Apple: slick as ever

Apple: slick as everWe love to hate/hate to love Apple as much as the next guy. On the one hand, the Californians often come across as smug gits, and refuse to hang out with their peers. CES? Mobile World Congress? Pfft. It’s all about WWDC and whatever ad hoc events Apple puts together (when it’s good and ready).

On the other hand, there’s no denying the sexiness of the iPad. I recently asked a few friends – fairly technical people – if they could name any tablets other than the iPad, and the question was invariably met with a blank stare. And you literally couldn’t pay my OSX-using brothers to go back to Windows.

While I’m jerking Apple off, let’s remind ourselves that their ridiculous market share is based on one phone. That’s compared to scores of Android devices and a multitude of BlackBerry phones.

Having said that, when I was tasked with following the iOS 5 announcement on Monday, I contemplated both hats – cynic and fan – and decided I wasn’t overly excited about WWDC.

However, the more Scott Forstall talked about the top 10 new features, the more I found my icy attitude melting. Don’t get me wrong here; it’s not that I think iOS 5 looks particularly great (lots of the features have been nicked straight from Android and Windows Phone 7), but it’s almost like Apple has been – shock horror – listening to feedback.

It was merely hours before WWDC got underway that one Mobotnik bemoaned the need to download iTunes simply to activate his nephew’s iPad, a perfect example of Apple being obstinate and forcing customers to play by its rules. Want to activate your shiny new iPad or iPhone? You will download iTunes. Why? Just because. Don’t have a computer? Tough.

But fast forward to 7pm(ish) and Scott Forstall lifted the lid on feature number seven: PC Free. Now you can activate your new Apple goodies out of the box. About friggin’ time. You can also get OTA software updates. Granted, that’s hardly an entirely new concept, but a welcome change nonetheless.

We’re also really digging the idea of using the Volume Up button for taking pictures. Of course, as Joe Belfiore was keen to remind us, the few dozen early adopters of Windows Phone 7 can already do so.

iCloud looks pretty sweet too, though it’s yet another case of Apple taking a bunch of existing services and shining them up for the masses. Still, it’s hard to get mad at Steve when he looks so frail. Damn you, you idea-stealing genius.

Read more about: iOS

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