Apple Launches Biggest Changes Since iPhone

Apple also announced the new version of its desktop OS X, Yosemite. It includes new "continuity" services to integrate iPads and iPhones with the Mac. Users will be able to use their Macs to make and take calls on their iPhones -- basically turning the Mac into a big speaker and keypad peripheral for the iPhone. With Handoff, users can start actions such as email on the Mac and continue them on their iPhones and iPads, and vice-versa. Instant Hotspot allows users to set up the iPhone as a hotspot as easily as connecting to WiFi. SMS and MMS messages that previously appeared only on the iPhone now appear as iMessages on all devices.

Also on the docket:

A preview of iOS 8, the next version of the iPhone and iPad operating system, with a new keyboard that anticipates what you want to type and offers suggestions, as well as enhanced inter-application communications. For example, apps will be able to integrate themselves into the sharing menu of other apps.

Enterprise iOS 8 users will see new configuration, management, security and and restriction tools.

One-touch voice and video messaging in iMessage for the iPhone and iPad.

The Metal graphics engine for iOS, which will be a big deal in gaming.

Touch ID APIs will allow third-party app developers to use Touch ID to unlock their apps. This will be a big deal for financial service providers, healthcare apps, enterprise apps -- anybody whose information needs to be locked down.

And a new programming language for iOS and OS X, Swift, which Apple described as being as powerful as C or Objective C, while being as easy-to-use as scripting. That's a big deal because scripting is within reach of power-users rather than just professional developers. We're going to see a lot more apps coming in the next year. (More Flappy!)

The upgrades iOS and Mac upgrades will be important to carriers in that they increase demand for iDevices and network services.

Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, described Monday's iOS announcement as the biggest since the introduction of the App Store in 2008. I think for once we may be seeing a technology executive under-hyping an announcement. Monday's news is bigger than that.

These are the high points from a carrier perspective. There's a lot more. I'll be surfing the web for highlights for the next couple of days, and I'll put juicy links and insights in the comments below. Please do the same yourself. Apple announcements are important to the industry (and they're as much fun to second-guess as an episode of Game of Thrones.)

— Mitch Wagner, Circle me on Google+ Follow me on TwitterVisit my LinkedIn profileFollow me on Facebook, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading. Got a tip about SDN or NFV? Send it to [email protected]

Want to learn more about SDN and the transport network? Check out the agenda for Light Reading's Big Telecom Event (BTE), which will take place on June 17 and 18 at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers. The event combines the educational power of interactive conference sessions devised and hosted by Heavy Reading's experienced industry analysts with multi-vendor interoperability and proof-of-concept networking and application showcases. For more on the event, the topics, and the stellar service provider speaker lineup, see Telecommunication Luminaries to Discuss the Hottest Industry Trends at Light Reading's Big Telecom Event in June.

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