Notifications are about to get a much-needed facelift in iOS 5. We've complained many times about how, with the growth of apps using push notifications, unlimited text messaging packages, and local notifications, the pop-ups were simply getting out of control. With iOS 5, they're gone. Instead, as announced this morning during the Apple WWDC 2011 keynote, they're replaced by a simply notification at the top of the screen that doesn't interrupt you in the middle of whatever you are doing. You can also swipe down from the top of the screen to get to a list of all your recent notifications in one spot (they call this Notification Center.) Finally, you can also choose to have your recent notifications displayed right on your lock screen. Swipe an app icon to the right, and you are opened right into that app. This definitely takes a bunch of cues from MobileNotifier, a jailbreak-only notification app (that we use and love,) and improves upon it in many ways. In fact, Apple recently hired the developer of MobileNotifier, so this all makes perfect sense. iOS 5 launches this fall.
iCloud, Apple's new cloud services that Steve Jobs told us about during his WWDC 2011 keynote this morning, has already made its way into the purchase history area of the App Store. Above is an image from my iPhone 4, showing apps that I have purchased, but that aren't installed on the device. I can tap the iCloud icon to download the content right from there.
This morning, Apple put out a press release letting the world know that they'll be showing off iOS 5, OS X Lion, and iCloud, their long-awaited cloud service/MobileMe revamp, next week at WWDC. Oddly enough, Apple only went as far as naming iCloud, and called it an "upcoming cloud services offering." Now, we aren't expecting them to go into full detail in a press release, but why even name it at all? We're guessing it's because Apple really wants to set the expectation that WWDC will be focusing on software, softening the blow that will inevitably come when the masses are complaining about the lack of an iPhone 5 hardware reveal. The press release lets us know Apple's WWDC intentions and plans, and sets the expectations accordingly.
WWDC kicks off in six days, and of course, we'll have details of all the announcements as they're made. By the way, the press release also confirms that the incomparable Steve Jobs will be taking the stage at WWDC.
Fortune magazine recently published an in-depth piece on the highly secretive culture and inner workings of Apple. It's in the latest Fortune 500 issue, and isn't yet available freely online, however, you can download it from the Kindle Store for 99 cents to read it on a Kindle, PC, Mac, or any of the smartphone platforms they support (iOS, Android, etc.) For a buck, we'd consider this one a must-read. You get a lot of juicy tidbits about the company, including just how disappointed Steve Jobs was about the horribly botched launch of MobileMe:
According to a participant in the meeting, Jobs walked in, clad in his trademark black mock turtleneck and blue jeans, clasped his hands together and asked a simple question: "Can anyone tell me what MobileMe is supposed to do?" Having received a satisfactory answer, he continued, "So why the **** doesn't it do that?"
For the next half-hour Jobs berated the group. "You've tarnished Apple's reputation," he told them. "You should hate each other for having let each other down."
Harsh, but those are the actions of a man who seemingly doesn't tolerate failure, and aims to exceed expectations. In fact, he doesn't want to ever hear excuses from any of the Apple VP-level employees:
The janitor gets to explain why something went wrong. Senior people do not. "When you're the janitor," Jobs has repeatedly told incoming VPs, "reasons matter." He continues: "Somewhere between the janitor and the CEO, reasons stop mattering." That "Rubicon," he has said, "is crossed when you become a VP."
This is some good stuff, and Fortune has a lot more in the full-length article. If you're at all interested in Apple, either from a consumer standpoint, or just interest in the management style that makes them so unique, give this one a look.
Read More | Inside Apple
There are many unauthorized biographies of Steve Jobs and even a TV movie (below), but the Apple chief has agreed to team up with Walter Isaacson for an authorized biography that will hit bookstores (and presumably, iBooks) next year.
Simon & Schuster will publish the book, humbly titled "iSteve: The Book of Jobs," in early 2012, the publisher said in a Sunday statement. It will draw from three years of "exclusive and unprecedented" interviews Isaacson has conducted with Jobs. Isaacson has also interviewed Jobs's family members, colleagues, and Apple competitors.
"This is the perfect match of subject and author, and it is certain to be a landmark book about one of the world's greatest innovators," Jonathan Karp, publisher of Simon & Schuster, said in a statement. "Just as he did with Einstein and Benjamin Franklin, Walter Isaacson is telling a unique story of revolutionary genius."
The news was first reported by the AP.
Similar to the U.S. launch, the iPad 2 will go on sale abroad at 5pm local time, and will be available online at 1am.
"While competitors are still struggling to catch up with our first iPad, we've changed the game again with iPad 2," Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO, said in a statement. "We're experiencing amazing demand for iPad 2 in the U.S., and customers around the world have told us they can't wait to get their hands on it. We appreciate everyone's patience and we are working hard to build enough iPads for everyone."
In total, the iPad 2 will be available in 25 additional countries on Friday, including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.
"Kids today have missed the whole experience of putting the headphones on, turning it up to 10, holding the jacket, closing their eyes and getting lost in an album; and the beauty of taking your allowance money and making a decision based on the jacket, not knowing what the record sounded like, and looking at a couple of pictures and still imagining it," he said.
Bon Jovi's music can be found on iTunes, but apparently, he's none too thrilled about it.
"God, it was a magical, magical time," the "Livin' on a Prayer" singer continued. "I hate to sound like an old man now, but I am, and you mark my words, in a generation from now people are going to say: 'What happened?' Steve Jobs is personally responsible for killing the music business."
You have to hand it to Apple CEO Steve Jobs. No matter how ill he may be, his showmanship and stage presence remain undimmed. So much so that it took, as it often does, days for the euphoria of the iPad 2 unveiling to wear off. As that happened, though, I, like others, started to have these little, "Hey, wait a minute…" moments. And from there, the inevitable questions about the latest magical device from Apple started piling up. Here are the ones I've been considering or hearing from others. Fortunately, I think we have answers for virtually all of them.
Why No Memory Specs?
Apple's busy touting the iPad 2's huge performance increase (over the original), which comes courtesy of the A5 chip. That makes sense, a dual-core processor should beat the pants off a single core CPU. However, as with any computer, the CPU is only part of the performance story. What's the easiest way to increase system performance? Add memory. We know that the first-generation iPad has 256MB of RAM, but Apple isn't saying how much is in the iPad 2. "More" seems like a reasonable guess.
Why No 4G?
Apple's new best friend, Verizon, has a brand-new LTE network, but you won't find 4G on the new Verizon iPhone 4 or the latest-gen iPad. Why is that? Price is one reason: Adding a 4G radio would certainly have increased the price on the top-of-the line iPad 2. Also, Apple pays pretty close attention to the market and early market research indicated that almost 50 percent of potential iPad buyers were picking up a Wi-Fi-only model (Apple does not break out Wi-Fi-only iPad sales figures). I have a 3G-ready iPad, but I've never activated the service (I find ample Wi-Fi access almost everywhere I use my iPad). I suspect that's a common scenario. If a good percentage of iPad owners aren't using 3G—even when they have it—why would Apple jump to introduce 4G?
Apple just announced the iPad 2 at their March 2 event, and it's pretty much what many of us expected - thinner, lighter, faster, with dual FaceTime cameras and much faster dual-core A5 chip. The A5 is twice as fast as the A4 chip, and graphics performance is up to nine times faster than the original iPad, which is, you know, insane. Despite all that new speed, battery life is the same, and the iPad will run for 10 hours straight, with 30 days standby time. Also unchanged is the price, as the iPad will start at $499 and will be available in the same configurations as the previous model - this time though, you can choose between Verizon and AT&T for the 3G model. Screen resolution remains the same at 1024 x 768, which is fine for now. The iPad 2 is 33% thinner than the original, and as you can see in the image above, will ship in both black and white colors.
Apple is also finally (finally!) releasing an HDMI adapter, which will mirror the iPad 2 on an external display at 1080p resolution. This'll run you $39, but we're sure that there are many out there that'll snap that accessory up quickly. The rear camera will be capable of recording 720p video at 30fps, while the front camera will do VGA resolution, also at 30fps.
Apple has redesigned the cover for the iPad 2, and they're calling the new accessory a "Smart Cover." It's a magnetic cover that sticks tot he display, and automatically wakes the iPad 2 when removed. It folds up and turns into a little stand for both viewing and typing mode. They'll cost $39 for the polyurethane, and $69 for the leather version.
The iPad 2 goes on sale on March 11 at 5:00 pm at Apple Stores. If you were thinking of ordering online instead to get it ahead of time, think again--Apple isn't going to be taking orders for the device until launch day. Hey, they've gotta make sure there are lines at stores, because those look good on the news, y'know?
Read More | iPad 2
The rumor-mill is once again a-churning over the possibility of a larger-sized iPhone that could compete against its beefier Android cousins. Although Apple CEO Steve Jobs has previously stated his thoughts on the matter -- "No one's going to buy" a larger iPhone—a new picture from an unidentified Chinese iPhone parts reseller offers a tantalizing tease for a larger iPhone to come.
If the picture holds true, then the iPhone 5 would retain the same external look and feel as its predecessors—at least, in terms of how its user-facing panel is constructed. The home button might not be going anywhere, but it would now be centered beneath a screen that's been increased from 3.5 inches across to 4.
Said unidentified company might throw more pictures up, including shots of the rear casing for the allegedly larger iPhone—there's just no indication as to what the timeline for the leaked shots might be. Or, for that matter, just how accurate they are.
Digitimes has previously reported that Apple is planning on bulking up to a four-inch iPhone (screen size, that is) for its fifth-generation device.