Chris Rawson, writing for TUAW:
Mac OS X Hints has discovered that Macs running OS X Lion and registered with iCloud have a hidden "drop box" in the user's Library folder that allows for easy document and file syncing between Macs. A folder within ~/Library (which Lion hides by default) called "Mobile Documents" contains iWork documents synced with iOS devices via iCloud. I saw this article a few weeks back and have been to busy to post it. This gives me a lot of optimism that perhaps, one day, iCloud can replace Dropbox for me. Hopefully within the next year, even.
Software Update Marathon
Today was Apple's largest simultaneous software rollout, ever, or at least for as long as I can remember. In no particular order, these items were released in the past 24 hours: * OS X 10.7.2 - adding iCloud support & other fixes. * OS X 10.7.2 - recovery partition update * iTunes 10.5 - adds iCloud support and is required for iOS 5 * iOS 5.0 - for iPhone 4S, 4, and 3GS * iCloud 1.0 - go to me.com to convert your MobileMe account. I highly recommend you read Serenity Caldwell's iCloud article which should answer any questions you may have about the new service and the transition over to it. * iOS iWork apps: Pages, Numbers, and Keynote - adds iCloud document storage support * iPhoto 9.2 - adds iCloud integration with Photo Stream * Aperture 3.2 - adds iCloud integration with Photo Stream * Cards app - new iOS app * Find Friends app - new iOS app * Airport Utility app - new iOS app * iTunes Trailers app - new iOS app * Newstand store - new iTunes component to support iOS Newstand feature * iMessage network - adds support for iMessages in iOS 5 * Safari 5.1.1 - adds iCloud support and fixes bugs * AppleTV update - adds AirPlay mirroring support & iCloud support And while not released today, some customers have reported as to already having received their iPhone 4S devices early, despite that they were to be delivered on Friday. As a result, retail customers (not just review journalists) are now making use of the new Siri servers with their new iPhone 4S handsets. Whew. Did I miss anything? That is an impressive list. What other technology company has recently pulled off a software rollout on this scale and can report the only complaint from customers has been that downloads were slower than usual (because everyone is downloading the updates currently)?
iPhone 4S Reviews
While you are busy downloading the list of new software from above, take some time to read an excellent review of the iPhone 4S. John Gruber:
This is the easiest product review I’ve ever written. The iPhone 4S is exactly what Apple says it is: just like the iPhone 4, but noticeably faster, with a significantly improved camera, and an impressive new voice-driven feature called Siri. Want to see Siri in action? The Editorial Direction at Macworld, Jason Snell, posted a demo video last night:
This is listed above in the iCloud bullet point, but again, I highly recommend you read Serenity Caldwell's "Getting Started with iCloud". Even if, like me, you feel you are a know-it-all asshole who doesn't need to read anything that begins with the title "Getting Started..." suck it up and do it anyway. Serenity includes a few useful tidbits that even I didn't know about. Also, today's Talk Show episode over on 5by5 with Dan Benjamin and John Gruber dedicated almost all of its time to discussing iOS 5 and the iPhone 4S.
iPhone 4S Upgrade Eligibility
On the subject of the iPhone 4S: I do not plan to buy the 4S, as I am waiting for my AT&T contract to expire in order to switch over to Verizon next summer (or next fall - whenever the iPhone 5 comes out). However, I did use Apple's "eligibility check" web app to see my upgrade availability status. I was puzzled to find that AT&T won't let me buy an iPhone 4S at the subsidized price until February 12, 2012, despite my having bought an iPhone 4 on day 1 one of its release last year. Marco Arment did a bit of wrote an article on this very subject today. Useful stuff. Oh, and no sign of iTunes Match yet. Apple seeded iTunes 10.5.1 to developers last night, which has iTunes Match. I was under the impression that iTunes Match was supposed to roll out alongside the rest of these updates. Perhaps this means that there were a few bugs yet to be worked out still. Apple is probably focusing on those now, to hopefully have iTunes 10.5.1 out to customers by Friday (alongside the iPhone 4S launch) or perhaps next week?
My good friend Wayne Dixon has posted his combined OS X Lion & Lion Server review. Server contains a few neat features I was not aware of, as I've always just used the retail version. Definitely worth checking out.
This morning, shortly after Lion hit the App Store for the general public, I posted a link to several notable reviews of Lion where you can read all about the nit-picky details that have changed or been added/removed. I won't attempt to write a comprehensive review of my own, simply because people like John Siracusa will do a much better job at it than I will. One notable new feature of the operating system that I would like to point out though, is the new recovery partition that Lion makes when it installs itself. Apple has posted an entire knowledge base article detailing how this process works:
OS X Lion includes a new feature called Lion Recovery that includes all of the tools you need to reinstall Lion, repair your disk, and even restore from a Time Machine backup without the need for optical discs. A lot of people noted that the new Mac Minis released this morning no longer contain optical drives built-in. Jim Dalrymple actually managed a brief interview with Brian Croll, Apple's vice president of OS X product marketing who told Jim: A new Mac mini was also released with faster processors, and surprisingly to some people, no optical drive. Apple said the popularity of the Mac App Store helped with that decision. “We found that the majority of customers don’t use the optical drive on a regular basis,” said Moody. “Things are changing. The primary use for the optical drive was to install software, but the Mac App Store provides a more efficient method for doing that.” Clearly Apple is not afraid to eliminate components that customers don't regularly use in order to take advantage of the extra space to add new hardware on the inside. They first did this with the MacBook Air, and now the Mini. As John Gruber says: Optical drives are the new floppy drives.
John Siracusa has released his OS X 10.7 Lion Review. In case you aren't aware, John Siracusa is the king of Apple OS reviews. The PDF of his review is 105 pages long and has a table of contents for pete's sake. A Kindle Edition is available for $4.99 to get the article all on one page. Other notable Lion reviews that are out: 1. Shawn Blanc's review, "OS X Lion". 2. Benjamin Brooks, The Brooks Review, "Time for the Big Cat". 3. Jason Snell, Editor in Chief at Macworld Magazine, "Apple Mac OS X 10.7 (Lion)". 4. Wayne Dixon, a friend of mine, reviews both Lion and Lion Server in a combined review. 5. Not really a complete review per say, but a brief commentary, Matthew Guay wrote on tech inch, "First Thoughts on Mac OS X Lion". In addition to Lion being released, Apple released new MacBook Airs, new Mac Minis, and a new Thunderbolt Cinema display. I've been using Lion since early May, due to the fact that I'm an Apple developer and I've had access to the developer previews since earlier this year. Developer Preview 3 and 4 were stable enough for me to run as my main machine, with the GM Seed (retail version) having been released 2 weeks ago, it was just icing on the cake. My system has been very stable, with perhaps the only app to semi-regularly crash being Chrome, which was the norm for me on Snow Leopard as well. I highly recommend Lion. Mission Control, Launchpad, Versions, the recovery partition, the new About This Mac panel, I could go on and on. This is a good upgrade. Get it.
Quickly enter (and exit) “jiggly app mode” in Lion’s LaunchPad One of Lion’s new features is called LaunchPad, and it is essentially the Springboard home screen from iOS, adapted for organizing and launching apps on the Mac. Similar to iOS, you can click-hold on any app icon to enter app organization mode, also non-technically known as “jiggly mode”. But to get in and out of this mode even more quickly, you can simply hold the Option key. Icons will jiggle while the key is depressed, so you can move them between pages, drag them onto each other to create folders, and delete them. Let go of Option and your changes are saved. Someone with better video editing skills than I needs to cut together a short 30 second music video of the icons dancing to latin music by hitting the option key to time the icons' 'dancing' to the music. Free idea. You're welcome.
Serenity Caldwell, writing for Macworld:
… Lion is coming. To prepare us for the changes ahead, Apple has posted a big summary on its website listing all of the more than 250 new features present in this version of OS X—but let’s be reasonable: As excited as you might be, you don’t have time to read up on every single one. Instead, let us do the work for you, and highlight some of the coolest new tricks your Mac will be able to turn in Lion. Go read over the 5 obscure features Serenity has written about. I think she did a good job at picking 5 crucial features not covered in the presentation from WWDC. I've seen and used all 5 of these in the developer preview I'm running and can attest to how well they work.