While much has been made over Apple’s uncharacteristic pre-conference spilling of the beans regarding the impending announcement of a new, web-based service called iCloud, no one really knows what this “amazing,” “fantastic” and “magical” new service is going to look, feel or sound like — and won’t — until Steve Jobs unveils it to the audience at San Francisco’s Moscone West auditorium next week.
Still, we can put together a reasonable idea of the service iCloud will provide based upon Lala, the streaming music service Apple bought back in 2009. Assuming that Apple is basing iCloud on Lala and filling in the blanks with the latest industry reports and rumors, here’s a complete overview of what we think iCloud will look like when it’s announced on Monday.
I feel pretty bad about yesterday’s post about the iPad 3 being the one to make a song and dance about. I’m sure the iPad 3 will be great when it comes out, but for right now, the iPad 2 is a great upgrade. This is not a ho-hum update, as our anonymous Apple staffer suggested.
It’s a rockstar from Mars update. It runs on tigerblood.
The slimmed-down weight and bulk make a big difference. It’s much easier to hold and handle. It’s pretty astonishing that Apple managed to cram in so more, yet made the case so incredibly thin. That is rockstar engineering.
The cameras should have been in there all along, of course, but the addition now makes the iPad much closer to feature-complete.
But the real magic of the device is the integration of hardware and software. Look at the piano in Garageband. You tickle the virtual keys softly and it plays softly. But hammer on them and you sound like Little Richard. The iPad 2’s screen is touch-sensitive, thanks to the built-in accelerometer, which tells the iPad how hard you are touching the screen. Watch the video of it in action here. It really is pretty astonishing!
Without that integration of hardware and software, other tablets are just fancy digital picture frames, as Wired’s Brian Chen noted on Twitter.
The iPad 2 is pure Apple: it proves that Apple is its own most ruthless competitor. Overnight, 15 million first-generation iPads were rendered obsolete.
Apple’s competitors are dead in the water. Steve Jobs is a master of hyperbole, but this time he’s right. There’s no doubt about it: 2011 is the year of the iPad 2.
UPDATE: The big question about a streaming-only iPhone is apps: How will users download apps? My source compared it to the second-generation Apple TV, which is a streaming-only device but includes 8GB of onboard memory (for the OS and buffering media). “I’m not 100% sure on the amount of memory available for the user,” he said. “I know there is some memory but it acts more like the memory on the AppleTV. There is some there, I’m just not sure how much.”
We have more detail on Apple’s iPhone nano, which according to Sunday’s Wall Street Journal is real and may be headed to market this year.