Apple’s week of information overload

June 10, 2011, 9:30 AM UTC

Three major products, hundreds of new features, thousands of new programmer interfaces

Source: Apple Inc.

“We’re going to talk about three things today,” Steve Jobs said at the beginning his keynote speech Monday. Then he and his colleagues proceeded to talk about hundreds of things — so many that days later the reporters who watched the two-hour presentation and the developers who attended the week-long conference that followed were still trying to wrap their heads around what Apple just unveiled.

There were some major themes:

  • A cord-cutting that freed iPad, iPhone and iPod touch users from the need to own a Mac or PC
  • The “demotion” of the Mac from the center of the user’s computing universe to “just another device”
  • A new system of file storage that eliminates the need to know where files are stored
  • An approach to cloud computing very different from — and less radical than — Google’s (GOOG). As Steven Levy put it in Wired: “Apple regards the cloud as a hub; Google’s Chrome OS treats the cloud as the computer itself.”

Each of these themes was worthy of an Apple event in itself. Yet on top of them Jobs & company piled long lists of new features and services. It was, in a way, utterly out of character. Microsoft (MSFT) is the company that weighs its products down with bells and whistles most users will never use. Apple (AAPL) is the company that keeps things simple.

Not this time.

The presenters tried to limit the features they highlighted to 30 — 10 for the new Mac operating system, 10 for the new iPhone and iPad operating system, 10 for iCloud — but they also hinted at how much more they could have talked about:

  • More than 250 new features in Lion and 3,000 new APIs (application programmer interfaces, the programming hooks Apple provides to developers)
  • More than 200 new features in iOS and untold thousands of APIs
  • Still more APIs for controlling documents and numerical data in iCloud

Some of the new but unhighlighted features and APIs were listed in slides that flashed by too fast to absorb. As a service to readers who weren’t there — or who were there, but don’t have photographic memories — we’ve pasted snapshots of those slides below (click to enlarge).

OS X Lion user features:

OS X Lion APIs:

iOS 5 user features:

iOS 5 APIs:

The full, two-hour presentation is available on iTunes and on Apple’s website here.