At WWDC: Convergence of OS X Lion and iOS 5?

Ronny Kerr · June 6, 2011 · Short URL:

Apple's Developers Conference could herald the future of technology, seamlessly desktop and mobile

As every tech nerd and his tech nerd mother know, today is the first day of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference 2011. Right now, there’s an epic line outside of Moscone Center in San Francisco as developers, geeks and media wait in thrilled anticipation for CEO Steve Jobs’ keynote at 10am PT, when we’ll all get to see “a preview of the future of iOS and and Mac OS X.”

We know the big news will have something to do with OS X Lion, iOS 5 and iCloud. But what exactly?

First unveiled at a special “Back to the Mac” event last October, Lion is one of the three we already know quite a bit about. The eighth major release of Mac OS X comes packaged with a host of new features, including AirDrop for Mac-to-Mac file sharing, FaceTime and the Mac App Store, a redesigned Finder and revamped applications.

More deeply, however, OS X Lion is expected to better align the heretofore distinct experiences of Apple on the desktop (Mac) and on mobile (iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch). What that means exactly remains unclear. But the fact that Lion is in the WWDC spotlight alongside iOS 5 and iCloud all but assures that Jobs will today be presenting a twist on iComputing that aims for a more seamless experience of our content and services.

At a surface level, that might mean something like a touchscreen interface on Lion. That’s a little far-fetched for now, though. Perhaps we’ll see something like cross-platform applications, uniting the mobile and Mac app stores. But those are just shot-in-the-dark guesses.

The next generation of Apple’s mobile browser, iOS 5, will have to tide over developers and consumers alike, because the evidence seems clear: the iPhone 4 successor has not yet arrived. Though other details are often scant, usually it is well known when a new iPhone is being manufactured.

What new features we’ll see on the mobile OS is anyone’s guess. We can always count on speed updates and UI refinements, but the biggest rumor right now as far as actual features go is OS-level Twitter integration. Personally, that doesn’t sound very Apple to me, but you never know.

Then there’s iCloud, which is widely expected to be Apple’s take on cloud storage platforms already launched by Amazon (two months ago) and Google (one month ago). While users will likely upload any files they wish to the server, all eyes are on how Apple will handle the swampy copyright matter for music uploads.

Will users be able to upload their entire music collections, pirated or not? Does Apple have deals with just one of the major music labels, or all four? Details of that sort will make all the difference and could decide the continued success of both Apple’s music store and its mobile offering in general.

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