June 6, 2011 – Apple has made its annual announcement of this year’s new offerings and upgrades to the tech-savvy Apple developers today.  Steve Jobs came back from medical leave for the reports at the conference leading the way with this year’s newest hype.

iCloud, OSX Lion, iTunes Match feature, iOS 5 announced, but no new iPhone.

In trying to fix the under-used MobileMe program services which Apple admitted “wasn’t our finest hour,” iCloud will do many of the same things, syncing calendars, contacts, pictures, etc., and offering automatic back up that will be automatically distributed to your other Apple devices like an iPhone, iPad, and MacBook computer.  The service will cost $24.99 instead of the Mobile Me price of $99 per year.  While the iCloud is out in beta, the full cloud’s data center in North Carolina won’t be operational until sometime this fall.

Apple’s Match service is a breakthrough in enjoying your favorite music and movies on all your devices.  They say it will operate by scanning your device, and adding your music and movie content to your cloud account without a user having to upload it.  So if you’ve purchased content from iTunes or already had a song on your computer from your old CD collection, it will now appear in your iCloud account available for your enjoyment on your other Apple devices in live streaming format.  Some advantages, if you have a rather poor quality version of a song, your steaming iCloud will give you the high-quality song to enjoy to your heart’s content.

Apple’s new Game Center, already operational, has exceeded 50 million users in just nine months, sending a strong message to Microsoft’s Xbox Live and Sony’s PlayStation Network that they no longer have a strong dominance in gaming.  While games on iPhones and iPads generally do not have the overall highest quality graphics or depth, that gap is narrowing as users accept those limitations for the trade-off of being portable and simple.

Other new updates and rollouts for the iOS  platform include:

  • Push notification made more straightforward and more reliable for syncing.
  • The camera is faster and has more user controls for editing.
  • iPhone and iPad users can activate their devices without plugging into a computer.
  • Twitter is integrated into the OS.

Apple now claims 54 million Mac users, 200 million iPhones, iPads, and iTouch devices sold including 25 million iPads sold since 2010.  Noticeably absent from all the buzz was an announcement for the release of a new iPhone.

The OS X Lion platform is ready for release from Apple for $24.99 in July, bringing what Apple calls a more intuitive user experience at faster speeds.

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