Apple announced its latest operating system at the World Wide Developers Conference earlier this year and now iOS 5 is finally available to download.
Apple has updated its operating system numerous times, some minor and some significant. iOS 4 adding folders, while IOS 4.2 added Airplayer. Find out more about different versions here.
iOS 5 is the most significant for a while offering some fundamental changes to the operating systems usability, as well as some new features.
Compatible with the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4, we downloaded the latest version to take a look at the most significant features.
We’re really impressed with iOS 5, yes many of the features (camera, notifications etc), appear on other smartphones and none is particularly revolutionary. But together, they all make the iPhone 4 immeasurably more usable, newer and will satisfy any Apple fans not willing/ready to commit to the iPhone 4. We’ve talked about iOS 5 not being revolutionary, one feature that certainly is groundbreaking is iCloud. Yes, it’s proprietary and you need to have more than one Apple device to get the most from it, but the simplicity, coupled with the convenience of never having to sync your iPhone again for music, movies, apps and photos, will quickly become a must-have feature.
Apple has made three adjustments to the notifications. Firstly, notifications now appear on the lockscreen. In addition double tap the control button and the photo icon appears, enabling you to instantly launch the camera. Secondly, when you get a message an unobtrusive notification banner rolls down from the top. And finally – just like Android – swipe down to view notifications such as text messages and email. Unfortunately unlike Android you can’t toggle WiFi on and off here – yet.
Apple iOS 5: Photo features
Apple has made some significant changes to the camera. As we’ve mentioned you can now get to the camera from the lock screen by double tapping the home button twice.
The volume up button now functions as a shutter, which feels fairly quick, although it doesn’t let you lock the focus, this is still done automatically.
When taking photographs there’s a new ‘Options’ button you can press to activate the ‘Rule of Thirds’ grid, if you want help with composition.
Once you’ve taken a photograph a quick swipe left to right go straight to your photos. Alongside Album there’s now a new PhotoStream option, part of iCloud it automatically puts 1000 photos into the cloud, which you can then access from another computer.
The most welcome feature are the new Edit Photo commands, enabling you to: crop, remove red-eye (which works well), auto enhance and rotate. Although these can only be applied once the photo has been taken.
iOS 5: iCloud
Once you’ve updated to iOS 5 a new option appears in settings prompting you to enter your Apple ID.
Straight away you can can choose exactly what features you want to share between devices (eg:iPhone and iPad) including: Contacts, Calendar and Bookmarks. At the moment if you use Yahoo mail you won’t be able to share via iCloud.
Documents and data you create using Pages and Numbers is automatically available across multiple devices, and in the future third-party apps like Evernote can build in compatability too.
Elsewhere Find my iPhone (find my friends if necessary)
iCloud only gives you 5GB free storage (excluding Photostream). For most things (such as photos and documents) however if you choose to back up your entire device to iCloud it will quickly become full. We backed up an iPad and it was over 3GB. So if you own two things: iPad and iPhone, the may need more storage, which isn’t cheap. At the moment we’re using a Mac and backing up via Time Machine.
iOS 5: Twitter
Twitter integration is much deeper than in previous versions of iOS. Take a photo and you can upload it to Twitter instantly. You can also Tweet your location and favourite web stories.
Apple iOS 5: Reminders
Functioning like a virtual To Do list, this is useful rather than groundbreaking. It’s now location awards, so uses GPS to detect your position and provides reminders accordingly eg: post a birthday card at work.
iOS 5: Newsstand
Newsstand isn’t really an app, although it gets its own icon, it functions a bit like a virtual store for publishers that looks like the iBooks interface.
Newsstand is populated automatically and filled with mag and newspaper apps you’ve chosen from the App store, based on your selection. App developers need to update their apps to be compatible with iOS 5, so choice is very limited.
iOS 5: Weather
Apple has updated the Weather app, so it now provides hour by hour weather and temperature suggestions. In the past we’ve found the weather to be a little sporadic though.
iOS 5: WiFi Sync
Over the air updates is one of the highlights of iOS, instead of syncing using a laptop, you can do it wirelessly. We had issues with our MacBook reconciling our iPhone 4, so weren’t able to test it. Crucially these are Delta updates, only download the data it needs, saving time.
iOS 5: Reader
A minor feature, but one we quickly got used too. With one tap Reader saves the current web pages in a simple, clutter-free layout. This is especially useful on an iPhone, with websites that haven’t been optimised for mobile.
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iOS 5: Music and Video
Instead of just having a single iPod icon for music and video, there are now separate Music and Video icons.
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iOS 5: Accessibilty
Apple has always prided itself on including accessibility options targetting people with heading and vision issues and iOS extends this further. There’s now a Gesture control where you can use finger movements to access features. Custom Vibration lets you create your own vibrations that can be assigned to contacts.
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