Among the various iOS 5 features Apple chief Steve Jobs unveiled today at the company's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC 2011) was iMessage, a messaging option for iOS devices reminiscent of RIM's BlackBerry Messenger.
Apple said iMessage "brings the functionality of iPhone messaging to all of your iOS devices―iPhone, iPad and iPod touch." It is built into the Messages app, and allows users to send messages, photos, videos, or contact information to other iOS 5 users via Wi-Fi or 3G.
Like BBM, however, iMessage will include delivery and read receipts, and typing indication, so you know if the person has received your message and if they are typing back. Apple's iMessage will also have secure end-to-end encryption.
Apple has been busy updating their Dev Center with all of the hotness they talked about today during the WWDC 2011 keynote. They just added in all the iOS 5 beta versions for the various iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple TV devices that will support it, and if you're a Mac developer, don't forget to also pick up the latest Lion Developer Preview 4.
For all you peeps out there with Mac Developer accounts, you'll wanna grab the latest OS X Lion Developer Preview 4 build that Apple just released. This morning at its WWDC 2011 keynote, the company re-introduced us to many of the OS X 10.7 Lion features that we were already familiar with, but this time things have a lot more fit and finish on them. Lion will launch next month at $29.
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.
During today's WWDC 2011 keynote, Apple's Scott Forstall introduced some major upgrades to the Camera app that will ship with iOS 5. Some of the features that have us excited are things like direct access to the camera app right from the lock screen. Next to the swipe to unlock is a camera button that you can tap to take a picture quickly. Secondly, when you're in the camera app, you'll be able to use the volume-up button to snap the photo, rather than having to tap on the screen. Third, you'll be able to edit your photos right in the photo app. Apple is aiming to make their Camera and Photo apps your one-stop shop for images on your mobile devices.
As part of the WWDC 2011 keynote, Apple's Scott Forstall announced that iOS 5 will be available to all users this fall. It'll work with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and iPhone 5 (although they didn't mention the next iPhone, it's a no-brainer) as well as iPad and iPad 2, and the 3rd, 4th, and 5th generation iPod touch. The fall release date is a good indicator that we won't be seeing the launch of new iPhone hardware until the fall as well. We will have a wrap-up of some of the best iOS 5 features that were demoed today in just a bit!
We've been updating you on the progress of Lion as the updates have been fairly often in the Developer Preview. Today at WWDC 2011, Phil Schiller announced that OS X 10.7 Lion will be launching next month, exclusively on the Mac App Store, for the amazingly low price of $29. An updated Developer Preview of the next big operating system from Apple will be available later today.
Just about 90 minutes before the WWDC 2011 keynote is to begin, a Walmart rep just dropped me an email letting me know that they've dropped the price of the iPhone 4 by $50. Starting today through June 30, you can grab an iPhone 4 for $147. This applies to both the AT&T and Verizon models, in both black and white. Of course, this pricing requires a two-year contract. Very interesting, as we aren't expecting any iPhone 5 hardware news this morning at WWDC--does Walmart know something we don't?
Read More | Walmart iPhone 4
Just in case you weren't sure how influential iCloud would be next week at WWDC 2011, here's a look at one of the banners that is going up at the Moscone Center. Yep, iCloud gets top billing, right next to Mac OS X Lion and iOS 5. Apple must see iCloud as a pretty big deal, and it already told us as much. Now, we wait.