Tuesday, October 18, 2011

iPhone 4S and iOS 5 and the convergence of operating systems

Despite the media detractors who once again predict a failure for the introduction of an Apple product, the iPhone 4S introduction shows that Apple knows the market better than it knows itself. Predictions are that Apple will sell over 4 million iPhone 4S devices in the first weekend of sales. Part of the reason is greater availability of the product. The phones are available not only at Apple stores, but also at BestBuy, Target, Sam's Club, and Radio Shack. The iPhone 4S will also be available on Sprint Nextel as well as AT&T and Verizon. Even though the device itself the is big draw, the real change is the release of the iOS 5 operating system.  Even existing iPhone 4 owners can upgrade to the new system.
The iPhone 4S introduces voice activated controls called Siri, a dual-core A5 processor chip that is much faster than its predicessors, an all new 8 Megapixel camera with HD video, and connection to the iCloud, online storage system from Apple. The new operating system, i OS 5, the heart of the product, has over 200 new features. What makes the device great is the software and that means the operating system.

Unless you just don't care about computers or don't use one, you should be aware of the fundamental convergence of the operating systems. What this means is that with Apple leading the way, the way we use and interact with computers is rapidly evolving into the model used by iPhones and iPads. You don't have to look at the upcoming Windows 8 to realize that Microsoft is being copy cat again and trying to catch up to Apple's innovation. By the time Windows 8 comes out sometime next year, its "revolutionary" interface will be old news.

I downloaded iOS 5 to my iPhone 4 recently. You need to synchronize your iPhone to your computer before you do the free upgrade. Of course, the new iOS 5 will work best with the new iPhone 4S, but it upgrades existing phone also. iOS 5 is compatible with the iPhone 3GS, the iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S.

Now what do I mean by convergence? All of the innovation is operating systems, whether it be Apple's iOS 5 or the new Android systems focus on hand controls. When was the last time you hooked up a mouse to your smartphone? It is inevitable, as shown by the features of the planned Microsoft Windows 8, that operating systems are moving towards or converging on a common operating model with involves the use of hand controls. Apple's new iOS 5 for the iPad 2 that adds hand gestures using four and five fingers. As tablet computers such as the iPad become ubiquitous, computer users will begin to accept hand control systems even more than they already have.

A few days ago, I watched two of my grandchildren demonstrate the gesture controls for their Xbox 360 game console using Kinect Core games. It is easy to see that it will not be long before you control your computer with hand gestures either on the screen or in front of the screen.
The new iOS 5 has some very useful and interesting features. In addition to the multitasking gesture control, there is a new notification center that will collect all of your emails, texts, friend requests and more into one simple screen. iMessage lets you send unlimited text messages via WiFi or 3G from your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch to anyone with one of those devices. The new Reminders App gives you a centralized to-do list that is synchronized automatically through the iCloud and Twitter is integrated right into the iOS 5 operating system! There are enhancements to the camera and photos.
One dramatic change is that with iOS 5 you no longer need a computer to keep your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch up-to-date. You can activate and set up your device wirelessly right out of the box and download and update all of your Apps without connecting to a computer.

The only constant in life is change and the only constant in computers is revolutionary change.

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