30 Minute obsessions is a podcast—perhaps soon one day to return—but meanwhile enjoy these miscellaneous thoughts in the blog!

Reaction to WWDC

So, WWDC! Lots of interesting news and views. What was especially interesting to me was the core philosophy behind iCloud. It's what I've been waiting for. I'm glad to see it.

Herein are views on how I currently use my computers and how iOS, iCloud, and OS X factor into them.

I don't care about OS X Lion because the desktop is dead to me.

Well, not dead dead but close. The essence of the matter is that that day is nearer in the future than one might expect. The reason is that I use my MacBook Pro using OS X Snow Leopard less and my iPad (in particular) and iPhone more. I write more on my iPad and—get this—I surf more on my iPad than my laptop. I have even taken to surfing the internets with my iPad even though my laptop is open in front of me. No joke.

I have no doubt that, soon enough, I'll use my Mac merely to launch World of Warcraft and nothing else. I've long said this—it's just becoming more truthful, little by little, day by day.
'demoting the PC and the Mac to just be a "device" just like iPhone, iPad, iPod touch' 

Jobs said that during the WWDC keynote. I've thought the same should be true for awhile now and this is the central concept behind iCloud that's particularly compelling. There does not need to be a master device that all other devices need to be physically married to. Nor should there be, if one can avoid it.

iOS 5

Oodles of new features. Let's go down the list. (Get the full list here.) I'll go in the same order as Apple presents them.

Good—but late. Basically, this feature is that when you get a notification (text message, FourSquare notification, push message, &c.) it won't completely stop whatever was going on and stay there until you dismiss it. File this under "why wasn't this changed years ago?" column.

Personally, this will affect me a great deal since I get a lot of notifications from a variety of sources. And that's fine, I like them else I wouldn't have them enabled. The problem is when I'm doing something else, a notification cockblocks any further activity at all on the device until the notification is dealt with. That's utterly retarded. I've taken to reading Twitter in the shower (using the brilliant app Trickle) and whenever there's a notification I have to stick my hand outside the shower to dismiss it.

What is this, the middle ages? C'mon!

Excellent! This is, as I'm told, BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) for Apple. It's free unlimited texting including images and video to and from any iOS device. Simple as that.

This will directly benefit me because I text with Canadians using Beluga for free. The problem with Beluga is that it's as flaky as Hell and every time I use it there's a connection issue of some sort. This will enable reliable communications internationally and—critically—for free, so this is excellent.

Good. This collects all periodical subscriptions on iTunes into one place. This will increase the number of things I subscribe to simply because I'll notice things on the 'stand that I wouldn't have seen otherwise.

OK. I just love the graphic design of this but I'm not sure how much I'll actually use it. I've tried in the past to use such things but I can't stick with it. I usually use my inbox as a to-do list. However, good graphic design has gotten me to use things I didn't think I'd use, so Reminders may yet find a place in my heart.

Great! I use Twitter quite a lot so this is a big win for me.

Great! The big deal here is that you can get quick access to the camera from the lock screen—and snap a pic using the volume up button.

Ironically, the app Camera+ (which I bought) was briefly banned from the App Store because it enabled the user to snap a pic using the volume up button. The reason for the yank was that it created user confusion. Heh.

Honestly, I don't care. I haven't used Camera+ more than five times since I bought it. What I do care about most is being able to get to the camera from the lock screen. That's bad ass and worth it right there.

I don't get it. You can now crop and red eye reduce pics natively within iOS. One would think this would make a bunch of simple image editing apps (like Photoshop Express, which I use a great deal) obsolete immediately.

No. Here's now: For some reason that defies logic, you snap a pic with Camera—but then you edit it in Photos, a different application. So…you have to launch a separate app to edit whether you're using Photos or Photoshop Express or Camera+ or whatever. So Apple is competing on features, right? All those other apps already have more features than Photos. So why would anyone ever use Photos? For anything? Ever?

Photoshop Express will continue to have a place. Unless the Photos UI is better. (Which, actually, it might be. We'll have to see…)

Good. I use Safari more than anything anywhere. Any change to it is going to have a profound impact on how I interact with the world.

The big news here is tabbed browsing (which Mercury (and others) have had for a long time). I'll get 'round to using it, sure, but not having it has not prevented the iOS version of Safari from being my primary browser.

The lesser news is Reader and Reading List. They combine to duplicate the effects of Instantpaper, which I use a good deal. Will such integration into Safari mean I won't use Instantpaper any more? Yes. It means exactly that. Why should I launch a separate app when I don't have to? (You hear that, Camera and Photos?)

Utterly Fantabulous! I have screamed to the heavens asking why! Why must we tolerate a world where we have to physically connect to sync? Why isn't it done over wi-fi? Well, come iOS 5, that long national nightmare will be over. I cannot can not wait for this.


Oh, yeah, iCloud! I almost forgot.

The short story is that iCloud, not an individual device, is responsible for maintaining a master copy of your apps, books, mail, contacts, calendars, documents, music (if you want), and more.

This is the part where your Mac is "demoted" to just another device alongside an iPad and iPhone. It's no more responsible than anything else. Yet, like everything else, can manipulate that content and share the changes with everyone else through iCloud.

I'm most excited about document storage, specifically versioning through Pages. Not having to download then re-upload distinct copies of specific documents every time they're opened will be a treat.

And in conclusion…

I'm quite looking forward to iOS 5. I'm sad that it's not coming out until fall (prolly when the next iPhone is coming out) but it'll get here soon enough!

What happened here?!

Why I no longer listen to NPR