Apple today introduced its new iCloud service suite. As a replacement for the company’s previous MobileMe service, iCloud is completely free, and works to store content in the cloud and automatically and wirelessly push it to all a user’s devices. Features of iCloud include rewritten push Contacts, Calendar, and Mail services, automatic synchronization of purchases and downloads from the App Store, iBookstore, and iTunes Store, a Backup features that automatically and securely backs up iOS devices on a daily basis over Wi-Fi, a Photo Stream service that automatically uploads photos taken or imported on any iOS device and pushes them to all a user’s devices—including Apple TV. iCloud also includes 5GB of free storage for mail, documents, and backup, which also serves to seamlessly store all a user’s documents that are created using iCloud Storage APIs, and automatically push them to all that user’s devices. iCloud will be available this fall concurrent with iOS 5 and will be free for all users.
We’ve just posted the full chronological transcript of our play-by-play from the WWDC 2011 Keynote. If you haven’t seen the separate news stories yet, today’s big announcements pertained to the fall 2011 releases of iOS 5 and Apple’s new free wireless synchronization service iCloud, as well as the July 2011 release of Mac OS Lion. Click on the title of this article for the full transcript, and visit our Flickr photostream for live photos from the event.
Along with a host of other changes and improvements, Apple today showed off updated versions of iOS’ Camera and Safari apps. The Camera app has been given new prominence via a button on the lock screen that allows for instant access to the Camera app without the need to unlock the phone. Users can also now use the volume up button as a physical shutter button, and the app has also gained AE/AF lock, pinch to zoom, and basic editing tools including crop, rotate, red-eye reduction, and automatic enhancement. Safari has received the Reader feature from the Mac version, as well as a “Reading List” that syncs between devices, and tabbed browsing on the iPad.
As part of iOS 5, Apple today demonstrated a new notifications system for iOS, as well as a new messaging service called iMessage. The new Notification Center moves all notifications into a new slide-down drawer at the top of the screen. All app notifications appear in this area, and users can tap on a notification to go the related app, or tap a small “x” to dismiss them; weather and stock information can also be configured to show up at the top of the drawer. The new iMessage system works very similarly to the iPhone’s existing Messages application, but also offers delivery and read receipts, typing indication, automatic push of new messages to all a users’ devices, and works over 3G or Wi-Fi.
During its WWDC keynote address today, Apple unveiled iOS 5, the latest version of its operating system for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. The software offers over 1,500 new APIs for developers and over 200 new user features, including an all-new notification system, a new “iMessage” messaging system that will work across all iOS devices, enhancements for the Camera app, Mail, Safari, Game Center, integration with Twitter, a new service called News Stand that works like iBooks but is meant for magazines and newspapers, AirPlay mirroring, which will let users beam whatever is on their iPad to an Apple TV, wireless syncing with iTunes, and over-the-air software updates, that also allow iOS devices to be setup and used without connecting them to iTunes. Apple will release iOS 5 this fall for the iPad, iPad 2, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, and third- and fourth-generation iPod touch.
“iOS 5 has some great new features, such as Notification Center, iMessage and Newsstand and we can’t wait to see what our developers do with its 1,500 new APIs,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “Perhaps iOS 5’s paramount feature is that it’s built to seamlessly work with iCloud in the Post PC revolution that Apple is leading.”
Walmart has announced that it is dropping the price of the iPhone 4 to $147 through the remainder of June. According to the company, the lower price is good for both black and white versions and for both GSM and CDMA models, and requires a new two-year agreement or qualified upgrade. We have contacted a representative of the company for claification as to whether there is a similar discount on 32GB models and will update this report as soon as we hear back.
Update: The reduced pricing is available on 16GB models only.
Update x2: Walmart’s corporate cousin Sam’s Club has announced that it will also be offering all models of the 16GB iPhone 4 for $147 in more than 350 clubs across the U.S. through June 21.
As noted by our editors inside the venue, Apple has several covered banners placed around Moscone West, in anticipation of an announcement or announcements to be made during the company’s keynote address this afternoon. The appearance of the covered banners is notable as Apple has uncharacteristically pre-announced its main talking points for the event, which include Mac OS X Lion, iOS 5, and iCloud, all of which are featured prominently on banners elsewhere in the building. It is possible that these banners feature a yet-unannounced product or service, or they could instead feature specific information—such as a release date for Mac OS X Lion—that Apple wants to keep under wraps until after the event.
Updated: The uncovered banners include details about iOS 5 and iCloud that were not previously public before the announcement.
iLounge’s editors are on-site at Moscone West in San Francisco, site of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference. The event will kick off with a keynote address from Apple CEO Steve Jobs and other Apple executives beginning at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time/1:00 p.m. Eastern Time today. During the address, Apple will be discussing Mac OS X Lion, iOS 5, and its new iCloud service. As with past live events, we’ll be switching over to our optimized Live.iLounge.com page right before the event begins, and will also host a separate chat room for reader discussions of the announcements as they happen. Stay tuned!
Ten One has debuted its new Fling mini game controllers for the iPhone, iPod touch, and other small touchscreen devices. Based on the company’s prior Fling tactile game controller for the iPad, the Fling mini attaches to the iPhone or the iPod touch using suction cups, and features a mechanical spring to provide proper resistance for the joystick, an anodized aluminum and resin design, and an included fleece carrying bag. Ten One’s Fling mini game controllers for the iPhone and iPod touch are available for pre-order now and sell for $25/2-pack.
Seidio has introduced its new Active case for the iPad 2. The Active is a dual-layer case with a shock absorbing lightweight polymer layer on the inside and a hard exterior “skeleton” on the outside. It includes a multipurpose cover that protects the screen and serves as a stand, and also offers open access to all ports, controls, and cameras. Seidio’s Active case for the iPad 2 is available now and sells for $70.
The latest edition of iLounge Weekly, our weekly newsletter covering all things iLounge, will be arriving in subscribers’ inboxes Monday morning. iLounge Weekly is a summary of the week’s best news, reviews, and feature articles we’ve published, and it also features giveaways and accessory discount offers from various companies. There’s still plenty of time to sign up and receive this week’s edition — just use the simple form below to submit your email address, if you haven’t done so already.
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iVerse Media has released an update to its Comics platform for iOS adding the ability for users to view comic book pages in their original form. The Original Page View option presents HD versions of the original comic book pages exactly as the creators intended, unaltered and unadapted for the iOS screen. Users can use standard panning and zooming gestures to freely explore these original renderings with intelligent zooming to focus in on detailed artwork and smaller text. The latest update also includes a number of other smaller enhancements including faster image and application loading, improved scrolling performance, and improved organizing and searching on shelves. Comics+is available from the App Store as a free download with individual issues and series’ available through in-app purchase. Some of iVerse Media’s series specific comic reader apps, including Archie Comics, Stan Lee BOOM! Comics and Green Hornet Comics have received similar updates.
Podotree has released Cube Dog, a new interactive 3D toy pet for the iPhone and iPod touch. Designed to take advantage of the iPhone and iPod touch hardware capabilities, Cube Dog lets users create their own digital pet customized with unique animations and interactions. Users create their own unique Cube Dog by customizing its color, nose, eyes, ears, feet, body and head from over 1.3 million possible combinations and can then visit the playroom where they can use gestures to make their pet perform over 50 different animated tricks ranging from rolling over to fending off ninja attacks. Users can take pictures of their Cube Dog in real world settings and share and upload their cube dogs and pictures via Facebook and other social media services. Cube Dog is available from the App Store as a free download.
Apple may have hired Peter Hajas, the developer behind the jailbreak replacement notification system Mobile Notifier, to work on iOS’ notification system. Redmond Pie reports that Hajas indicated in a recent Twitter update that he would soon be going to work for a “fruit” company in California. In a follow-up blog post, Hajas wrote that we couldn’t say why he was stepping away from app development, but that “it’s worth it,” adding that “if you look around hard enough, you’ll probably figure it out” before finishing the the line “stay hungry and stay foolish,” a reference to the phrase Apple CEO Steve Jobs used to close out his 2005 Stanford University Commencement speech. [via Business Insider]
iLounge will be providing live coverage of Apple’s 2011 Worldwide Developers Conference keynote address, which is slated for Monday, June 6, at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time/1:00 p.m. Eastern Time. During the event, Apple is expected to preview iOS 5, the next-generation version of its operating system for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, unveil its iCloud online service, which is expected to include a music storage and streaming component, and discuss Mac OS X Lion, the latest version of its desktop OS. As with past live events, we’ll be switching over to our optimized Live.iLounge.com page right before the event begins, and will also host a separate chat room for reader discussions of the announcements as they happen. See you then!
iLounge is pleased to announce the Luxa2 iPad Stand Giveaway. In our Giveaway of the Month for June, iLounge and Luxa2 are giving away 30 Luxa2 H4 iPad Stands. To enter, simply fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page—the giveaway will end on June 30, 2011 at 11:59PM Pacific Time. Good luck!
Konami Digital Entertainment has released an iOS version of its classic 1992 X-Men arcade game. Retaining the retro 8-bit graphics and design of the original, X-Men is a side-scrolling action game where players take on the role of their favourite X-Men characters and fight their way through Sentinels and battle classic villains such as Pyro, Mystique and Magneto. The game provides local multiplayer support and integration with Game Center, Openfeint and Facebook for tracking leaderboards and posting achievements. X-Men is a universal app and is available from the App Store for $3.
Apple has agreed to pay the four major music labels between $100 and $150 million in advanced payments as part of its cloud music deals, according to a new report. Citing three separate sources, the New York Post reports that Apple will pay each label between $25 million and $50 million to get on board with the iCloud service, dependent on how many tracks early customers are storing. According to the report, these same payments were a major hold-up for Google in its discussions with the labels, and may have influenced its decision to launch its cloud service without label support. The report states that Google will now likely have to pay higher fees to secure deals similar to those between the labels and Apple, but could have a similar cloud offering online as soon as September.
Becoming the second outlet to report that Apple has signed a cloud music deal with Universal, giving it deals with all four of the major labels, the Los Angeles Times has provided additional details on Apple’s upcoming iCloud service. Citing sources familiar with the negotiations, the report claims that the service will initially be offered for free to customers who purchase music from the iTunes Store, but will eventually cost roughly $25 a year. The report also states that Apple plans to sell advertising around the iCloud service—specifics, including if the ads would appear for paid subscribers, were not offered—and that the company’s agreements with the labels call for it to share 30 percent of any revenue from the service with the labels, as well as 12 percent with music publishers. In line with recent reports, it also notes that although the service is initially focused on music, Apple eventually plans for the service to be used for movies, TV shows, and other digital content sold through iTunes.
Apple has released an official iOS app for its 2011 Worldwide Developer Conference being held in San Francisco next week. The WWDC app provides a mobile reference guide allowing attendees to access conference information from their iPhone, iPod touch or iPad. A session and lab schedule allows users to view all events, including lunchtime and evening events and search by technology, platform, session or lab. Users can also reserve time at selected labs from directly within the app, create a personalized WWDC schedule of favorite sessions and events and view detailed floor maps of Moscone West to find their way around. A conference news and photos section provides up-to-date announcements during the week and images from the sessions, labs and special events. The WWDC app is a universal app requiring iOS 4.2 or later and is available from the App Store as a free download.