Apple announced yesterday the newest addition to the iOS family, iOS 5 (which was jailbroken in less than 24 hours after it was released). The new version introduces a ton of great new features, we highlight our favorite below:
Wireless Syncing and OTA Updates (PC-Free iOS)
“We know we’re selling to a lot of places where the households just don’t have computers.” – Steve Jobs
Admitting that the current system (iOS)’s dependance on computers just wasn’t good enough, Apple announced a feature that will allow phones active and update without the help of a computer…definitely a handy feature for those constantly on-the-go. Updates will be delivered to the device over the air and users will be able to sync iTunes over WiFi.
Revamped Notification Center In iOS 5
Apple now also implemented an Android-esque notification center. There is a pull down menu located at the top of the screen which contains aggregated updates from all apps (messages, emails, etc). Notifications also appear when the screen is locked, but only if they were received after the screen was locked.
Seemingly a direct competitor to RIM’s BBM, Apple introduced it’s iMessage application for device-to-device communication. It works across the entire range of iOS 5 devices – iPod Touch, iPad and iPhone. iMessage currently relies on Apple ID’s for “usernames”. The interface is the same as the iOS SMS application, potentially causing confusion for some. However, apart from text you can also send photos, videos, contacts and even start group chats. Messages received via iMessage will be pushed to all the devices you own and have the same Apple account verified and setup.
A few days (after a similar feature was announced on Windows 8) a split-screen keyboard was announced for iOS. This a great (better?) alternative to the default keyboard!
Upgraded Camera App
The camera feature received a number of updates. A camera icon now sits quietly on the device’s lock-screen and the “upper” volume button now doubles up as a camera shutter button. Pinch-to-zoom found it’s way in to the iApp as well, and tapping anywhere on the screen “auto-fixes” the exposure settings with that particular area as reference.
Twitter Integration In iOS 5
Another feature that seems to have been lifted straight from Android is deep Twitter integration. iOS 5 will allow contacts to be linked with their Twitter handles, delivering instant updates to your device. There’s also a handy Tweet button located under the sharing pane.
Apple decided long ago that physical copies of newspapers and magazines should be made obsolete. They’ve now brought forth the ability to purchase your favorite papers and magazines online and have them all delivered/stored in a virtual newsstand.
Reminders for iOS is a quite a bit more intuitive than your typical “to-do” application. Apart from the expected standard features (adding reminders with dates and priorities) it also includes location-based features. The application apparently “remembers’ your location reminds of any pending tasks that need to be completed there. So the next time you visit the supermarket, your iOS device will remind you that your baby is out of diapers.
iOS also has a host of other new features, but these are (in our eyes) the most useful ones. Sadly, we can’t help but think that, at this point, the once revolutionary OS is now working hard to play catch-up with Android and other smartphones (in terms of functionality).
iOS 5 does impress a great deal, however…we have no complaints!
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