IOS Updates Play Catch-up

Apple delivered pretty much everything that was predicted at WWDC this afternoon: iCloud, Mac OS X Lion and iOS5.

The changes to iOS were surprisingly weak. Or rather the changes that didn't happen kept Apple from being able to reclaim the technology lead in the smartphone arena.

What was announced was good - notifications match what Android launched with in 2008, iMessage riffs on Blackberry Messenger and integration into the cloud was good but offers little over Google's suite. Even the automatic load to the cloud mimics Microsoft's Windows Live suite for WP7.

The decision to deliver iTunes Match seems a bit strange to me. For users who have only legitimately acquired MP3 files you're paying $25 a year to upload stuff you already own to the cloud. For users who have acquired their libraries through other means its an opportunity for Apple to collate how much illegitimate music you hold and, at some point in the future, let the music industry know how much you now owe them...

Its a very good copy of a service that mp3.com offered for years before being run to ground by the music industry. Rumours of a $150m sweetener to buy off the record companies seem pretty close to the mark, despite official denials from Apple managers.

Interestingly Apple haven't chosen to follow a subscription model for music - as much that was announced today appeared to be about applying stronger lock-ins to the Apple ecosystem that would have appeared to be a strong motivation for offering an iTunes subscription model.

Apple fans will probably go ape for the updates but my feeling is that there were too many stones left unturned this time around and whilst IOS5 will be nice, by September Android's Ice Cream will be looking an awful lot tastier.

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