Monday, June 6, 2011

iOS 5, Coming this Fall

Apple is very much in the news this week as its Worldwide Developer's Conference (WWDC) is taking place in San Francisco, a gathering that always brings about news on new technology. For more on what the WWDC is all about, check out my vocab roundup over on SpeechTechie.

If you are here, it is a safe assumption you are interested in mobile technology, and one of the big announcements coming out of WWDC (as of Monday's keynote address by Steve Jobs) is regarding a new operating system for iOS devices coming out this Fall. This free upgrade will give your iPad, iPod, and iPhone (assuming the device is new enough) a new brain of sorts, and a promised 200+ new features.  Check out this video below and see what iOS 5 will be all about:

There are a number of things I like here, including that the operating system will be "easier and more intuitive" to use, likely a win for both clinicians and our students.

What else will help us from a therapists' perspective? Well, I certainly like the idea of the Reminders app for checklists and hints as to what we need to get done, all synced with our calendars in iCal.  Additionally, with the coming of the FREE iCloud service (also announced at WWDC to debut this fall), this type of data can be automatically present across multiple devices.  Think of what that could do in terms of reminding you to schedule IEP meetings and complete testing by certain dates...

The "Tabbed Browsing" and "Reader" features both promise to make Safari much more usable as a browser on our devices, with tabs improving organization and multitasking while browsing, and the promise of fewer distractions when students are reading webpages.

The "Split Keyboard"--hmmm, can an OT chime in on that?

"Not owning a computer" is something that will be made possible because with iOS5 and iCloud, you will now be able to update, backup, and sync your device to the Internet rather than your computer.  This is overall a positive thing, as it may encourage clinicians to utilize these more affordable devices if they are their only options to integrate technology in their therapy and workload management.  On the other hand, I am having trouble of letting go of my "you still need a full computer" mantra, both for productivity purposes and for the Flash and other types of interactive activities that are free online (unlike many apps) and DO NOT work on iOS devices.  However, someday I think I am going to have to let go of that.

There are a number of items here that are more for personal use than educational application, for instance, text messaging from iPad.  I think I would only turn that (and the Notifications Center) on in the summertime, as I use my personal iPad in therapy!!

So, what do you think of these developments?  What are you excited for/concerned about?


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