Apple readies three major software unveilings


— 9:33 AM on May 31, 2011

Not one to have the spotlight taken away from it, Apple has announced that, on the Monday following Computex—that's June 6—it will unleash a barrage of new software upon attendees of its Worldwide Developer Conference. Apple expects to unveil the next version of Mac OS X, Lion, as well as the next version of its mobile operating sytem, iOS 5, and an "upcoming cloud services offering" called iCloud.

Steve Jobs previewed Mac OS X 10.7 Lion back in October of last year. The new OS looks designed to bridge the gap between OS X and iOS in terms of user interface, with an iPad-like application grid, new multi-touch gestures, and revamped window and workspace management. At the time, Jobs said the new operating system would be out this summer. Perhaps the June 6 keynote will see Jobs announce either the immediate availability or the release date for Lion.

I'm more curious to see what iOS 5 holds, since Apple has lost some ground to Android recently on the functionality front. According to Electronista, iOS 5 will bring "widgets" and a revamped notification system—two features straight out of the Android playbook. I wouldn't be surprised to see Apple dress up iOS 5 further to snazz it up in comparison to Android 3.0 and the user interface from RIM's PlayBook.

That leaves iCloud, which according to a piece by BusinessWeek, will be akin to a "digital locker" where users can store their music collections online. That sounds like Google Music and Amazon's Cloud Drive, but I would expect Apple to have stronger backing from record labels and perhaps to offer the service internationally.

   
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