Apple’s iPhone 4S, iCloud, iOS 5, and Various Other Numbers and Letters

(Reprinted from my Library Blog)

Apple had a big To Do over in California today to announce a heap of different things. As Apple is wont to do, it went on for quite a long time, and while some significant new pieces of hardware and info were introduced, the proceedings were much like an American Idol results show: lots of hype for 5 minutes of actual information. But I followed it so that you don’t have to. Aren’t I nice?

The highlights?

  • iOS 5 will be released a week from today. This lets enhances iPads and iPhones will all sorts of features, including the ability to sync your device without hooking it up to a computer. (Nice.) There are also camera enhancements, message tweaks, Twitter integrations–just a lot of nice extras. And it’s free–always a plus.
  • iCloud–Apple’s free(!) online storage space for iOS users. Your photos, documents, apps, music–all available anywhere you have an internet connection. For an additional small fee, you can access all your music, not just the stuff you downloaded from Apple. ($25/year–available by the end of October in the US.) This has the potential to be a real game changer. 5GB free, more for extra fee.
  • Find My Friends–A new feature that lets you broadcast your location out to people you’ve approved to be able to view it. Now all your stalkers can find you that much more easily. Thanks, Apple!
  • A new iPod Nano–Complete with updates and new features, like the ability to track steps and fitness right out of the box. Available today.
  • New iPod Touch–Now available in white. (Seriously–what’s up with the obsession with white?)
  • iPhone 4S–Up to seven times as fast, longer battery life, iOS 5 and iCloud compatible. GSM and CDMA (meaning you can use it internationally, as well). Better phone (8MP, better light sensor). 1080p video recording. $200 for a 16GB phone. Launches in 10 days.
  • Siri–The ability on an iPhone to use voice recognition with natural language. Seems like it could be pretty cool, though I’ll have to see it in action before I decide for sure. Voice recognition has been spotty in the past. I’ll admit this looks like it has a lot of potential, however. Set up appointments, reply to messages, look up information–all hands free. But demos can look awesome and fizzle in practice. Just sayin’ . . . Full voice dictation also available with this.
  • Vanilla iPhone 4 is now $100. iPhone 3GS is now free (with contract).

The impact of all this? Apple continues its domination in the world of mobile computing. More and more, whatever Apple does or doesn’t do makes a huge impact on what the world does or doesn’t do. I don’t mean to overstate my case here, but when you look at sheer numbers and trends in technology, much of what goes on these days really comes back to Apple, whether as a response to Apple or a move by Apple itself. That’s a lot of influence for one company to have.

Then again, in today’s world of technology, the company that’s on top of the pack one moment quickly finds itself slipping down. But for now, at least, Apple seems to be doing what it needs to to stay at the top.


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