So I finally had time to sit down and listen to the whole Apple keynote from last week. I had read several articles about what was new and changing, but it's important (at least to me) to hear it directly and get my own take. I think some of the most interesting bits to many users is what was not said.
MobileMe is being replaced by iCloud, and the MobileMe service will be shut down in about a year. In the keynote, it showed how your Calendars, Contacts, and apps would all be synced up for you. But what about the things that sync today that weren't mentioned? Looks like no more sync for Keychains, Preferences, and Mail Rules. Even though it has its quirks and sometimes requires re-syncing, I like having my Keychain synced up between all machines. I use the Mail Rules sync too, but not the Preferences – but I'll bet many of you do. At least I'm using 1Password now for my passwords, encrypted notes and the like, so I'm covered there.
Currently, my PPC machines and my Core Duo iMac can participate in these syncs too. But it looks like that's not the case with iCloud. So not only has Apple pretty much written off the PPC Macs, they've written off the initial Intel Macs as well (Lion won't run on those systems according to the Apple web site). That iMac is in a critical place in the house for updating a shared calendar – maybe there will be a web page equivalent, like in the current MobileMe, to do that. If not, I'm not sure what I'll do – I hate to buy a new Mac just for that. Maybe I can remote into one of my Macs running Lion and do my updates that way.
You need to hang on to a Snow Leopard (10.6) partition if you plan to run any PPC apps via Rosetta – that software doesn't exist in Lion (at least according to several sources on the web). Hopefully, you've found replacements for those apps by now – if not, plan on either keeping 10.6, not upgrading, or hanging on to an older machine.
Apple is a company that likes to move ahead without baggage from the past. Lion and iOS 5 are looking more and more like each other (not surprising, considering iOS started from OS X at the core). Looks like it's finally time for me to buy a trackpad for my desktop so I can use all the gesture-based features.
One iOS feature I am excited about is the lack of computer required to use an iOS device. I know of a few people that an iPad would be the perfect computer for – but right now, it's not a good choice, because they need a computer to attach to. With the new iOS, the iPad becomes a viable option for some of these folks. The only caveat in my mind is the fact that those people will need to rely on Apple for their backups. And, if they are without an Internet provider, as they may be since they have no computer, they will have to either run to a WiFi hot spot every night or have a 3G version – in which case they may go over their allotment of cell data very quickly. At least for those of us with computers, we can back up to a local system (hopefully, we can back up to either or both for maximum choice).