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Technologies change in the wake of an Apple event, again

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Innovation is best measured by the disruption it causes, and Apple sure has been disruptive this week. Apple (s aapl) first changed how we acquire and think about media like movies and music, and now it’s changing how we acquire and distribute games and applications as well. It makes sense, then, that Apple would cut out traditional distribution outlets when it rolls out the next version of its OS X. But that’s just one example of the disruption Apple caused yesterday. Here are a few more prime examples.

The mouse. Apple may have brought the mouse to the masses, but with one multi-gesture swipe, it could flick it away forever. So many of the new features being introduced with OS X Lion will require complex gestures that replacing the mouse with a touchpad will be nearly essential.

The file system. Thanks to drag-and-drop sharing with AirDrop, and Documents in the Cloud available to all developers, Apple has threatened not only the flash drive, but also file systems themselves. Users won’t need to know where files go, because it will all happen automatically behind the scenes.

Paper and traditional newsstands. While I may not be ready to ditch my RSS readers just yet, I will be opening articles in mobile Safari far more often than I do now. With the ability to tweet, read and save multi-page articles in Safari, I may depend far less on RSS. I’ll also probably stop using Instapaper, and with the addition of Newsstand, I’ll transition from print to digital subscriptions much more quickly.

Desktop app launchers. Bringing the iOS-style app organization to OS X with Launchpad is a welcome addition. It could eliminate the need to use other launchers like Quicksilver, Alfred and Butler, especially when combined with Mission Control, the more versatile Exposé replacement.

To-do apps. In the same vein of getting things done more efficiently, the new Reminders app for iOS devices could make third-party to-do apps redundant. It all depends on how advanced your needs are, but Apple’s system has location and time-based notifications, so you can’t ask for much more.

BlackBerry Messenger and SMS. With Apple’s new iMessage service for any owner of an Apple device, the one remaining killer feature of BlackBerry devices (s rimm) may be rendered inert. The remaining question is whether or not families will keep their SMS service with their carriers. Creating a way to direct message family and friends with other Apple devices, as well as deeply integrating Twitter into the iOS itself may eliminate that need, depending on what hardware your circle of friends and family is using.

Weather apps. I’m not a fan of the stock weather app that comes with iOS, but that’s about to change. With the integration of weather updates on the new notifications, and the added bonus of hourly forecasts, a lot of what I was looking for in third-party apps is taken care of.

Once again, Steve Jobs delivers the goods and has the tech world scrambling to keep up. But this time around, consumers might be the ones doing a little scrambling, too. Apple is aggressively moving to the cloud, which might throw some users unused to the concept for a loop, and the fact that Lion can only be downloaded might leave some of those without fast or dependable Internet connections behind. But Apple seems to have set its sights firmly on where tech is headed, and it’s willing to roll over existing offerings and services in order to get there.

11 Responses to “Technologies change in the wake of an Apple event, again”

  1. Cutting out traditional distribution outlets, as you put is an innovation only in the sense of an extension of Apples attempt to control, absolutely, everything about the mac you purchase.

    I,will have nothing to do with iOS5 or lion, unless I can purchase Lion on a DVD. If i’m going to buy eye candy, I’ll buy it on my terms.

  2. Little Wanting Creature

    I don’t really see your point about AirDrop and file systems. The user still has to point at a folder or destination of some kind, whether or not it’s local. And of course, underneath every file is still stored on a file system on each computer and device (and in iCloud). The file system is not going away any time soon.

  3. THe new features announced for the new MAC Lion OS are greater than those in the preceding transition from
    Leopard to Snow Leopard.

    However, Apple makes a terrible mistake. From Leopard to Snow Leopard, the Power PC Macs were left out.
    Now from Snow Leopard to Lion, you must have a core 2 duo or greater.
    This is just plain stupid for prematurely wiping out a lower class market owned by those with lesser income.
    It is illogical and has absolutely nothing to do new OS features requiring features found only in the newer processors,
    since even ios4 and ios 5 based on MAC OS X on Darwin and BSD unix core use processors that are NOT Intel processors.

    Therefore there can be NO REASON WHATSOEVER for dropping support for Power PC Cpus.

    • Charles

      The very last Core Duo Mac was discontinued in 2006. That’s five years. Five. Surely anyone who’s serious about wanting a newer OS would have at least factored in some kind of upgrade plan and would have gotten a new computer by now.

  4. Eddie

    The weather and stock app is innovative? Yeah right, as if Apple has their own in-house domain experts like meteorologists financial analysts working on this. Whatever.

  5. Apple’s impact on the market would be more impressive if it had more product depth. A good example is the Magic Trackpad that accompanies your article. It only exists as a battery-powered Bluetooth model. There’s no USB/wired version. Like the long imposition of a one-button mouse on users, Apple seems far more interested in dictating what users can have and do than in what they want, no matter how sensible that want. A lot of us don’t want to klutz with batteries or with a Bluetooth connection that goes iffy when we microwave something.

    • I know! They each kept saying “touch” to do this and “touch” to do that, but it looked like the mouse pointer had to be in position before the “touch” could happen. The only one that made sense to me was the swipe which eliminated the scroll bars in documents and browsers. Touching the upper right corner of a screen with either the magic mouse or touch pad is more of a drag and tap than a simple touch to me.

  6. I hardly think that LaunchPad will replace QuickSilver or Launchbar. Both of which are way faster at launching apps and pack way more features that aren’t available in OS X Lion. In my talks with most power users Expose and Dashboard are mostly useless, sure they look cool but there will still be a large market of power users.