This is a huge deal. Ice Cream Sandwich is the biggest upgrade to Google's Android OS since Android 2.2 hit in May 2010, and possibly the most important update ever. From what I've seen so far in a day with the Samsung Galaxy Nexus phone, Android users should be demanding their share of Ice Cream—and it should absolutely make a difference in your phone purchases.
Google lent me an international developer unit of the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, the first ICS phone. This isn't the LTE device that Verizon Wireless will be selling in the U.S., but it's roughly the same size and shape with very similar capabilities, so it's a good way to judge what ICS will be like when it hits the USA.
Google has finally unveiled Ice Cream Sandwich to the world, and we thought we'd compile the stuff that made us sit up and take notice. The Android update sports a myriad of updates, but we've distilled that down to six that we thought really stuck out. Here's a breakdown of what's new with Android 4.0 (and remember, the first Android 4.0 device wil be the Samsung Galaxy Nexus):
A new lockscreen. Ice Cream Sandwich is ditching passwords for facial recognition technology to unlock phones. Unfortunately for Google, this particular feature failed badly during Tuesday's Hong Kong demo. The new Face Unlock feature did manage to lock out a non-owner of the demo phone, but somewhat comically, it wouldn't let the legitimate owner in either.
Google has done a couple of other things with its lockscreen and homepage with Android 4.0. You can now swipe a locked phone directly to the camera function and begin taking pictures from your smartphone immediately. Android 4.0 also features some pretty cool screensaver art for the homepage and a new San Serif typeface built just for Ice Cream Sandwich called Roboto.
Apple has released Mac OS X Lion 10.7.2 in conjunction with the release of iOS 5 today, and iTunes 10.5 yesterday. If you're running Lion, go ahead and hit Software Update to get the latest release, which stars iCloud integration front and center. If you don't have Lion yet, you can download it from the Mac App Store. There's a lot more than that, though, so hit the jump for the full changelog.
Today is the day, and Mac users everywhere have been downloading and updating their computer to the newly-released Mac OS X 10.7 Lion. If you haven't gotten in on the fun, you can download it now from the Mac App Store for $29.99. Buy it once, and you can use it across all of your Macs. Lion Server is also available as a $50 add-on.
During today's Apple earnings call, CFO Peter Oppenheimer announced that Mac OS X 10.7, better known as OS X Lion, will be launching tomorrow on the Mac App Store. Lion will be available as a 4 GB download, and will sell for $29.99. Once purchased, you can install it on all Macs that you own at no extra cost, and without any sort of authorization key. Apple is touting 250 new features in Lion, with things like Launchpad (an app launcher that is reminiscent of iOS,) Mission Control (a replacement for Expose,) Resume, touch gestures, and more included. Lion Server will also be available as a $50 add-on.
Hot on the heels of the Apple seeding the OS X Lion Golden Master to developers, we're now hearing that Apple is planning on releasing that very same build to the world on July 14th, exclusively on the Mac App Store for $29.99. Of course, these plans can change is devs find any showstopping bugs in the Golden Master, but barring that extremely unlikely occurrence, you should be all set to get in on Apple's new hotness in just under two weeks.
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Apple has just released the golden master version of OS X Lion to Mac developers. We already know that the final, public release of Lion will be coming on July 14th, so it makes sense that Apple would be ready to give the stamp of approval on today's release, as golden master means that , barring any glaring oversight, that this is the final version that customers will be able to purchase in the Mac App Store for $29.99. The build number on the release is 11A511, and Mac devs, you can download it now.
Hot on the heels of the release of OS X Lion Developer Preview 4 at WWDC 2011, Apple has already released the next update to the Lion build. No details yet on the fixes/additions/improvements in this one, but if you are running the latest OS X 10.7 Preview, you can find this update waiting for you in Software Update. Go ahead and run it, and if you find anything interesting, do let us know, mmkay?
In the first public unveiling of the upcoming Windows 8 interface, Microsoft's president of Windows, Steven Sinofsky, showed off a radically altered Windows start screen that features user-configurable tiles and looks almost nothing like Windows 7. The demo took place during this week's D9 conference in southern California.
The new interface supports gestures, snap, pin, cloud apps, new concepts like a basket for files you'll want to share between apps and services, and a hidden task bar on the right side of the screen. The updated OS is designed to work on "the hundreds of millions of PCs already out in the market," Sinofsky said.
Since it's still Windows, all devices and apps that work with Windows 7 will run on Windows 8, said Sinofsky, adding that consumers will only have to choose which device to run it on. "The interface scales from about 7-inches to a wall-screen display," explained Sinofsky.
In addition to the development screen, Microsoft showed Windows 8 running on tablets from Samsung and Lenovo.
The latest rumor is that Windows 8 will incorporate the "ribbon" interface with Windows Explorer. The feature - which put more functionality front-and-center rather than hidden behind drop-down menus - was first incorporated into Office 2007. With the release of Windows 7, it was also added to Paint and WordPad. A version of the "ribbon" interface is also included in Microsoft Office for Mac 2011.
According to Within Windows, Microsoft is thinking about adding the ribbon to Windows Explorer in the next iteration of the OS, but nothing is set in stone.
"In early builds of Windows 8, this Ribbon UI is only half-finished and, frankly, of dubious value," the blog wrote. "In fact, based on the divergent ways in which various related UI elements are repeated around the window frame, we get the idea that the use of the Ribbon in Explorer is, in fact, quite controversial inside the halls of Microsoft's Redmond campus."