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Apple's plans for Mac OS X Lion, iOS 5 -- and iCloud

At its developer conference, CEO Steve Jobs reveals what's next for its desktop and mobile OSes, plus previews its new cloud service

At 10 a.m. Pacific time today, Apple CEO Steve Jobs will take center stage at the company's WWDC (Worldwide Developers Conference) to unveil the forthcoming iOS 5 operating system that powers its iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches; to provide more detail on the new Mac OS X Lion expected to ship this summer; and to reveal what the new iCloud service is all about.

InfoWorld.com will cover Jobs's WWDC keynote live, so please return to this article to get the details as they unfold and the whole story once Jobs has finished his presentation.

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One interesting rumor is that Apple has chosen to detail Lion, iOS 5, and iCloud all at once because there will be enhanced or new synchronization and integration among the three services, in which Macs and iOS devices could function more as aspects of a person's total computing system rather than as separate devices that the same person happens to use.

The next Mac OS X: LionJobs has aleady detailed many of Mac OS X Lion's expected features in a preview made last October, and the company has posted more details on its website. Among Lion's key new capabilities of interest to business users are whole-disk encryption for both the startup and external disks, a new wipe capability for all data, full-screen applications, a new capability app developers can use so that documents autosave intermediate versions within them and that automatically locks documents from unintential saves after two weeks of nonuse, a revamped Mail client that offers enhanced message threading, the ability to open applications and their documents where you left off when you restart the Mac, support for more iOS-style gestures, and a new navigation tool for applications and documents.

Mac OS X Lion Server is also to be made an optional install of Mac OS X Lion, no longer a separate product. Furthermore, Lion Server will add the ability to create configuration profiles for both Macs and iOS devices that can be delivered to users over the air.

Apple has said that Lion will ship "this summer," but has not yet specified a release date.

The next iOS: 5Almost nothing is known about the forthcoming iOS 5, as Apple has been very tight-lipped about what it might offer or when it might ship. Speculation in the blogosphere has been consistent that the new iOS won't ship until fall, when an update to the iPhone 4 is also expected. But speculation as to what iOS 5 might offer has been all over the map, with the most persistent reports (wish lists?) that it would enable over-the-air OS updates rather than require updating via iTunes on a PC or Mac and that it might support at least some Android-style widgets on the home screen.

The next MobileMe and iTunes: iCloudVery little beyond the name is known about the iCloud service Apple said last week that it would reveal at WWDC. There have been consistent reports that Apple has been signing deals with the major music labels to allow over-the-air music delivery, so many believe that iCloud will be a cloud-based version of the iTunes music service. But others speculate that iCloud will succeed Apple's $99-per-year MobileMe service, which provides online storage and cloud-based syncing of and access to contacts, email, and calendars. There's no reason that iCloud couldn't merge the two, becoming the user's online digital hub.

This article, "Apple's plans for Mac OS X Lion, iOS 5 -- and iCloud," was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in business technology news and get a digest of the key stories each day in the InfoWorld Daily newsletter. For the latest developments in business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

Read more about mobile technology in InfoWorld's Mobile Technology Channel.

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