In a sense, one can think of iCloud as a third platform, one that complements the desktop and mobile platforms, and that may eventually subsume them. It'll be interesting to see how this evolves. Macworld has a great article titled "iCloud: What you need to know." TidBITS also has a helpful introductory article, with a focus on iTunes in the Cloud — the only feature of iCloud that is now available.
So much news came out during Steve Jobs's keynote yesterday that it's hard to assimilate. But if you want to get your head around it, I think the key idea is that iOS 5 and iCloud will cut the cord. it will no longer be necessary to connect your iPhone or iPad to a computer in order to put music on your device, sync contacts, update software, etc. Steve Jobs refers to this as the post-PC world, and Apple is giving us devices that are free of the PC. AND it's free! And automatic! And turned on by default! You don't need to think about it.
The news today was exciting — lots of great functionality in the works. And if you'd like to watch the whole presentation, it's now available via streaming video from Apple's website. The video is two hours long, with the first segment covering the new iteration of OS X for Macintosh, called Lion.
First available for iOS on the iPad, Apple's iWorks apps were released on Tuesday for the iPhone. The price is the same: $9.99 each for Pages (word processing), Numbers (spreadsheet), and Keynote (presentation software). If you already own them for the iPad, they are a free upgrade for your iPhone.
A lack of native zoom is a real hindrance with the iPhone camera when shooting video. But fortunately, there are apps that let you add digital zoom. Video Zoom 2 ($0.99) gives you up to 3x digital zoom, including real-time zoom during recording -- without decreasing image stability or frame rate. It offers a choice of four different resolutions for the iPhone 4. You can view videos from within the app, and can shoot any number of videos before coming back to preview or export.
Video Time Machine ($0.99) is a new app that gives you access to over 10,000 streaming videos. What makes this app unique is that it lets you select a year and then a category: Movies, Music, TV, Sports, Advertisements, News, and Video Games. You can cruise back through time and enjoy the nostalgia of days gone by. There are also integrated Twitter and Facebook features that make it easy to share videos. Unfortunately, there's not yet an iPad-specific version. The app is based on the YTTM.tv website.
iLounge, which is one of the best sites for learning about accessories, has today released their free iPad 2 Buyers' Guide, a 146-page downloadable book in pdf format. It includes articles about the various iPad models and such things as how to download and use iBooks, using the cameras and camera apps, and iTunes media syncing. The heart of the book is the Accessories Buyers' Guide, a massive look at iPad 2 add-ons.
Finally we have official word from Apple that Steve Jobs will keynote Monday's WWDC event in San Francisco and that he will be introducing Apple's new iCloud as well as iOS 5. You can read more on Yahoo News. Of course, Apple has already had the cloud-based MobileMe for several years, and it's not clear what iCloud will add to that. Since Apple has recently closed deals with the top four music labels, everyone is expecting that iCloud will include a music storage service.
As we approach the end of May, a lot of people are looking ahead to their summer vacation. If you're planning to visit a national park, you'll want to download Chimani National Parks (free), which has information and news about the nation's 394 National Parks System locations. The app includes details on all national parks, monuments, memorials, seashores, recreational areas, sites, battlefields, historical parks, and parkways. It also gives you access to the news provided by the National Park Traveler website.
I haven't yet tried Infinite Walls (free), but it seems like a great idea. The app lets you search Google Images for photos of subjects that interest you. The app automatically resizes the files for use as wallpapers on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, automatically detecting which device you're using. In-app purchases let you add more features, such as a vault where you can store images and have access to them without an Internet connection.