Apple announced at the World Wide Development Conference on Monday their plans to release OS X Lion, iOS 5, and the new iCloud. Of particular interest are the introduction of Safari Reader, the integration of Twitter natively into iOS 5, and the use of the iCloud. These new features, among many others, are making new opportunities and challenges for developers.
Perhaps Apple’s Safari Reader was inspired by Readability, an application for distraction-free reading. This new browser feature allows users to view websites without advertisements and clutter and to bookmark pages for reading later. Yes, without advertisements. For web developers in ad-driven companies this will be the “mother of innovation,” the catalyst in finding new ways to embed advertising.
The most interesting new feature for web developers is the integration of Twitter into iOS 5. A user signs in once and can then share on Twitter from Safari, Photos, Camera, You Tube, or Maps, and add a location if desired. It even integrates with the user’s contacts. The world of social media is admittedly a key component of web design, but with it now being sponsored by one of the largest technology corporations in the world, all the more so.
Last, but not least, is the new iCloud. The iCloud allows content from applications to be automatically synchronized across all iOS devices a user owns. For example, a user can buy a song on the iPhone and it automatically show up on the user’s iPad. This cloud technology is the next generation of internet and will significantly revise how internet websites and device applications are related. The two are merging and the iCloud is advancing the process. The cloud service will only work with a few programs upon release, but Apple will make the iCloud API open to developers.
Safari Reader and the integration of Twitter into iOS 5 will certainly be on the minds of developers in the short term. With the iCloud perhaps something more significant is happening. Since Apple’s release of the first iPhone in January of 2007 the internet has not been the same. Every major website is now interested in and adapted to the mobile community. In the long term, is Apple once again redefining how we view and use the internet with their new iCloud service?