By: Hillel Fuld
Yesterday, just in case you were not online, was Apple’s annual WWDC event. I wrote how Apple’s announcements won’t really change anything for the industry. I was wrong! The enhancements Apple made to iOS, Mac OS, and the entire Apple ecosystem were, yes I am using this word, revolutionary. I tweeted the announcements as they happened, so if you want to get up to date before reading this post, you can read my tweets here. You can also read about iOS 5 on Apple.com here.
There are over 200 new features in iOS 5, 250 in OSX Lion, and the new iCloud service, so suffice to say, despite the lack of a new iPhone, yesterday’s event wowed pretty much everyone. I would love to single out one feature that is the most game-changing for me in iOS 5, but unfortunately, I am unable to, as there are so many that will change the way I use my iOS devices. Notifications is a huge one, but so is the new Mail interface, the new iMessage platform, the enhancements Apple made to the camera and its feature set, as well as the full and deep Twitter integration into iOS 5. The list goes on and on, Apple did a great job with this release.
What is really interesting is that the new iOS, with all its features will essentially lead me and many other users to delete different apps that prior to iOS 5, provided a certain functionality that is now part of the operating system itself. In fact, take a look at this post, 8 Apps That Should Have Been Part of iOS and Apple Should Now Buy, I wrote a few months back, seems like Apple was listening… Except Apple did not buy these companies/apps, they essentially destroyed them.
Just to clarify, I do not really believe that apps like Dropbox or Instagram, with their millions of users, will really close up shop tomorrow, but I do believe they will suffer from the new integrated features of iOS 5. More people will use iCloud instead of Dropbox as well as the integrated photo sharing/editing capabilities instead of using Instagram. I would have been a lot happier if Apple would have gone on a shopping spree and snatched up all these amazing companies, but as a consumer, I am very excited to try all the new features included in iOS 5.
The following is a list of app categories, represented by one example, that will surely suffer from the new and integrated features in iOS 5, which Steve Jobs announced yesterday:
1: Boxcar (Notification Apps): One of my all time favorite apps, not because it is great, but because it was needed. All my notifications including email, Twitter, Facebook, and many others are pushed to me using Boxcar. The new Notification Center on iOS will in fact kill this app. I see no reason to continue using Boxcar in iOS 5. Sad to say it since it really did the job, but bye bye Boxcar, hello Notification Center.
2: Dropbox (Cloud syncing apps): Dropbox will not die because it is cross-platform and enables you to sync between all mobile platforms, as well as PC or Mac. Having said that, its iPhone app will no longer be needed thanks to iCloud. Again, a much beloved app that I have used and has saved me on many occasions, but it is time to go. I wish it had been an acquisition, but alas, bye bye Dropbox, hello iCloud.
3: WhatsApp/Kik (Free messaging apps): Again, these apps will not really die because they are cross platform, but I do expect iMessage to absolutely slaughter BBM and any and all uses of these apps on iOS, not to mention its affect on SMS. With the deep integration of iMessage, I see no need for any free messaging app on my iPhone, do you? Bye bye WhatsApp, Kik, and all other free messaging apps, hello iMessage.
4: QuickPix (Camera- enhancing apps): This one truly hurts me. I have not touched the Apple Camera app for months. QuickPix is an awesome app by an awesome developer. However, the new camera loads faster than before, and has extra functionality not found in QuickPix, such as a hardware button (the volume button) and photo editing capabilities. As much as I loved you, bye bye QuickPix, hello new Camera.
5: Instapaper (Read later apps): This also falls under the category of “Will not die but will suffer greatly”. Instapaper or any other app that enables you to save articles on the Web for later consumption, is a product no longer needed with iOS 5. You see, the new Safari has a feature that enables you to add the web page you are currently viewing to the “Reader” section. Yep, Apple pretty much added its own Instapaper, although again, why not just buy the company? Bye bye Instapaper, hello new and improved Safari.
6: Twitpic (not an app): Well, this is to be expected. Twitter launched its own photo service, but that was all nice in theory until iOS 5 integrated it deep into the OS. Yes, now you take a photo with an iOS device and tweet it, can you guess which photo service iOS uses to host and share your photos? Nope, it aint Twitpic or any of the others, it is the Twitter photo service. Well, after all the hype about Twitpic owning my photos, I am happy to say, bye bye Twitpic, hello Twitter.
7: Remember the Milk (Reminder apps): I have to say, I tried many reminder apps, and somehow always ended up writing my items down in the Notes app. All the other apps just seemed like overkill to me. Now, Apple added Reminders to iOS, and from what I can tell, it is just what I need. I am sure some of the more advanced users will say Reminders is not enough for them, but I can safely say, I will be using Reminders on a daily basis. Bye bye, task management apps, hello Reminders.
8: Photoshop Express (Photo Editing apps): This was a great app for what it was. It provided basic editing functionality to spice up and modify your iPhone’s photos. Well, guess what Apple just added to the Camera app? Editing abilities. Again, it is not Photoshop, but it does the job better than any other mobile editing app I have seen. So, I can’t say I have really used you too often, but bye bye Photoshop Express, hello enhanced Camera app.
9: Echofon/Tweetdeck (Twitter apps): Over the years, I have done extensive testing of pretty much all Twitter apps for iOS. First of all, I can safely say, there is no great Twitter app for iPad. There are many good ones, like Echofon, Tweetdeck. Osfoora, Tweetings, and others, but none are the ultimate Twitter app. On iPhone, there are many solid options, but for me, Echofon was always the best. I think it is time to say goodbye to all these apps with iOS 5 coming with Twitter deeply integrated. Yes, you shoot a photo and tap Tweet, volla, tweeted. Let’s be honest, is anyone really going to bother opening up a 3rd party app anymore? Bye bye Twitter apps, hello iOS Twitter integration.
10: Instagram (Photo Sharing apps) First, let me just say, I love Instagram, always have from day one. It is not a revolutionary app that will make anyone say “Wow”, but it does the job and it does it well. It is in my opinion the ultimate proof that when it comes to apps, simplicity wins. However, with the new photo sharing capabilities, Instagram will suffer. It will not die, because after all, it is launching on Android soon (right, Kevin?). No, but seriously, it has more functionality than what is included in iOS 5 such as filters and more sharing options than just Twitter. Having said that, something tells me most Instagramers use the app to share to Twitter and that is going to stop with the native Twitter integration in iOS 5. Putting Instagram aside, bye bye to the majority of photo sharing apps, hello iOS Twitter integration.
11: Pulse (Reader apps): I am a huge fan of Pulse, Flyscreen, Flipboard, Flud, and many other reader apps, but they are all in trouble. The new Safari has a Reader section that essentially takes the Web page you are viewing and turns it into a page of a magazine. No mess and no hassle. Why open another app when I can have a reader experience directly in Safari? Now, let’s calm down a bit here. Flipboard is not dead, far from it. The experience is unparalleled and is not the same as the Reader in Safari. Having said that, I am sure these apps, every single one of them, will see a significant decrease in traffic on iOS devices. Some of them, like Flyscreen and Pulse are available on other platforms. Others are not. So, I guess this is not goodbye, but good luck to Pulse, Flipboard, Flyscreen, and the rest of the crowded reader app arena.
12: iChromy (Browsers): I have been using iChromy on iPad since I first discovered it. Why? The tabbed browsing is fantastic. Same is true for many other browsers that offer tabbed browsing similar to the desktop experience. They are all dead! Safari has a lot of new features, but the new tab functionality looks amazing, and will surely return the throne of best mobile browser to Safari, its rightful owner. Bye bye, tabbed iOS browsers, hello Safari 2.0.
13: Wifi Photo (Wifi syncing apps): So many apps have been developed to overcome the challenge of wirelessly syncing the photos you take with your iPhone with your computer. Wifi Photo is my favorite. They can all be eulogized today. With iCloud, your photos are synced automatically to the cloud and available for download from any device. Apple did not only make these wireless syncing apps obsolete, it actually beat them at their own game. iCloud if it works as advertised, will be the ultimate wireless syncing solution for iOS devices. Bye bye photo syncing apps, hello iCloud.
14: Dictionary (Translation apps): OK, iOS has a new dictionary option built in. Nothing else to say here. No more need for translation apps, with WordLens being the only exception I can think of. So, bye bye dictionary apps, hello iOS 5.
15: Gmail (Web app): I hate the Web app on my iPhone, there, I said it. I use Gmail on the Web regularly, whether it is for a better search, better organization of messages, or other features lacking in the Apple native Mail app. No more! The new Mail has better threading, better search, a better design, and a whole list of new features, such as the ability to flag messages and write in rich text formatting. I have not tried it yet, but something tells me I will not be needing Google’s Gmail Web app any more. Bye bye Gmail on the Web, hello new Mail app on iOS 5, happy to have you.
16: Find my iPhone: Well this is a no brainer, Apple added this to the iOS registration process. See TheNextWeb’s first look at iOS 5 and notice the screen to enable Find My iPhone functionality. OK, being as this was an app provided by Apple, I guess this is big deal, although it is yet another app I can now delete off my iPhone thanks to iOS 5. So, bye bye Find my iPhone app, hello new iOS feature.
17: iTunes!! Well I know I said I cannot choose one feature of iOS as the best, but if I had to, if you were really holding a gun to my head, well this would be my choice. For the first time ever, you can now own an iOS device, without a computer. No more need for iTunes and all that wasted syncing time. You can set up the device wirelessly, back up your files wirelessly, and sync your device wirelessly. This is huge. I have two words for you, Apple. Good riddance. And here are some more words I have been waiting to say for a long time. Bye bye iTunes, hello wireless syncing. I don’t know you yet but I think I love you!
That’s all folks, 17 apps I use regularly along with millions of other people, and will no longer have a place on my iOS devices. Some I am sad to see go, others less, but at the end of the day, Apple hit this one out of the park with iOS 5 and iCloud. No mention here of the new Lion features, and they are equally as awesome, but that is a topic for another time.
OK, Fanboys of Android, BlackBerry, and other mobile platforms that feel Apple stole their thunder, the stage is yours. Why did Apple completely fail with iOS 5, how did they copy other OSes, and how is every single point I made above, completely wrong and influenced by my love for Jobs and everything he does? The stage is yours…