Monday, June 6, 2011

OSX Lion, iCloud and iOS 5 and what they means to us as users and developers

Crosspost of

Today Apple held its 2011 Keynote and they talked about the stuff we expected them to talk due to all the rumors and leaks but unveiled many new things.

OSX 10.7 - Lion

Yes its that time again where a new wild kitty cat is approaching us from behind again, this time in form of a Lion

Where I think Apple did the right decision

  1. Lion Pricing and Licensing: The once $30 upgrade price tag for all your machines will definitely make Microsoft pretty unhappy as that puts some serious pressure on them to rework the licensing model for Windows again for Windows 8 as the $150 upgrade per machine and stuff like that don't work out in their favor anymore as the price difference from OSX to Win machines is shrinking more and more on the "mainstream boxes".
  2. Pause and Resume: The application and even OS level pause and resume capability sound like a great way to preserve battery time to a level where the previously not working "deep sleep" aka hibernate (OSX never seems to really hibernate, neither did it on my 2008 MBP nor on my 2011 MBP) was seriously missing. Finally the users are no longer punished for using their macbooks as advertised with "just close the lid and ..."
  3. The new Timeline and "smart backup": This is a thing I've hoped for for a long time as there just isn't enough data storage on earth to compensate for the totally inefficient way TimeMachine on 10.6 works. As a large time windows user with Acronis installed, I know the benefits of delta / incremental backups just too well and I'm really looking forward to the gains on that end on the backup end but also the storage saving end.
  4. Auto Sync: This looks like a very powerfull and usefull feature that many of us Dropboxers have known for quite some time in a similar form already. It will be interesting to see what other applications beside their own are going to make use of it though as I still don't feel like using my iPad and iPad2 for Office software work so their "primary use" shown doesn't really add anything for me. 

Where I think Apple went the wrong way

  1. What we saw so far on Lion looks great, but I'm a bit worried that Apple might come around a major "break applications" round again soon to enforce their "new cool stuff". Also I dislike that they are making OSX a dummwitt OS that tries to remove any complicated aspect to allow any 1 cell organism to user their machines. I've nothing against offering the option to use it in "1 cell organism" if you want, but for me it also has to offer the really productive stuff. Luckily I'm not alone on this at least at the time, cause at least Mail will keep its really productive surface as an alternative one (at least by whats the state right now), but I'm still worried that this might not remain like this. Perhaps Apple should introduce a 2nd desktop OS or alternatively another user type for the users you create: "iOS User Profile", where it behaves like an annoying, timewasting candy toy box, just like iOS.

iOS 5

Where I think Apple did the right decision

  1. I'm sure nobody will disagree that the notification system on iOS was the by far worst in the field and the fact that even Cydia offered a better one made it just to obvious even to the blind eyes of Apple so they got the corresponding dev to revamp the official pile of trash. I'm looking forward to using it and see how it stacks up against my Android 2.3.3 TouchWiz 4.0 on my Samsung GT-I9100
  2. I'm just as sure that nobody will disagree that 120CHF ($165 USD) per year was a total rip off for calendar and contact syncing and its great to see that Apple finally realized this as well, just some years after all of their competitors.
  3. The App data syncing through iCloud is great news to me as a gamer and game developer as it means that now even games that don't use cloud game saves finally transfer their game saves over to our other devices. This is a thing I wanted since the first games when I got my second iOS device as its just a major pain to take more than 1 device with you just due to the game saves. (yes as a dev you happen to have more than one, I know thats geeky for all others :))
  4. OTA, Remote Activation & Delta Patches: Finally you can activate your device without a computer and you can update it without a computer. Out of my view, this was long overdue as the 250mb bombs you had to download to your pc or mac, the hours to backup and upgrade etc just were not acceptable anymore in 2011. So I welcome this motion

Where I think Apple went the wrong way

  1. iMessage: While it sounds great in theory, I really fail to see why they needed to create something proprietary to their platform again thats basically a WhatsApp clone instead of grabbing WhatsApp and building upon it and its existing eco system. They are fragmenting the mobile world again as they did in the first 2 years of iOS where their OS was that stone age and crap that it didn't even support 1995 technologies like MMS. Apple really has a skewed view on end user needs and their own "what we need to dominate the world" needs and in this case I think they definitely did a bad decision. FaceTime should have been enough of proprietary trash if one askes me, as I don't know a single iOS user that uses it and I doubt many of you do.

Where Apple still fails to cover basic needs

  1. Apple still thinks that its iOS users are dumb like straw. Thats at least the conclusion I draw from the fact that a simple dropdown or task bar icon outlet to enable and disable WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS and Syncing is still not present even in the 5th iteration of iOS, although Google needed mere 2 iterations for get there with Android. Thats just such a large difference for me, I hate nothing more than wasting eternities in settings menues and "7 view deeps" nesting for simple and pretty often used day to day tasks.
  2. They still refuse to accept basic standards (DLNA) to force their own proprietary, protected and licensed standard AirPlay. Its 2011 and Apple finally needs to be law forced to act according their near market dominance - they have to support standards in the field, independent on if they want or not, thats just basic responsibility.

Naturally there is much more to iOS5, Lion and iCloud than just that.
This is just the first blog on the matter and I will dive into the three topics in dedicated entries in the future once the things are settled more or as aspects become "legally known" so its allowed to talk about them.

A final word of displeasure

All thats all "light" and great, I'm forced to also talk about Apples more and more emerging "we are god, we can steal other standards and innovations but you aren't allowed to use standards we defined with our market dominance" attitude, which is an upgrade from their previous "we are god, what we do is good" attitude they patent enforced in the past, which they try to use to stall all competitors innovation.
Just mere weeks after starting a court case against Samsung for "stealing design and technology innovation" and a year after trying similar crap against HTC, they have the nerve to present iOS5 which is a blatant ripp off of what Android has been in general since 2.0 and additionally going around and stealing HTCs newest innovations on HTC Sense 3.0 on the not even released HTC Sensation.
I think the guys at Cuppertino definitely need to get their head straight and learn how patents, innovation and "standards" work, they still life in the dream world where they are a minor minority with 2% marketshare and try to protect themself as back then while at the same time claiming to have a 44% mobile OS share with iOS and being #1 on the digital music market, which makes them a defacto "standard defining entity", which means that stuff that works for them is something they are no longer in the position to "protect against bigger opponents" as there are no bigger single entities anymore. But as I see it, the US government is well enough payable to not make this happen unless HP, IBM, Google and Microsoft join forces and break Apples neck a bit at a devastating court case, so they learn their position and the responsibility and rights they have as they are, for my liking, bending the existing law a bit too much with their billion dollar force.

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