If you have unanswered questions about the forthcoming iOS 5, check out this great article on Macworld: iOS 5: What you need to know. It gives an excellent overview of the new features and answers common questions, such as which devices it will work with, how Notifications will work, what the advantages are of the new messaging system, what some of the features are of the new Newsstand and Reminder apps, and what's new in the Safari, Camera, Photos, Mail, iPod, Calendar, and FaceTime apps. And more.
In my ongoing series on novel uses of the iPhone and iPad camera, here's yet another: an app that lets you take a picture of a leaf and then gives you information about what type of tree it as. Leafsnap (free) returns the likely species name, as well high-resolution photographs of and information about the tree's leaves, flowers, fruit, seeds, and bark. The app was funded by a $2.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation and was developed by the Smithsonian Institution, University of Maryland, and Columbia University.
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.