Apple's new software shows extra emphasis on online functionality header image

Apple has announced a slew of new software features for its mobile and desktop operating systems, putting more emphasis on online functionality than ever before.

A keynote presentation at the company's annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) yesterday (June 2nd) left no doubts it intends to create a consistent user experience across all platforms, from the iPhone to the Mac computer.

Using a new tool called Handoff, people with more than one Apple device will be able to instantly switch from one to the other and continue working on the same task.

Similarly, the company is making it possible to call phones and send and receive text messages from a desktop or laptop computer, so long as that machine is linked to an iPhone - and, of course, connected to the internet.

Another new service showcased at this year's WWDC was iCloud Drive, which will see the Cupertino tech giant going head to head with the likes of DropBox and Google Drive.

Though Apple users have long been able to sync apps with the cloud, the new proposition will finally make it possible to store individual files on a remote server and then continue working on them later, regardless of device or location.

Each iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch or Mac owner will receive 5GB of space for free, expandable to 20GB for $0.99 (£0.59).

Of course, in order to reap the benefits of any of these new services, they'll need fast, reliable internet connections. While iPhone owners might be able to fall back on 3G or 4G data plans from their network operators, those using laptop or desktop computers will need a fixed line, Wi-Fi or cellular hotspot, or satellite broadband.

For Apple to put such an emphasis on cross-device functionality should be seen as an implicit acknowledgement of the direction 21st century computing is heading in - towards an always-online ecosystem where processors and memory play second fiddle to an internet connection.