Apple, iOS5 and the Holy Grail for Users

by Joel Friedlander on June 7, 2011 · 5 comments

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Today Apple unleashed a host of new products and features that will certainly move the bar in mobile computing, cloud functionality and the complete integration of social media into the operating system.

Yes, in the next incarnation of Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS5, Twitter has been built right in so you can Tweet directly from most of the native apps from Apple like Camera, Photos, Maps and Contacts.

It almost seems like the next step will be to include a Twitter account with your data plan. This is a huge vote in favor of Twitter as the least-encumbered of all social media. Twitter has always seemed to me more like a utility than a software service, like the electricity or gas lines.

I was drawn to Twitter right at the beginning of my social media engagement, and have been on the service almost every day since, so I’m really looking forward to this innovation.


iCloud is the extension of the service Apple has been building up for years, going back to the “dot mac” days, through Mobile.Me, and now to iCloud. Here’s what Publisher’s Weekly said:

iCloud is a digital media locker on steroids, syncing all of users digital content, especially the contend bought from Apple–music, e-books, apps, documents, even user-created photos–to all of a users different Apple devices. All of this content is stored in the cloud, available for re-downloading at any time.

The complete integration of automatic, continuous real-time syncing of stored data and purchased content—like iTunes and iBooks content—that’s user friendly. Not having to worry about storing masses of data and the risk of data loss will free mobile computing forever from the need to be tethered to a big desktop computer.

Apple is selling the iPad now as a computer that can replace your desktop or laptop computer, and there’s growing evidence that many households are going iPad only. iPad offers unparalleled shopping experiences, something that should not be taken lightly. As everyone has said, it’s a great platform for consuming content, and it will become the premier shopping environment for the wired generation.

What this means is that Apple, by staying in tune with what’s good for its users, keeps leaping ahead of the rest of the market. By maintaining control of all the hardware, operating systems, industrial design, branding and retailing of its products, Apple keeps enhancing the experience of using those products.

Even now the seamless interoperation of my iPhone, iPad and iMac are fantastic. The changes coming in the fall with all the new capabilities Apple is rolling out will take all that to a new level. Having all your data stored remotely, available at any connected device, and guaranteed to work on all those devices with no worries for the user, constantly synchronized among devices? That’s the Holy Grail for users in my book.

More News for Publishers

There were many new features and functions at the announcements today. I’m not going to go through them all, but I recommend the roundup articles linked below and the Apple links within this article if you’d like more information.

Part of the new functions in iOS5 will be Newstand, just like iBookstore only for periodicals. Magazines have been one of the early supporters of the iPad, and now that Apple seems to have reached an arrangement about how to sell subscriptions, magazines are moving aggressively onto the platform.

What all this means for content creators is this: millions of users will be inside Apple’s walled garden. All access to those users is through the portals that Apple itself operates. Adding in the millions of iPhone users there are already almost 200 million iOS devices in use.

Apple also announced that over 130 million e-books have been downloaded from the iBookstore, including both free and paid titles. Will iBookstore grow to rival the Kindle store in popularity? Will the increasingly attractive Apple universe start to exert a growing gravitational pull on users tired of coping with upgrades to Windows hardware and software?

I don’t know the answers, but I’m looking forward to finding out. Here are some resources if you want to explore farther.


A good brief video from Apple: iOS5 Preview Video
Nice roundup from Mashable: Texts, Tweets and To Dos: What’s New in iOS 5
Publishers Weekly, Apple Unveils iCloud
MSNBC Gadgetbox, Apple Unveils iOS 5: Here’s What’s New
MSNBC Gadgetbox, Full coverage: Steve Jobs unveiling iCloud and iOS 5, and launching Mac OS X Lion

Photo: Apple

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    { 4 comments… read them below or add one }

    Chris O'Byrne June 8, 2011 at 7:26 pm

    I completely agree with your idea of Twitter as more of a utility than a mere social media platform. It’s my main connection with the world at large and I’m glad to see it’ll be integrated into iOS. Do you know if it will also be integrated into Lion?


    Joel Friedlander June 9, 2011 at 10:43 am

    Chris, I don’t think it’s part of Lion, it’s just for the mobile devices.


    Michael N. Marcus June 7, 2011 at 7:14 am

    A somewhat more cynical appraisal of Apple’s cloud:


    Joel Friedlander June 7, 2011 at 2:35 pm

    Google and Apple are completely different business models. I use products from both companies extensively. There is no user experience I know of in electronics that can rival the ease of use and respect for the user that I experience with Apple products. They are not perfect, far from it, but I for one am happy to play in their “walled garden” when it meets my needs.


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