WWDC this year was a bust in terms of hardware announcements. It was just a little disappointing that the iPhone 4S/iPhone 5 or whatever Apple intends to call it at launch, didn't even peek out from behind the veiled curtain. That being said, no one in the industry can actually contest the fact that Apple has already delivered on the hardware front with the iPhone 4 (even if it is a year old) and the iPad 2 so the announcement of the coming of iOS 5 was nevertheless quite exciting.
I may be an Android user and now quite a fan of the Galaxy S II, but that doesn't stop me from wanting the iPhone 4 and now more so knowing what iOS 5 will bring to the table. If only it were better priced though. The device has always been great from a hardware perspective but limiting where software was concerned. The last update, although relevant for iPhone users, was apparently just the tip of the iceberg. What I always disliked about Apple's marketing 'schemes' was the fact that they would release updates for devices in itty bitty quantities. A 'tease' would be a better term actually. But like all of you who've been reading up about iOS 5 and following the thread here and on other sites, it's highly unlikely you weren't impressed.
Sure some of the ideas have been around for a long time like a drop down menu (Google must be seething right now) or iMessage that probably has BBM cringing in a dark corner calling out to its mommy. While both options from their individual designers have always made a bold enough statement, the fact is, Apple will somehow manage to make even these obvious copies, look and feel much better. They’re all about the user experience and while I'll always argue about Android's versatility being far greater than iOS', I will admit, one does tend to enjoy the latter OS' functionality, as rigid as it is, to quite an extent. I will however, still have high hopes for Windows Phone 7 to rise out of its depths and make a lasting impression on the mobile community.
New additions and then some
Every one of the new additions to the operating system bring about a sense of completion making iOS now on par with the already brilliant hardware. This is especially a good time to be an iOS user seeing as how Android Honeycomb is not doing too well in its own space, WP7 is still a work in progress and Symbian seems to be on its way out the door. The big question is – are all of the new updates, even the 10 highlighted at WWDC, good enough to make you switch or are the likes of the Galaxy S II, Xperia Arc and Incredible S enough to keep you fastened solidly to the little green robot? It's a tough choice but I'm betting there's a very very large number of us who are already considering a switch.
So what does Apple have in store for us? Well we know that the few additions Scott Forstall, senior vice president of iOS Software at Apple Inc spoke of at WWDC 2011 – improved browsing on Safari, iMessage (just another way for iOS users to stay a little more 'elite') Notification Center, deeper Twitter integration for those with something to say, and Newstand for the avid reader are just a few of the 250 new features that will come with iO 5.
Apple has even managed to beef up their camera functionality with new features like Gridlines. What I consider to be one of the more significant features to the update is the ability to now activate devices without the painful procedure of connecting to iTunes. It's even better now knowing that you can get OTA updates. So long iTunes, Apple's finally realised that it you were holding us back… a bit. A PC sync app is always handy but I hate being totally tied into one.
Still, keep in mind, WP7's Mango update also has quite a few relevant features that are already making the mobile community sit up and take notice. With additions like FB chat, Sky Drive sharing and better Xbox Live integration amongst others, WP7, just like iOS is slowly but surely working its way into the light. Once again Microsoft, following in Apple's footsteps have tied the OS with their Zune bind and will have to open it up if they're going to want to stay in the game.
Unless Android can deliver some seriously hardcore functionality and an all new heightened user experience with the next update, Apple's lead in the market is going to grow exponentially.
The battle for mobile OS dominance just went up a few notches. Apple has raised the stakes and the others had better shape up or ship out.