Thoughts and questions after the WWDC 2011 keynote

I haven't finished watching the keynote yet but have read most of what there's to read about it, so here goes. Also, that will be a nice change not to write about something 5 months after.

First, no questions about it : as far as iOS 5 is concerned, the new features were all lifted (copied, stolen...) from elsewhere. Android, RIM, and the jailbreaking community (which they should properly acknowledge and let work unhindered, IMHO - add a proper "hack me" mode to iOS and see what happens). Good thing they did, all where sorely lacking.

More interesting are the new features of OS X Lion. Many will seem unimportant, but may have profound changes on the way we work. Like full screen apps for instance (which people who are challenged in their sense of observation have dismissed as "finally OS X has window maximize"). We all consider multi-tasking OSes for granted, all too often forgetting that we, users, aren't. There's enough literature on how computers and the Net make it hard to focus, as we are constantly solicited by dozens of attention-grabbing sources of interruption : mail, IM, twitter, etc... Reverting to a screen which shows you only what is pertaining to the current task is a nice change. Note that this has already been touted as a feature by some word processors (writeroom, OmmWriter and, of course Pages).

But the most interesting part was definitely iCould. Assuming they can pull it off properly, that will change a lot of things. I had to look for hackish solutions to keep my iTunes libraries in sync between my Mac pro and my MacBook pro. Cultured Code has spent an untold amount of effort to deploy sync for their nice Todo app Things, often under the frustration of their users, and this has just been made obsolete by the fact that iCloud will have an API useable by tiers (something I recall wishing for for MobileMe). And as a photographer, PhotoStream and the perspective of being able to de-rush on my iPad is a huge boon.

I just wonder how flexible will the settings be. Apple usually takes care of its 'pro' customers, although often with a delay. I don't think I'm going to sync my 300Gb photo library on any "cloud" yet. Not so much a question of space as a question of how long it would take through my ADSL connection (100kb/s upload). Movie makers and musicians are going to have the same problem. Of course, "cloud computing", no matter who provides it, won't really achieve its full promise until we all have fiber connections. DSL just won't cut it.

Finally, iTunes Match. Now that's a cool move from Apple, but no word yet on how widely available it will be. I'm guessing it will take a while before we have it in France.