Apple’s hardware and software releases have become global news events, something even non-techies know about. Practically everyone that is any bit informed about the phone industry at all knows Apple unveiled the iPhone 5 this week, enough so that its already sold out in preorders. Yet it’s a slightly unknown fact that Apple makes some very nice web apps for iCloud, ones that bring many of its well known native apps to any browser.
This past week, right along with unveiling new hardware and iOS software, Apple also upgraded its iCloud web apps. They’ve now finally dropped their beta tag, and gained the new Notes and Reminders apps that have become standard parts of iOS and OS X. Let’s take a look.
In my last post, I wrote about how you can use the internet for TV and cut cable if you really wanted to. To be perfectly honest, it was a post that I had been wanting to write for a really long time, but I felt that I had to wait for the right time. The reason being is that if I were to write that post when I first started the experiement almost two years ago, it would have been very different that it is now. When it comes to options for watching TV online, the difference between now and then is like night and day. The TV industry is starting to recognize that the web has become a viable player in all of this and that they’d better get on board.
Using the internet for TV doesn’t mean you have to watch TV on your computer only, though. There’s many different devices that promise to bring internet video to your TV, but two stand out from the others: the Apple TV, and the Roku line up of streaming devices. The reason why I chose to go with these two is because they are head and shoulders ahead in this area, and as we look forward will probably be the two main competitors for this space. If you are anything like me, you want to get the one that will give you the most bang for your buck. Hopefully, I am able to provide you with enough information that you can make an informed decision about which one is right for you.
Ever since we heard about iCloud from Steve Jobs’ last WWDC presentation, we’ve been excited for the potential of the new service from Apple. It promised to make it so simple to keep documents, pictures, email, contacts, calendar, tasks, and more synced between your devices, you’d never have to worry about it again. Then, once we got a sneak peak at the web apps, it was even more apparent that iCloud was a huge web app initiative for Apple.
Fast forward to today, and iCloud is now in the wild, ready for anyone with an iOS 5 or OS X Lion device to signup for free. That’s the most interesting twist, though: iCloud is free, but you have to have an Apple device from the past 3 years with the latest software updates to signup for an iCloud account. Alternately, if you already had a MobileMe account, it can be converted to a new iCloud account. Once you’re signed up, you can get a free @me.com email address, and take advantage of Apple’s beautiful mail, calendar, and contacts web apps. Plus, you can keep data synced from compatible apps.
So, have you gotten your iCloud account yet? If so, we’d love to hear what you think of it. If not, what are you waiting for? Do you plan to get an iCloud account in the near future?
Steve Jobs is perhaps best known for the groundbreaking, market-leading products he has introduced under his reign as Apple CEO. He and his team created products that have literally revolutionised industries, or even nearly created new markets for tablets and media players, and that’s what the general public recognise his work for. However, his time at Apple also contributed heavily to the development of the web, including some of the very web apps we used every day.
If you read this blog, you’re likely to have heard of Steve Jobs’ war on Flash and his notorious exclusion of the software on Apple’s mobile devices. Apple’s popularity has allowed them to have a massive influence on what technologies we use on the web, and if your an iPad or iPhone user, you won’t be using Flash because Jobs said no.
Today, the world is waking to the news that Apple’s dynamic leader, Steve Jobs, is stepping down from his position as CEO of one of the greatest companies in the world. Nearly 15 years after returning to Apple, and 11 years after becoming CEO again, Jobs is leaving Apple as one of the strongest companies in the world today. Few tech products, from Apple or its competitors, have not had some influence from Jobs’ work, and its tough to imagine many of the advances we’ve seen in the past decade without his leadership.
More than ever before, the past few years have cemented Apple’s position in computing, and native apps on OS X and iOS have been the main focus of tech writing for years now. But interestingly, in the years since Jobs returned to Apple, he has focused on web technologies, too. Let’s take a look at Steve Jobs and Apple’s legacy on web apps, and what developers today can learn from his influence over the years.
Apple just recently opened the floodgates to their new iCloud web apps, and in short, they’re easily some of the most impressive web apps online today. There was initially some speculation as to whether Apple was going to continue the tradition of MobileMe’s web apps and let you use iCloud online, or if they were going to only make iCloud work with OS X Lion and iOS 5 apps. The good thing is, there are iCloud web apps for sure, and they’re great. Unfortunately, they’re not quite ready for public consumption.
Dying to see what the new apps are going to look like, assuming nothing changed between now and when they’re fully released? If you’ve got an iCloud developer account, head over to iCloud.com, login, and check them out for yourself. We’ll wait. For everyone else, here’s a quick preview of what you can expect when
Look back six years ago, to the year 2005, and the Web is a different place. The Browser Wars are still raging, and while Netscape is putting up a valiant fight, Microsoft and Internet Explorer are looking more and more invincible. It looks like the Web will fall to the evil Empire, and there’s little that anyone can do to stop it.
And then, on June 7, 2005, Bertrand Serlet stepped onto the stage at WWDC and announced something no one really saw coming — the soul of Apple’s little upstart browser, Safari, was being open sourced. And it was called WebKit. Apple was once again trying to give Microsoft a run for their money, and they were going about it in a totally different way then anyone would’ve expected.
Think about it for a second. Apple is a notoriously secretive company. Why would they want to oversee an open source software project? To answer that question — and to properly judge how successful this open source endeavor has been — we have to take a look back at WebKit’s roots. But I’d also be remiss if I didn’t touch on what WebKit is becoming today, and where it could be heading tomorrow. Knowledge of the past is important, because it helps us understand the present — and to better prepare for the future.
Last week at Apple’s annual WWDC, Steve Jobs took the stage during the keynote address to unveil Apple’s latest product: iCloud. The successor of .Mac and MobileMe, iCloud was pitched as the unifier between Apple’s disparate computing devices: iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and Macs. With it, your data would be accessible anytime, no matter which of your devices you’re using.
After giving an initial description of the service, Jobs went on to describe the his views on files and the cloud around 82 minutes into the keynote:
Now some people think the cloud is just a hard disk in the sky, right? And you take a bunch of stuff, and you put it in your Dropbox or your iDisk or whatever, and it transfers it up to the cloud and stores it. Then you drag whatever you want back out and store it on your devices.
We think it’s way more than that, and we call it iCloud.
~ Steve Jobs, June 6, 2011
For the most part, Apple is know for beautiful hardware and intricately designed software that work great together. The missing part of the Mac and iOS device equation, for the most part, has been web apps and services. Even though Apple has had online services with .Mac and MobileMe for years, they’ve never had a solid online approach to tie together their devices and services.
The iPhone was introduced in 2007 without the ability to run native apps. Instead, Apple encouraged developers to create mobile web apps for their new phone. Once native apps were released, developers turned mainly to non-Apple web services such as Dropbox and Google Apps to synchronize data and more. Apple’s $99/year MobileMe was largely seen as a failure, and few of us used it.
That’s all changed now, with Apple’s renewed focus on the cloud with iCloud. This upcoming service will give free access to MobileMe’s Mail, Calendar, and Contacts, sync your iOS devices through the cloud, and let you backup your iTunes music online so you’ll never lose it. It’s shaping up to be one of the more important services for iOS and Mac users, and will even be useful to PC users who want to re-download their purchased songs from iTunes.
So, what are your thoughts about iCloud? Are you excited about using it, or do you plan to continue using other services to keep you life in sync. Does Apple stand a chance in the cloud computing world? Will Apple be the first to bring Microsoft’s dream of “three screens and a cloud” to reality? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the poll and comments below.
Apple took the stage at San Francisco’s Moscone West for their opening keynote at WWDC this afternoon, announcing (or rather, reasoning in the first case) Mac OS X Lion, iOS 5 and their new service, iCloud.
iCloud is the successor to MobileMe, Apple’s previous set of web apps that synced directly with other devices, whether they be powered by Mac OS X, Windows or iOS. However, iCloud builds on those, providing a much more refined syncing environment for your devices in terms of both data and media. (more…)