WWDC 2011 Stories June 9, 2011

Custom vibrations in Settings (left) and the new interface to customize vibration patterns (right)

iOS 5 comes with a bunch of accessibility improvements, like the AssistiveTouch feature that lets you use your device with adaptive accessories and even create your own gestures. Another easily overlooked addition: Custom vibrations, on a per-contact basis, as pointed out by MacRumors. This is kinda cool, not just for the hearing impaired but for the rest of us as well. Example: If you’re in a meeting and your device is in silent mode, you can tell when your wife is calling based on a vibration pattern – how cool is that?

But why stop there? Combine custom vibrations with LED flash on incoming calls, ringtones, the iTunes Tone Store where you can buy custom alert sounds and deep Twitter integration which automatically adds Twitter user names and photos to your contact cards and suddenly iOS 5 looks pretty strong in the customization department. Here’s a quick guide to customizing vibrations for your contacts…

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WWDC 2011 Stories June 8, 2011

This is a pretty cool trick that works in the Camera app on iOS 5: Simply swipe your finger from left to right to bring the camera album roll up. Continue swiping from left to right to flip through your images. If you go too far, tap once to reveal the on-screen toolbar with image controls and hit Done to immediately return to your camera. Pretty neat. Thanks, Jared!

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Because Emoji is now a standard international keyboard in iOS 5, you can easily add some mood to your iMessages and liven up any text entry with emoticons without having to download a bunch of apps from the App Store to access it

One of the little things appearing briefly in a slide during Apple’s keynote talk Monday was the Emoji keyboard in iOS 5. Originating from Japan, the emoji picture characters are standardized and many phones support them without requiring a Japanese operator (heck, even Gmail supports emojis). The Emoji keyboard is not new to the iPhone, but those who’ve used it in iOS 4 are painfully aware it has never been designed to work like a normal keyboard for the rest of us. You either had to use third-party Emoji apps from the App Store to access it or use emoticons via the clunky Japanese Romaji keyboard. Not anymore, Emoji is now a standard international keyboard accessible in any app. Here’s how it is enabled…

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Apple’s iOS software wizard Scott Forstall saved iMessage as the last of the ten big iOS 5 features in Monday’s WWDC keynote talk. We’ve shown iMessage in action in our eleven-minute overview of iOS 5 features and the iOS 5 features page teases with some interesting capabilities promising to override costly text messages whenever possible:

With iMessage, we’ve created a new messaging service for all iOS 5 users. You can send unlimited text messages via WiFi or 3G from your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch to anyone with one of those devices. iMessage is built into the Messages app so you can send text, photos, videos, locations and contacts. Leep everyone in the loop with group messaging. Track your messages with delivery receipts and optional read receipts, see when someone’s typing and enjoy secure encryption for text messages. Even start a conversation on one of your iOS devices and pick up where you left off on another.

That pitch leaves a lot of questions unanswered. For example, do iMessages count against my text messaging plan? Where do I sing up for iMessage? What if the person on the other end cannot receive iMessages? What about sending iMessages to non-Apple devices? Here’s what we have found out so far…

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Well, what do you know, it looks like Apple’s ambitious messaging service unveiled Monday as part of the iOS 5 software is seen as a threat to Research In Motion’s popular BlackBerry Messenger instant messaging protocol for BlackBerry devices. According to TechRadar, investors punished the BlackBerry maker’s stock Tuesday as they digested Apple’s iMessage:

iMessage announced by Apple on Monday will challenge RIM’s highly popular BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) instant chat service which has given the Canadian company an edge over its rivals. The Apple announcement made investors more jittery, plunging RIM stock on both the Toronto Stock Exchange and Wall Street Tuesday. It slipped more than three percent in Toronto to close at $36.92, and 2.8 percent on Nasdaq to close at $37.82.

Why are investors worried about iMessage affecting RIM’s chat service?

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WWDC 2011 Stories June 7, 2011

As soon as he took the stage, Apple’s boss noticed someone dear to him in the audience.

If you wanna learn more about iCloud but hate the idea of streaming the WWDC 2011 keynote via Apple’s site due to interruptions and varying image quality, you can now download the entire presentation to your computer and sync it to your favorite iOS device for offline viewing anwyhere, anytime (see the irony of that?). The keynote video is available as an iTunes podcast or as a direct download here. Weighing in at a cool 1.22 gigabyte, the MP4-encoded file in 640-by-360 pixel resolution is probably the highest-quality Apple keynote we’ve downloaded from iTunes to date. If you were wondering why all the fuss about Lion, iOS 5 and iCloud, grab the episode and enjoy in nearly two hours of the uninterrupted reality-distortion field.

Apple’s chief walked on San Francisco’s Moscone West stage yesterday to a noisy applause. Check out journalists and developers in the audience snapping the charismatic CEO using their iPhones and iPads.

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Chart courtesy of paidContent.org

With all three players having introduced their respective cloud music offerings, we can now pit them against each other. The above chart is from paidContent which opined that “Apple doesn’t always get it right the first time”. Author Amanda Natividad observed that in iTunes “syncing should be faster and easier” while “song quality may get a boost”. She obviously wasn’t paying attention to yesterday’s unveiling of iTunes Match, a new iTunes feature that works in conjunction with Apple’s upcoming online service dubbed iCloud. iTunes Match scans your music tracks (regardless of their sources), making matching songs instantly available to all computers and mobile devices without you having to spend weeks to upload gigabytes worth of music to servers. Jobs said yesterday:

With 18 million songs we’re most likely to have what you got.

Apple’s boss also noted that his company will automatically upgrade all matching songs to 256Kbps AAC. On the downside, you cannot stream songs via iCloud – yeah, you read that right. Instead, you are required to manually download iCloud songs that aren’t stored on your iOS device by tapping a tiny cloud icon next to each missing song in the iTunes app before you can actually listen to it in the iPod app. Great, what else should you know?

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If you’re a MobileMe subscriber, prepare for some inconveniences while Apple moves your stuff to its humongous North Carolina datacenter. Between yesterday and this fall, when iCloud becomes available to everyone with iOS 5, some services won’t be available and other may need your attention. Apple outlined what’s to be expected in both a support document and an unreleased guide we uncovered. We’ve spotted another support document, this one related to MobileMe email aliases. So, what’s the deal?

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One of the new iOS features that has been met with great enthusiasm from journalists and developers attending yesterday’s WWDC keynote is AirPlay Mirroring. Apple’s iOS software head honcho Scott Forstall only briefly described it during the keynote talk:

AirPlay Mirroring, you can now mirror your entire iPad 2 right to your television, wirelessly, using Apple TV

Sounds pretty cool and here’s a video of AirPlay Mirroring in action. Check below for more information from Apple and a video showing lag time.

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Yesterday, Apple killed MobileMe and replaced it with the iCloud online services suite which will be available free with iOS 5 this Fall. Apple has published a nice Q&A explaining what the transition means to MobileMe subscribers and how the company plans to go about it. Additionally, a notice at www.me.com/upgrade says that “you’ll be able to upgrade your account to iCloud soon”. With that in mind, you may want to prep your migration ahead of the Apple-imposed June 30, 2012 cut-off time when the MobilMe service will no longer be available. Wondering how? Turns out there’s a leaked document for that!

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iTunes Tone Store has been outed on this slide from yesterday’s keynote.

In addition to the big ones, iOS 5 includes dozens of nice-to-haves that have been given little air time during Apple’s WWDC keynote talk yesterday, excluding passing mention on a group slide. So, what do you see in the above snap? Yeah, it’s Apple’s iOS software chief Scott Forstall zipping through the iOS 5 segment of the keynote. See the iTunes Tone Store mention on the slide? Given Apple already sells 99-cent ringtones on iTunes and they let us create our own 30-second snippets from iTunes purchases, we can’t help but wonder – why do we need yet another store? Plus, a Paal, Belgium-based reader creates a YouTube video as a comment to this article, found at the bottom.

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This is the new default wallpaper in Lion (click for larger)

Yesterday’s on-stage demos of OS X Lion (what, you haven’t heard? They dropped the Mac from OS X) included a fancy new default wallpaper that follows the space theme introduced with Leopard. Want it? Get it here (thanks, Benjad). Matter of fact, you can get all Lion wallpapers as a downloadable ZIP file from It’s all tech.

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Coming this Fall, iOS 5 will bring along a boatload of exciting new stuff designed for the same devices as its predecessor. Specifically, Jobs has confirmed during yesterday’s keynote talk that iOS 5 will run on the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS, iPad and iPad 2 and third- and fourth-generation iPod touch. If history is anything to go by, some of the new features won’t work on older devices due to constrained resources.

Unfortunately, the iOS 5 features page reveals nothing about possible limitations on legacy hardware. Bloggers, however, are beginning to discover what has been implemented in iOS 5 for iPhone 3GS and what features have been stripped away. Take it from a guy in the below clip, “In my opinion, iOS 5 beta works flawlessly on iPhone 3GS”, he concludes. Let’s begin with what works first.

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We’re discovering some very interesting and little advertised new features following yesterday’s unveiling of Apple’s iOS 5 software. For instance, did you know there’s a new setting allowing you to tell your iPhone to blink its LED flash on incoming calls and alerts? We’ve also learned about brand new AssistiveTouch section in Settings where you can control your multi-touch experience and even draw custom gestures. Plus, the four-finger pinch gesture that mimics the functionality of the home button? It’s back!

It originally appeared in the first beta of iOS 4.3, but was disabled in subsequent releases unless you were a registered developer who enabled your device for development in Xcode. Needless to say, the home screen pinch has become a jailbreaker’s favorite tweak and it’s been especially popular with iPad owners because performing multi-fingered gestures felt more natural on the tablet’s larger canvas compared to the iPhone’s smallish screen. Even though Steve Jobs made no mention of them during the keynote talk, Apple has detailed new iPad multitasking gestures on its site:

iOS 5 includes a few new moves and shortcuts to help you get around even quicker on your iPad: Using four or five fingers, swipe up to reveal the multitasking bar, pinch to return to the Home screen, and swipe left or right to switch between apps.

Specifically, Apple featured the home screen pinch twice in their iOS 5 promotional video, seen below (mark 0:28 and 5:43). Now, what about those custom gestures?

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A new developer preview of Safari 5.1 was released yesterday in the Safari Dev Center. Safari 5.1, which ships with Lion in July, will take advantage of GPU acceleration on Windows and enable new HTML5 APIs allowing for the creation of much more sophisticated web apps. In addition to support for the latest CSS3 goodies such Text Emphasis, Vertical Text, Auto-Hyphenation and Transitions and Animations, the 45.3MB download also works with Web Open Font Format and Mathematical Markup Language (MathML). More importantly – and in line with Chrome’s architecture – plug-ins and Safari’s WebKit rendering engine now run in their own process separately of the main Safari process, meaning a misbehaving plug-in or HTML code cannot crash the browser. We’re just getting started, though.

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WWDC 2011 Stories June 6, 2011

With necessary licensing agreements from major music publishers in his pocket, Steve Jobs has taken the wraps off of the new feature that lets you re-download music purchases at no cost, via the iTunes Store app on iOS devices. “For the songs you’ve already bought, we’ve added a purchased button”, Jobs explained. This new section of the iTunes app conveniently lists all your music purchases in one place. From there, tap the cloud icon to download the already purchased track for free.

Your other choice is the automatic downloading feature that grabs your purchases, including free ones, made on your other devices. “This is the first time we’ve seen this in the music industry – no charge for multiple downloads to different devices”, Jobs said. But what about music you already own, which didn’t come from iTunes? And what about that rumored scan and match stuff?

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A Stevenote is in progress at San Francisco’s Moscone West where Apple’s boss and his top lieutenants are on stage, making headlines with a plethora of iOS 5, Lion and iCloud announcements. The keynote has kicked off Apple’s annual developer conference which runs through June 10.

“I get to unveil iCloud”, Jobs said as he announced Apple’s latest online services suite that will replace MobileMe as a go-to solution for all your cloud needs. He argued that the cloud – not your computer  – has now become the hub for your digital life. Keeping all your devices in sync makes us crazy, Jobs observed, adding “We’ve got a great solution to this problem… We’re going to demote the PC and the Mac to just be a device.”

The cloud sync works automatically between iOS devices, PCs and Macs, per Apple’s “It just works” mantra. Any changes in, say, the Calendar or Contacts apps get automatically pushed via the cloud to all of your iOS devices. This is true for any supported app, which includes the recently updated Pages and Keynote apps. Plus, the new Cloud Storage APIs let third-parties write apps that tie with this cloud storage.For instance, you can create a document in Pages for iPhone and it will automagically become available via the cloud on your iPad – they call that Documents in Cloud. Jobs said,

Documents in the Cloud really completes our iOS document storage story. A lot of us have been working for 10 years to get rid of the file system so the user doesn’t have to learn about it.

What else is cool?

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Apple just announced iMessage, a new service designed to facilitate easy exchange of all kinds of messages between iOS 5 devices. iMessages has a boat load of features, including typing indications and read and delivery receipts. Plus, it works with text messages, photos, videos, contacts and supports even group messaging. Messages get pushed to all participants as well as all your iOS 5-compliant devices, allowing you to pick up conversation from iPhone to iPad. Incoming message alerts are delivered via the new Notifications Center so you can continue whatever you’re doing as an unobtrusive notification shows up briefly. Fine print? There’s none as iMessage works over both 3G cellular connections and WiFi networks.

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You can finally take your iOS device out of the box, turn it on and begin using it immediately, Apple said at the WWDC keynote. That’s because you can perform all set ups directly on an iOS device instead of having to hook it up to iTunes via a USB cable. Just swipe your finger over the “Welcome” label and you can perform all first-run set ups and activate it directly. Plus, software updates are also delivered over-the-air (we’ll have to see how that stacks up against our limited data contracts).

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With the news (that we’ve known) that iPhone 4 is the most popular camera on Flickr, Apple’s Scott Forstall unveiled new camera features of iOS 5. It is much faster and you can access it directly from the lock screen! Another steal from some third-party apps: You can use the volume up button to take photos, turn on optional grid lines to align your shots and pinch to zoom instead of using the zoom slider. You can also hold your finger to lock the auto-focus and aut0-exposure settings for higher-quality snaps.

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The rumors were true, iOS 5 will sport a tight Twitter integration. You sign in to your Twitter account in the Settings app and all apps that use Twitter can automatically use the sign-in you provided. You can tweet articles from Safari, videos from the YouTube app, location from maps and more. The Contacts app also works with Twitter, allowing you to grab photos for contacts. Twitter integration will no doubt be one of the more popular iOS 5 features, no doubt..

Scott Forstall is up here on stage at San Francisco’s Moscone West and he just unveiled a new iOS store within a store. It’s called News Stand and appears as a new App Store listing that collects digital magazines and newspapers. Looks kinda neat.

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Image credit: Engadget

Apple has kicked off its highly anticipated San Francisco developer conference with a Stevenote. As we’re  learning more about iOS 5, Lion and iCloud and fastening our seatbelt for a possible “one more thing”, other details emerge as Jobs & Co. provide us with some updates related to Apple’s business metrics. Here are your key takeaways…

• three quarters of all Macs shipped today are notebooks • the Mac App Store has become the #1 place where users get their Mac apps over the past six motnhs • Apple sold 200 million iOS devices to date, which includes iPhones, iPod touches, iPads and Apple TVs • 14 billion app downloads so far2

As Steve Jobs and other Apple executives reveal more product news, we’ll report them in our complete WWDC 2011 coverage. You may also want to follow us @9to5mac for the latest from the keynote.

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Image credit: Engadget

Apple has just confirmed what we’ve been suspecting all along, that the next upcoming Mac OS X revision dubbed Lion will be sold via the Mac App Store as a digital download price at just $29 and weighing in at a whopping four gigabytes. The software won’t retail as a boxed copy variant. It will be available in July for everyone, with developers receiving a preview build at the show, Apple executives confirmed during the keynote talk that kicked off WWDC 2011 here in San Francisco’s Moscone West. Check out our complete WWDC 2011 coverage and follow us @9to5mac as we update you on the latest.

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