has some great new features, such as Notification Center, iMessage and Newsstand and we can’t wait to see what our developers do with its 1,500 new APIs,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Perhaps iOS 5’s paramount feature is that it’s built to seamlessly work with iCloud in the Post PC revolution that Apple is leading.”

With iOS 5 and iCloud, you just enter your Apple ID and password and iCloud will seamlessly integrate with your apps to automatically and wirelessly keep all of your mail, contacts, calendars, photos, apps, books, music and more, up-to-date across all your devices without ever having to connect to a computer.

Notification Center provides iOS 5 users with an innovative way to easily access all notifications―text messages, missed calls, calendar alerts, app alerts and more, all in one place, from anywhere in iOS 5. When they arrive, notifications appear briefly at the top of the screen without interrupting what you’re doing. With one swipe you can see all your notifications, and a simple tap will take you right to its app for more detail. Notifications also appear on the lock screen, with the ability to be taken to the notifying app with just one swipe.

iOS 5 Notification Center

iOS 5 Notification Center | Image courtesy of Apple

Newsstand is a beautiful, easy-to-organise bookshelf displaying the covers of all your newspaper and magazine subscriptions in one place. A new section of the App Store features just subscription titles, and allows users to quickly find the most popular newspapers and magazines in the world. If subscribed to, new issues appear in the Newsstand and are updated automatically in the background so you always have the latest issue and the most recent cover art.

Safari is the world’s most popular mobile browser, and with iOS 5 it’s now even better. New features include Safari Reader, which gets all the clutter out of the way and sets the right font size on a web page, so you can easily scroll and read through a story; Reading List, so you can save articles to read later and they automatically show up on all your iOS devices; and Tabbed Browsing, which makes it easy to flip between multiple web pages on iPad.

iOS 5 includes built-in Twitter integration, so you can sign in once and then tweet directly from all your Twitter-enabled apps, including Photos, Camera, Safari, YouTube and Maps with a single tap. New APIs give third party developers the ability to take advantage of the single sign-on capability for their own iOS 5 apps.

iMessage in iOS 5 brings the functionality of iPhone messaging to all of your iOS devices―iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Built right into the Messages app, iMessage allows you to easily send text messages, photos, videos or contact information to a person or a group on other iOS 5 devices over Wi-Fi or 3G. iMessages are automatically pushed to all your iOS 5 devices, making it easy to maintain one conversation across your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. iMessage also features delivery and read receipts, typing indication and secure end-to-end encryption.

iOS 5 running iMessage

iOS 5 running iMessage | Image courtesy of Apple

The new Reminders app helps you manage your tasks; create and group related tasks together; and set time or location-based reminder alerts, priorities and due dates, so you can be reminded of a task as its deadline approaches, or when you arrive or depart a given location. Reminders can also be viewed in iCal and Outlook and are updated automatically.

New features in the Camera and Photos apps give you instant access to the camera right from the lock screen, and you can use the volume-up button to quickly snap a photo. Optional grid lines help line up your shot and a simple tap locks focus and exposure on one subject. The new Photos app lets you crop, rotate, enhance and remove red-eye, and organise your photos into albums right on your device to share them on the go.

With the new PC Free feature, iOS 5 users can activate and set up their iOS device right out of the box with no computer required, and iOS software updates are delivered over the air and installed with just a tap. Wi-Fi Sync in iOS 5 transfers and backs up your content securely over SSL and wirelessly syncs purchased content from your device to your iTunes library.

Mac OS X Lion Coming to the Mac App Store in July

Mac OS X Lion Mission Control running on MacBook Air

Mac OS X Lion Mission Control running on MacBook Air | Image courtesy of Apple

Apple has today announced from the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco that its next major operating system Mac OS X Lion will be available in July exclusively via the Mac App Store for $29.99 (£20.99).

During the keynote Apple demoed just ten features of the 250 new features said to be Mac OS X Lion. Some of the amazing features in Lion include: new Multi-Touch gestures; system-wide support for full screen apps; Mission Control, an innovative view of everything running on your Mac; the Mac App Store, the best place to find and explore great software, built right into the OS; Launchpad, a new home for all your apps; and a completely redesigned Mail app.

“The Mac has outpaced the PC industry every quarter for five years running and with OS X Lion we plan to keep extending our lead,” said Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing. “The best version of OS X yet, 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.”

New Multi-Touch gestures and fluid animations built into Lion let you interact directly with content on the screen for 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. All Mac notebooks ship with Multi-Touch trackpads and desktop Macs can use Apple’s Magic Trackpad.

Full screen apps take advantage of the entire display and are perfect for reading email, surfing the web or browsing photos, especially on a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro. With a single click your app fills the display and you can swipe from one window to another, between full screen apps, or back to your Desktop, Dashboard or Spaces without ever leaving full screen. iWork and iLife apps, as well as Safari, iTunes, Mail, FaceTime and others, all take advantage of Lion’s system-wide support for full screen apps.

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.

Mac OS X Lion

Mac OS X Lion | Image courtesy of Apple

The Mac App Store is built into Lion and is the best place to discover great new Mac apps, buy them with your iTunes account, download and install them. Apps automatically install directly to Launchpad, and with Lion’s release, the Mac App Store will be able to deliver smaller “delta” app updates and new apps that can take advantage of features like In-App Purchase and Push Notifications.

Launchpad makes it easier than ever to find and launch any app. With a single Multi-Touch gesture, all your Mac apps are displayed in a stunning full screen layout. You can organise apps in any order or into folders and swipe through unlimited pages of apps to find the one you want.

Lion includes a completely redesigned Mail app with an elegant widescreen layout. The new Conversations feature groups related messages into an easily scrollable timeline, intelligently hiding repeated text so the conversation is easy to follow, and retaining graphics and attachments as they were originally sent. An incredibly powerful new search feature allows you to refine your search and suggests matches by person, subject and label as you type. Mail includes built-in support for Microsoft Exchange 2010.

Additional new features in Lion include:

  • Resume, which conveniently brings your apps back exactly how you left them when you restart your Mac or quit and relaunch an app;
  • Auto Save, which automatically and continuously saves your documents as you work;
  • Versions, which automatically records the history of your document as you create it, and gives you an easy way to browse, revert and even copy and paste from previous versions; and
  • AirDrop, which finds nearby Macs and automatically sets up a peer-to-peer wireless connection to make transferring files quick and easy.

Mac OS X Lion will be available in July as an upgrade to Mac OS X version 10.6 Snow Leopard from the Mac App Store for $29.99 (£20.99). Mac OS X Lion Server requires Lion and will be available in July from the Mac App Store.

Coverage of WWDC 2011

Developers line-up for the WWDC 2011 Keynote

Developers line-up for the WWDC 2011 Keynote

Good morning from San Francisco. At 10am Pacific time Apple CEO Steve Jobs will take to the stage at the Moscone West building to discuss Mac OS X, iCloud and iOS 5. For a complete look at what is expected at today’s keynote take a look at World of Apple’s rumour roundup as well as our special coverage of iCloud and iOS 5.

World of Apple will not be providing live coverage of the WWDC keynote but we will offer a full commentary of what Apple announces, we will also be updating our Twitter feed with photos and text updates. For live coverage please visit one of the following sites:

The keynote begins at the following times:

10:00AM – Pacific
11:00AM – Mountain
12:00PM – Central
01:00PM – Eastern
06:00PM – London
07:00PM – Paris
09:00PM – Moscow
02:00AM – Tokyo (Tuesday 7th)
04:00AM – Sydney (Tuesday 7th)

Join World of Apple after the keynote for a full roundup of news and analysis.

Rumour Roundup: WWDC 2011

Moscone West adorned with Apple logos for WWDC 2011

Moscone West adorned with Apple logos for WWDC 2011 | Photo: kiel

It’s that time in the Apple calendar again, the biggest event of the year is upon us and this years looks set to be one of the best for many years. Worldwide Developers Conference 2011 kicks off on Monday June 6 and will run through until Friday for the 5,000 developers in attendance. Held at the Moscone West building in San Francisco Apple has in the past used the stage for unveiling new iPhone hardware—but not this year.

2011 has been something of a special year for Apple so far, over the past couple of years it looked like the company had settled into a routine which went something like: iOS preview in March followed by iPhone hardware release in June and public release of iOS a week or so later. Other hardware had reasonably set release dates and iPod hardware was always refreshed in September—to be fair this will probably still be the case but likely overshadowed by iPhone hardware.

What we know about this years WWDC is that it’ll be primarily a software show, in fact if Apple’s press release is to be believed then it’ll be a completely hardware free zone. Apple is playing a PR game; due to the previous release cycle of the iPhone the general media and consumer are expecting new iPhone hardware but with this not happening until September at the earliest they’ll be left disappointed so Apple has been careful to outline exactly what it’ll use the stage at WWDC for.

In Apple’s press release the company said that it will discuss Mac OS X Lion, the next major iOS release and a new service called iCloud. That was the first time Apple has revealed the name of an unreleased product in a press release in the company’s history, some might say they’re desperate to calm expectations.

iOS 5

World of Apple has already written an extensive piece on the fifth major update to iOS as part of our Fast Forward series, here’s what to expect in iOS 5:

  • Totally overhauled notification system, removing intrusiveness and adding functionality.
  • A departure from the current look of iOS, exact details unknown.
  • Extensive integration with Apple’s iCloud. Whilst details are very slim expect streaming music from iTunes, over-the-air delivery of Apps and possibly their data. Same goes for contacts, calendars and bookmarks.
  • Ability to auto-download App updates.
  • Media streaming feature where media is synced to iCloud and propagated to devices sharing the same stream.
  • Twitter integrated at a system level with the ability to send photos and video straight to the third-party service. No word on Facebook but don’t be surprised if its in too.

Based on historic evidence, Apple will put iOS 5 into developer testing. The first build will presumably be in developers hands immediately after the keynote on Monday, Apple will test iOS 5 in the developer community until September when we’re expecting the next iPhone hardware refresh.

iCloud

Next up is Apple’s iCloud. World of Apple has also penned an exhaustive look at what iCloud could consist of as part of our Fast Forward series. As mentioned above this is the first time that a product name as been released ahead of it being unveiled and with little clue as to what it is. Whilst this is evidently a move by Apple’s PR team to try and deflect some attention away from a lack of iPhone hardware it looks like iCloud could be impressive enough to absorb the fall.

As described by many in the Apple rumour field iCloud is one of Apple’s best kept secrets in years but is the key to bringing Mac OS and iOS together. Here’s the lowdown on iCloud:

  • iTunes locker is a feature of iCloud but not the whole of iCloud.
  • iTunes locker will scan libraries for storage in the cloud so no uploading. New purchases will go to the locker rather than be downloaded to a particular library.
  • Music will be streamed from the cloud to iOS devices and iTunes.
  • iTunes locker will be free initially with a $25/year charge in the future.
  • MobileMe will be merged into iCloud and turn completely free, at least for those purchasing Mac OS X or an iOS device.
  • Apple will offer Dropbox like file storage and syncing, replacing iDisk.
  • Media streaming feature on iOS devices allowing instant sharing of photos and movies.

In addition to the scant information above about iCloud, Daring Fireball’s John Gruber has written a short piece on what he expects Apple to unveil during the WWDC keynote. Staring the post by saying, “The big picture regarding iOS 5 and iCloud […] is an utter mystery to me.” Gruber goes onto highlight that iCloud is not a music storage service, “Music storage is a feature of iCloud; iCloud is not a music service.”

The most revealing bit of information released by the often very accurate Gruber reads:

Don’t think of iCloud as the new MobileMe; think of iCloud as the new iTunes.

The point Gruber is making is that currently iTunes is a single point of contact for device syncing and storage, this will become iCloud. iOS devices will receive data and sync from iCloud, purchased media will go to iCloud rather than iTunes and will be accessible from all devices.

Mac OS X Lion

Apple’s next major update to Mac OS X feels somewhat overshadowed by all this talk of iCloud and iOS 5 but Apple is making it quite clear that all three products will interrelate with each other whilst not relying on each other. Apple’s aim is to create environments that interact seamlessly with each other.

There’s a lot we already know about Mac OS X Lion as it was first previewed by Apple in February this year alongside the release of the MacBook Air. At the time the new features were touted as:

  • a new version of Mail, with an elegant, widescreen layout inspired by the iPad; Conversations, which automatically groups related messages into one easy to read timeline; more powerful search; and support for Microsoft Exchange 2010;
  • AirDrop, a remarkably simple way to copy files wirelessly from one Mac to another with no setup;
  • Versions, which automatically saves successive versions of your document as you create it, and gives you an easy way to browse, edit and even revert to previous versions;
  • Resume, which conveniently brings your apps back exactly how you left them when you restart your Mac or quit and relaunch an app;
  • Auto Save, which automatically saves your documents as you work;
  • the all new FileVault, that provides high performance full disk encryption for local and external drives, and the ability to wipe data from your Mac instantaneously; and
  • Mac OS X Lion Server, which makes setting up a server easier than ever and adds support for managing Mac OS X Lion, iPhone, iPad and iPod touch devices.

Since the original preview Apple has been giving developers numerous builds for testing purposes, the builds show no significant changes and more importantly show no significant signs of iCloud integration.

Apple has promised a summer release for Mac OS X Lion giving them plenty of time to release a GM developer build with a release expected in mid to late July.

Hardware

Despite Apple’s attempts to convince otherwise, it does look like Apple will unveil some hardware at WWDC this year. But it won’t be a new iPhone. Key to Apple’s iCloud strategy appears to be hosting your own mini-cloud on hardware in your house.

Rumours have this week consistently pointed to a major refresh of Apple’s Time Capsule router/hard drive. According to sources Apple’s Time Capsule will act as the cloud with data saved being backed up immediately to the Time Capsule and then accessible from iOS devices and other Macs. This description is offered from a Cult of Mac article:

Our source didn’t have any information about the hardware, but detailed how the Home Folder access system works. Files saved on your computer are backed up instantly to Time Capsule, which makes them available to remote Macs and iOS devices.

If you make any changes on any computer, those changes are updated through iCloud and stored on your Time Capsule. The Time Capsule archives and serves up your files even when your computers are off. When you get home and fire up your desktop computer or laptop, the files are automatically synced across your devices.

This service will also allow you to upload photos and videos from your iPhone or iPad to your Time Capsule. The media will be stored on the device and be made available for other devices to sync. iCloud is the “conduit” through which everything moves, the source said.

“Your computer gets backed up to Time Capsule anyways,” said the source. “Now it’ll serve up your content when you want it, where you want it, right there on your iOS device.”

This of course does not cover Apple’s iTunes in the cloud service that will presumably actually operate from the cloud and not local storage.

WWDC 2011 Coverage

On Monday, June 6 Apple will kick off its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. WWDC 2011 will run from June 6-10 and the opening keynote will be hosted by Apple CEO Steve Jobs. The company has already outlined that it will discuss iOS 5, iCloud and Mac OS X Lion. World of Apple will provide full coverage from San Francisco during WWDC 2011.

The keynote will begin at the following times on Monday, June 6:

10:00AM – Pacific
11:00AM – Mountain
12:00PM – Central
01:00PM – Eastern
06:00PM – London
07:00PM – Paris
09:00PM – Moscow
02:00AM – Tokyo (Tuesday 7th)
04:00AM – Sydney (Tuesday 7th)

Fast Forward: iOS

Moscone West adorned with Apple logos for WWDC 2011

Moscone West adorned with Apple logos for WWDC 2011 | Photo: kiel

iOS is arguably Apple’s most important asset, with the operating system running on iPhones, iPads, iPod touches and although not commonly known Apple TVs it is now operating on well over 100 million devices and that number is growing by tens of millions every quarter.

Such success puts Apple in a precarious position when it comes to moving forward. The problem has afflicted Apple before many a time, most recently with the switch from PowerPC to Intel processors. Changes that affect both developers and cause inconvenience to the consumer are sometimes necessary but very difficult to overcome.

At the Worldwide developers conference that kicks off on Monday Apple is going to show off the fifth major version of iOS. It is heavily rumoured and well known within certain circles that iOS 5 will be the biggest departure since the original launch of iOS in 2007. Not only in terms of functionality but also appearance.

iOS 5 much like the upcoming iCloud service is one of Apple’s best kept secrets, with mere hours to go before Steve Jobs gets up on stage not a single screen shot or solid description of how certain functionality will work has been leaked.

Notifications

Since Apple’s introduction of push notifications the system has quickly outgrown itself, it is a common peeve of most iOS users that notifications are intrusive, easy to miss and not very functional. With the growing popularity of Android and WebOS the idea of a better notification system is evidently a major priority for Apple.

Simply put, whatever Apple plans to do with notifications in iOS 5 hasn’t been made privy to anyone in the Apple rumour world.

A recent rumour from TechCrunch came as close as I’ve seen anyone come but simply stated that the system would be “completely revamped”.

Apple has of course been at a similar juncture before, the problem of notifications in iOS is not new to 2011, it was a problem in iOS 3 and wasn’t changed at all in the switch to iOS 4 in early-2010. For a long time iOS lacked copy and paste and then in iOS 3 in 2009 the feature arrived with Apple admitting that feature took them a long time to vision and create.

Expect a similar move from Apple with notifications, they’ve evidently been working on it for a while.

iCloud

Signage straight out of WWDC already tells us that iOS 5 will be a major part of Apple’s iCloud initiative with the service presumably being integrated at the system level.

As discussed in World of Apple’s extensive overview of iCloud the exact details of such iOS 5 integration are only known in scant pieces of information.

We do know that Apple looks likely to create media streams, where the data stored on an iOS device is synced back to the cloud which is then pushed out to other devices sharing the same stream.

Apple could go further in its iCloud integration and make the switch to a new iOS device less painful by removing the requirement to sync to iTunes. Whilst this would require a new method of updating the iOS and validating it we are already used to the joys of the cloud helping move data between devices. MobileMe is a great example on iOS of how I can get all my contacts, email, calendars and bookmarks within minutes of buying a new iPhone or iPad.

Such syncing extended across app data and the Apps themselves as well as photos and movies would make iOS devices truly internet connected devices.

Also revealed accidentally by Apple is a feature that looks set to arrive in iOS 5 that will allow automatic downloading of iOS updates. Another signal of the departure from iTunes based app updating.

iTunes

It remains debatable whether the heavily rumoured ‘iTunes locker’ feature is part of iCloud or not. What we do know is that iOS devices are where music is important and where the challenges lie with streaming of music. As pointed out by Steve Jobs himself numerous times, the iPhone is Apple’s greatest iPod but a fully streaming from the cloud music service would be largely redundant on iPhones with capped data services or in an area with no signal.

Assuming Apple’s iTunes in the cloud product is as expected and will consist of entire music libraries in the cloud for streaming then the option to have them available for offline listening will be necessary. Whether these options are still defined through iTunes or on the device itself is not known but if purchasing a song from iTunes sends it straight to the ‘locker’ then it won’t be in the iTunes library for syncing to the iOS device.

Third party integration

The rumours have been strong and consistent but not entirely clear. The word is that Apple will build Twitter into iOS 5, not as a client but at a system level. The way to imagine this is to look at how YouTube is currently built into iOS. YouTube doesn’t just exist as an app to view videos and by extension viewing embedded videos on websites but also exists as an option to send video to YouTube.

This is how Twitter will work in iOS 5, the ability to send photos, movies and Tweet bits of text from within the system itself.

But such closely integrated Twitter integration raises the point why Facebook won’t also be embedded into the system at such a level, it’s proven by most other smartphone operating systems that Facebook integration is functional and handy. The amount of data Facebook holds about contacts makes this a far more natural move but it doesn’t look like it’s on the cards.

Conclusion

So it’s evident, knowledge of iOS 5 is slim. The rumours have been vague and the big stuff is obviously well under wraps. What we do know is that the fifth major version of iOS will be a significant leap and will solidify the relationship between the Mac and iOS whilst moving away from a reliance on iTunes to sync.

Integration with Apple’s iCloud will break iOS devices away from their cables and allow data to be accessed and moved between devices seamlessly, often without the users intervention.

Notifications and the flow of iOS will be overhauled, making notifications less intrusive and more functional. Whilst it would be a stretch to believe that Apple will allow notifications to be actioned whilst another app is running—such as replying to a text whilst in Safari—it is possible Apple will add more functionality than is already available.

WWDC 2011 Coverage

On Monday, June 6 Apple will kick off its annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. WWDC 2011 will run from June 6-10 and the opening keynote will be hosted by Apple CEO Steve Jobs. The company has already outlined that it will discuss iOS 5, iCloud and Mac OS X Lion. World of Apple will provide full coverage from San Francisco during WWDC 2011.

The keynote will begin at the following times on Monday, June 6:

10:00AM – Pacific
11:00AM – Mountain
12:00PM – Central
01:00PM – Eastern
06:00PM – London
07:00PM – Paris
09:00PM – Moscow
02:00AM – Tokyo (Tuesday 7th)
04:00AM – Sydney (Tuesday 7th)