By October 4, 2011

Apple iOS 5 coming 12th October

ios5A taster of what is to come was shown at WWDC a few months ago but today the finer details of what iOS will feature have been revealed. iOS 5 is probably the biggest release yet with a lot of new features, from iCloud to Newsstand. The new OS will be available to download on iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad, iPad 2, iPod touch 3G & 4G.

Apple claims there are many minor updates including ones that us users won’t see, but for a quick look at all the (important) new features, click through after the break.






Cards – one of the most unexpected features, it’s an app where you can design a card, and Apple will print and send it for you. Read more here.


Notifications Center – not a brand new thing, but it’s just as important as it was. Instead of the annoying pop ups of the previous iOS versions, there’s now one place where you can see all your notifications together. Sound like Android to you? Well, it’s also accessed from dragging down from the top status bar.


iMessage – Apple have gone all over the shop for inspiration for iOS 5; Android for the notifications, and now RIM and their top weapon – BBM. We at Tracy and Matt are big fans of Blackberry Messenger, so it’s great (unless you’re RIM) to see iOS with their own competitor – I have a feeling the kiddie BBM craze may start to migrate to iMessage soon. It syncs with the cloud too so you can use it on all your iDevices.


Reminders – this kind of app has been done countless times already, but Apple have added a location-aware twist, so your reminders are based on where you are; for instance, you could set it to remind you of something when you get home, and it’ll alert you when you actually get home, thanks to its tie-in with GPS.


Twitter integration – this one is pretty obvious. Apple have noticed that this thing called Twitter is now getting relatively big, so it has won a place in almost every area of iOS 5; for example, you can share photos to twitter directly from the Photos app.


Newsstand – another obvious one. This is one place where you can view various customisable news sources in one place, like a glorified RSS reader really, except they’re more like newspapers and less like snippets of news from websites. These virtual newspapers will also download in the background, rather like the newspapers available on Kindles.


Siri – this was demonstrated to quite some length at the keynote, and it’s Apple’s take on voice control. This isn’t their first dip into the voice controlled commands, but this takes it to a whole new level. You can ask Siri anything, from what the weather is like, to where the best Indian restaurants are near you. What really sets it apart though is how it ‘follows’ what you’ve been saying previously to make it seem like you can actually have an intelligent conversation (albeit filled with your commands). Voice commands we know now already aren’t very good – accuracy is so far out it is more annoying than useful. From what we’ve seen from Siri though, this is frighteningly accurate – this is one to watch.


Updated Camera app – the first changes are to do with hardware; from the lockscreen, you can double tap the home button to jump straight to the camera app (rather like Windows Phone 7). Since the iPhone 4 and 4S don’t have a dedicated camera button (boo) the volume up button will do the duty instead. There’s also exposure and autofocus lock, as there is on a few phones already. The camera itself will now snap 8MP photos with various improvements other than just the pixel count, and it will also shoot full 1080p video thanks to the new A5 processor.


Updated Game Center – the Game Center hasn’t quite taken off quite how Apple would have liked, but they haven’t given up. As well as straight up achievements, there are now achievement points, friend recommendations and profile pictures. I think Apple may be turning this into their attempt at full on social gaming – we’ll see.


Updated Safari browser – the main new feature here is the reader function – a bit like Instapaper, it will take websites, strip them of ads and other junk, and saves the text for reading for later. Great if you like to read news sites without the distracting banners. Another neat addition is the synchronisation between devices; bookmarks and your saved pages in the reader are available to read from all your iOS devices. Real desktop-like tabbed browsing features too, rather than the button for the pages currently open.


Updated Mail app – not too much to see here, just rich formatting, flagging, and indentation. For true email geeks this will be a nice feature but for most people, there aren’t any revolutions here.


PC Free – one of the main criticisms of iOS is its heavy reliance on a PC or Mac – from the box, the first thing you have to do is plug into iTunes to set up. iOS has now grown up and can be used totally without a computer. That is until you want to sync your music and apps – no wireless sync quite yet.


iCloud – perhaps one of the biggest features here, this will allow you to sync everything from documents to contacts to photos, across all your Macs and iOS devices. Taking a photo on the iPhone will sync it automatically to all your iOS devices, and it comes with 5GB of free storage; there is the option to buy more bytes if you need. There’s also a daily backup of your device to iCloud, so you don’t have to rely on the backup when you sync. iCloud goes live on the 12th of October.


iTunes in the Cloud – this store your previous and current purchases from iTunes in the Cloud, so you can re-download all your past purchases, including music. It was possible before with your apps that you’ve bought previously, but there was no record of it and it was a pain to remember which ones you have paid for. The bigger one here for me is re-downloading your music. Before, once you lose or delete it, you’d have to buy it again, but not any more.


Find My Friends – this is an opt-in feature, which allows fellow iOS touting friends to see where you are. It works by inviting people on your friends list to share their location with you, but each location-share will expire after a certain length of time, to prevent stalking probably.


iTunes Match (US only) – detailed at WWDC, this feature will sift through your iTunes library, determine the tracks which aren’t on iTunes if any, and upload them. This means you can then stream your entire library instead of storing and playing them locally. The interesting bit here is that the songs are available to stream if they’re in your library, regardless of how they got there (read: iTunes Store, CDs, or even pirated). Matched songs are also upgraded to 256kbps AAC, without any digital rights management. Unfortunately, this does come at a price, namely $24.99 per year for Americans. Even more unfortunately, probably due to records deals and contracts, it isn’t available (yet) in the UK.


So there are the headline features of iOS 5. Will you be upgrading your iOS device straight away or will you wait for the early adopter reaction? Will this even prompt you to purchase a new iPhone 4S, iPad, or iPod touch?
Let us know in the forums.


Post by: Vince








Post by: Vince


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