The Quieter Announcements of the “Let’s Talk iPhone” Event
By now you've heard about the iPhone 4S announcement, possibly through our article about Apple's newest smartphone. However, the star of the show was not the only announcement, so here are a few other announcements that were served along side the main entrée this morning. Let's talk iCloud, iPod, iOS, and more.
We've known about iCloud since its announcement earlier this year. What we didn't know, however, was when we'd be able to use it. A week from tomorrow, on October 12th, the service will launch alongside iOS 5 (covered later in this article). On that date, iCloud's data pipes will open and calendars, documents, photos, and more will start to pour in as customers gain free access to 5GB of storage and begin syncing their data.
iTunes Match, Apple's competitor to recent product launches from Amazon, Google, and more, is closely linked to iCloud. The $24.99/year music service scans your iTunes library and takes note of purchases made from iOS devices and provides you with constant access to the same music located on Apple servers. Unfortunately, Apple customers will need to wait an extra few weeks before gaining access to the service—iTunes Match is slated for the end of October in the U.S.
The release of iOS 5 has also loomed on the horizon since the upgrade's reveal. 3Gs and iPhone 4 owners, 3rd and 4th generation iPod Touch users, and both versions of the iPad will have access to the new operating system on October 12th. The folks over at This Is My Next (soon to be The Verge) did a great write up of the most exciting features included in iOS 5 for those interested.
Several years back, folks were amazed at the genius app, "Siri." It served as a personal assistant on the go, and connected to tons of databases. Simple voice commands allowed access to directions, restaurant reservations, calendar appointment creation, and more. Interest from Apple eventually led to a buyout of the company and a disappearance from the App Store. Now Siri lovers can rejoice, as the application is making a triumphant return in beta form. Right now it will be limited to the iPhone 4S, but we will likely see it spread to other platforms soon enough.
The reports of a possible iPod death were exaggerated. Apple announced a new white version of the iPod touch and a price drop to $199 for the 8GB model—a sub $200 price tag on the device makes it an easy sell during the upcoming Christmas season, especially when combined with the extra features the device will see with the release of iOS 5.
The iPod nano is also seeing some changes. The icons on the device can be shown one at a time instead of four a time, with swipe navigation between each. Exercise buffs will enjoy the Fitness app which no longer requires Nike+. Finally, if you're a fan of accessories that turn the nano into a watch, you'll be happy to hear that 16 additional clock styles will be included in the Clock app. Like its older sibling the touch, the nano is seeing a price drop. The 8 GB is available for $129 with the 16 GB weighing in at $149.
No news on the iPod shuffle, but it still made an appearance in the presentation, so it doesn't seem to be going anywhere.
While not as exciting (for most people) as the other news we heard this morning, the Cards app might be the most unique. For $2.99 in the US and $4.99 outside of it, iOS devices can now send greeting cards via snail mail. Photos are combined with templates from categories within the app. Once created, Apple sends them out to whatever address you'd like. Deliveries to US addresses are accompanied by push notifications once the envelope arrives at its destination. You'll find the app as a free download, available October 12th.