The last things missing from Apple’s perfect cloud storm


iOS 5 and Lion are both great updates that are sure to please consumers, especially because they make it even easier to use computers without thinking too much about what goes on behind the scenes. But while the platforms feel deeply and productively intertwined, there are a couple remaining last steps Apple could and should take that would make working back and forth between both seamless.


iOS 5 features iMessage, which is a direct messaging platform that can replace text messages when used between iOS devices. You can send photos, videos, contact cards and more, and you also receive sent and read receipts. If you’ve used BBM  on a BlackBerry device, it’s very similar.

Apple did a great job with iMessage, but the fact that it’s missing from Lion doesn’t make any sense. Lion still comes with iChat, Apple’s IM client, but it doesn’t plug into iChat. It’s great being able to receive messages from mobile devices across all your iOS hardware, but if it could make the leap to the desktop, I could leave behind other IM services and maybe even leave my phone in my pocket more often when I sit down to do work.

Facebook and Google are likely to be battling for the true cross-messaging pie, and this would be a perfect opportunity for Apple to leverage its user base to get in on that action, too. Let’s hope it comes with an update to Lion once it’s released.

Notification Center

Everyone’s impressed with the new notifications system on the iPhone, myself included, but this is another place where I’m left wondering why Apple didn’t borrow more from iOS in the design of OS X Lion.

OS X has no native cross-app notification system, although the third-party system extension Growl does the job nicely. But I’d love to see Notification Center on the desktop, and I’d love to see it be able to tie into iMessage and your other accounts. Receiving a notice once and seeing it on whatever device you happen to be using at the moment would be ideal. Especially if a Mac Notification Center could also display content like missed calls from your iPhone, though that might require more cooperation from carriers than Apple can secure.

Apple’s latest software updates are very impressive, and that’s why the above two items are really the only things I can think of that are lacking at the moment. But those last two pieces would make for a much more complete picture, so I’m still hoping to see them arrive somewhere down the road.

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