When I queued in the morning at about 4 I was around number 270 in line. That landed me a seat in the back third of the largest of the conference rooms of the Moscone Center, called Presidio. Which is weird, because Steve told us that 1500 people made it into the room. But hey, I was there, great success for my first WWDC.
Let me give you a quick summary of what we saw, as all of this is public knowledge and not under NDA. For the remaining sessions I am unfortunately bound by the NDA. Also – while I was on fire tweeting like crazy – I got stopped dead by Twitter which suddenly started to tell me that I cannot tweet any more as @Cocoanetics, I should wait for a couple of hours. So I had to switch to my personal account @OliverDrobnik to finish reporting.
The big three items to be discussed had been already pre-announced: OSX Lion, iOS 5 and iCloud.
The Lion part showed of mostly things that we had seen before in the previews. Many things that had been pioneered on iOS and there especially on the iPad we now find as integral part of the OS. But for the most part I must say they enhance the productivity and fun you have working on a Mac. Not like Windows 8 which looks mostly gimmicky.
Details about iOS 5 had been a closely guarded secret right up til today. That changed totally. iOS 5 revamps and enhances many of the things you had before: Magazines finally have a central place to be put, subscription and background downloading. I hope that this ushers in an end for the endless magazine apps where the programming does not give you any true benefit and it’s actually the content you want to get to.
The first, most cheered about feature, was a total revamp of the notifications interface. No longer do these interrupt you, but you can get to your notifications just by swiping down from the status bar. If a new notification comes in you see a small preview at the top, but don’t have to interrupt your game.
There are tons of more features, I only want to highlight one more: you now can make photos really quickly by tapping a shortcut button from the lock screen, even when PIN-locked. You can make photos but the previous ones are protected.
Ok, there’s another amazing thing: when you buy a new iPhone you no longer need to activate it via iTunes. You only enter your iCloud credentials and it sets up your device then and there. How amazing is that?!
Now finally iCloud is the most amazing as well as bold move Apple did in a long time. Not only is it FREE, in addition to the existing 3 web apps you get a long list of extra benefits. I love how it basically keeps all your devices in synch all the time. Buy an app on one device and you see it in your list of purchases on all others. Buy a book or song and you have it available on the other devices as well.
There is one feature of iCloud where you see that Apple had to draw a line: Photostream. Bascially it’s the last 1000 photos you made and after 30 days those get deleted from Apple’s servers. But that should be plenty of time to have that synched to your Mac/PC devices for safekeeping. And you can always move a photo to an album to keep it.
iCloud will be FREE and is basically replacing MobileMe. So if you already have an @me account you are set.
There was “one more thing”: for just $25 you get to scan your existing music library and iTunes will make all the Songs available in your “iTunes in the Cloud”. So you don’t have to upload your files for days and also iTunes upgrades everything to 256kbit arc. Amazing, I have to get that. Google has not announced pricing yet, Amazon charges you $200 for 20,000 songs.
So all in all, the moved through the boring stuff at a quick rate and the interesting stuff continuously amazed people. Lots of clapping and cheering. Although the volume of clapping noticeably decreased towards the end: but only because people could not type and clap at the same time.