Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Christopher Mims

A View from Christopher Mims

Six Businesses Apple Just Wiped Out

Apple has a long history of taking the best ideas from its competitors and developer community and turning them into features in its core products – here are the latest, from Apple’s developer conference

  • June 6, 2011

The announcements that came out of Steve Jobs’s keynote at the Apple World Wide Developer Conference today were many and varied. But never can I recall a keynote in which so many copies of existing features and services were announced.

In no particular order, here are the software products, web services and entire businesses that Apple clearly intends to wipe out with its new, integrated Mac OS X Lion and iOS 5 features:

1. Instapaper

Instapaper is a staple of a certain kind of infovore. Developer Marco Arment has brought a Steve Jobs-like design perfectionism to the app-ification of the online readability-enhancing service Readability, which powers Instapaper.

So it should hardly be a surprise that Apple just integrated this entire notion directly into its Safari web browser, in the form of its Sarfari Reading List. As Engadget put it,

One 9to5 Mac reader found out that webpages saved using the tool are synced with iOS devices. This makes using Instapaper on your iPad pretty redundant.

2. Red Pop hardware iPhone camera button

It’s too bad – Red Pop was a great idea, and it’s already fully funded on Kickstarter. Not only did it add a nice grip to the iPhone, useful now that smartphones are most folks’ “real” cameras, but it also included the missing hardware button for snapping pictures with an iPhone.

Apple just announced that with iOS5, the volume up button on the phone becomes a hardware camera shutter button.

3. BlackBerry Messenger and GroupMe

Apple just made a stone-cold copy of BBM, called iMessage. It allows you to send instant messages to any other iOS device, and even do group chats.

GroupMe is an app that brings this functionality to the iPhone and other platforms.

(RIM, in general, appears to be toast, losing most of its market share to Android.)

4. Amazon Cloud Player and Google Music

Jobs more or less attacked both Amazon Cloud Player and Google Music directly. Not only is iTunes going to the cloud, as many predicted, but Apple has a secret weapon: a “Match” feature that will give you access to iTunes copies of all the tracks you’ve already ripped into your own library.

Jobs argued this makes Apple’s cloud music service significantly cheaper than Amazon’s or Google’s, for comparable amounts of storage.

5. Google Docs and Google Chromebook

Apple’s new iCloud service backs up your photos, your apps, and your documents, and also syncs them across all your Apple devices. In short, it does everything that’s supposed to be so appealing about Google’s new Chromebook.

Granted, there are some important differences. With a Chromebook, the OS really is the cloud, so it’s possible to pick up where you left off on another device without doing any kind of significant sync. And there are bound to be hiccups in recovering from a crash on an Apple device. What’s more, it’s not clear that Apple’s new iCloud service will reproduce the group document sharing capabilities that make Google Docs uniquely useful, such as real-time simultaneous editing.

6. Dropbox

Dropbox is one of the nicest ways to sync your music, photos and documents to the cloud. Now Apple’s new OSes do all of that for you. We’ll see what new uses DropBox finds.

Did I miss any? Leave ‘em in the comments!

Follow Mims on Twitter or contact him via email.

Want to go ad free? No ad blockers needed.

Become an Insider
Already an Insider? Log in.
More from Intelligent Machines

Artificial intelligence and robots are transforming how we work and live.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe and become an Insider.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}* Best Value

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    Print + Digital Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

    Technology Review PDF magazine archive, including articles, images, and covers dating back to 1899

    10% Discount to MIT Technology Review events and MIT Press

    Ad-free website experience

  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning print magazine, unlimited online access plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    Print Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

  • Insider Online Only {! insider.prices.online !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Unlimited online access including articles and video, plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.