Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Technology Updates: iOS 5, iCloud, and Tips on Buying Electronics

A few updates for you today. First off is the rumblings from Apple: a new operating system for iPhones and iPads is on the way. What does that mean? A number of improvements:

  • Better notifications
  • Integration with Twitter (which is huge--and a big blow for Facebook, who had been rumored to be in the mix for this sort of thing with Apple)
  • A way to text people without paying for texts (assuming you both have iPads or iPhones)
  • Tabbed browsing to Safari
  • The ability to update your iPad/iPhone without connecting it to a computer (at last!)
The next update is also Apple-related: iCloud. In a nutshell, Apple is entering the cloud fray at last. What's the cloud? It's the current trend to move your documents, music, pictures and more off your hard drive and on to the internet. Amazon's doing it. Google's doing it. And now Apple's joining up. With iCloud, you can write something on your iPad, and it's automatically also on your computer, or your iPhone, or whatever. Take a picture with your iPhone, and it gets pushed other places, too. More importantly, with iCloud, Apple will let you get access to cloud-based copies of all the music you own--for $25 a year. This is actually pretty huge. Amazon and Google weren't able to pull it off. With them, they'll let you upload all your music to their cloud service. When you're talking about tens of GB of data, that's a lot of time. With Apple's offering, you just show them what music you have, and they give you access to that music on their servers. No uploading required. Worth $25? Time will tell.

Finally, here's a link to a good New York Times article about where you should focus your attention when buying new electronics. Highly recommended reading, especially to people who aren't as confident in their tech-buying kung fu.

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