Let’s talk Apple iOS 5

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“It’s like I have a brand new phone,” someone’s status boasted on Facebook recently after upgrading to’s iOS 5. Although that clearly was an exaggerated statement, iOS 5 does surpass iOS 4 but certainly not by the leaps and bounds that the hype would have us believe.
At the height of change for technology giant, after the loss of CEO Steve Jobs and the release of the iPhone 4S, the company released their most advanced mobile operating system to date – iOS 5. While the announcement of 200 new features certainly does offer plenty to be excited about I found myself a bit disappointed overall – for the second time I might add.
ios5 screen Now well into its fifth year of life, iOS seems to be improving each year since its initial 2007 release. Every new OS seems to address many of the failures and shortcomings from previous ones. I’ve been testing the software and experimenting with a lot of its claimed 200 new features for a couple of weeks now and find it generally impressive. Although I’m sure that most of the genius was spent on creating exclusive features for the iPhone 4S, like Siri, the iOS 5 release seems like a system that is forced to play catch up rather than lead the way.
If you were expecting the fifth iOS release to bring forth many visual changes you will be sorely disappointed, as I was. Version 5 pretty much looks exactly the same as version 4, with the exception of a few button changes here and there. But like any new model of car that comes out; it’s not the look that’s the big concern but rather what lies underneath the bonnet.
The biggest frustration came with trying to install it on my iPhone 4. After close to ten tries I still kept getting annoying time-out messages. Desperate to get the update I contacted the iStore hoping that they could assist me with downloading the update. I was quite taken back by their kindness and excellent service. They offered me a copy of iOS 5, which was quite surprising considering I hadn’t bought it directly from them.
ios5 notifications After a tiresome two hours of waiting while the installation took place – backing up old data, transferring purchases, installing the OS and then transferring all the old data back to the phone I was finally ready to take on the new experience. At first glance I noticed absolutely no changes but after digging a little deeper and exploring the settings menu I discovered quite a few welcomed changes.
The major importance of iOS 5 is that it reduces the personal computers role as the hub for all your transferring and synchronizing of information. No longer do iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch users have to struggle with the dreary iTunes interface to make key changes to their devices. There are now alternatives. But baring all this in mind, I have little doubt, however, that this update has little to do with separating iTunes from devices, but rather about introducing and promoting’s new idea, the iCloud.
ios5 icloud A primary goal of iOS 5 and iCloud is to allow users access to their content across all and any device without manual syncing. Thanks to the iCloud my iPhone can automatically store up to 5gb’s of data on’s remote server, with the option to purchase more space if I so desired. This comes in surprisingly handy, especially since I use my iPhone for shooting video and often run out of space, even with the 32Gb space.
It’s hard to notice the claimed two hundred changes at first glance, but digging a little deeper you will find the other major changes that include revamped notifications, a proprietary messaging app across all iOS devices (iMessenger – which is similar to Blackberry’s BBM), and full twitter integration.
ios-5 reminders Those are only a handful of features, what about the rest? Below you will find the long list of the changes/updates found in iOS 5:
• Free instant messages
• Facebook button
• Turn on or off in settings
• Read receipts
• Configure to use SMS when not connected to Internet
• Group messaging
• Ability to send photos and videos
• Blue message bubble indicates it’s an iMessage
• See if other person is typing a message

• Location-based reminders
• Google Calendar and Microsoft Exchange integration
• Support for iCal and Outlook

• Dedicated area for news publications
• Download more via the App Store
• Background downloading
• Changeable application icon

• Add, rename or delete calendars
• View attachments from within the app
• Landscape mode gives weekly view
• Default alert times
• Year view (iPad only)
• Switch days by swiping
• Japanese calendar support
• Buddhist calendar support
• Page turning

Notification System
• Notification Center
• Displays missed notifications
• Touching a notification takes you to the app
• Clear notifications
• Widgets: Weather and Stocks
• Weather: Week view
• New notification system
• Toggle Notification Center
• Choose how many recent items
• View in lock screen
• Banner style notification
• Choose which notification for specific apps
• Toggle app icons on or off
• Custom vibrations
• LED flash alerts
• Sort notifications manually or by date
• Enable or disable badge alerts
• Slide specific notifications to go directly to its respective app
• Displays Calendar tasks

• Split keyboard
• Emoji keyboard
• Twitter keyboard, with @ and # buttons
• Keyboard shortcuts
• Hide keyboard icon

“PC free”
• Wireless activation
• Wi-Fi sync
• Automatic downloads
• Use a device while it syncs with iTunes
• Over-the-air software updates

• Create a free @me email account
• Everything in-sync
• Photo Stream
• Find My iPhone
• Online backup
• iTunes in the cloud
• iTunes Match
• iCloud section of the Settings app
• Purchase History
• Buy more storage
• Documents/Data Sync

• Multitasking gestures
• AirPlay Mirroring
• Tone Store
• Tones for individual contacts
• Music app with new icon
• New Videos app
• Information on tracks
• Send song details over Bluetooth
• Delete individual tracks
• New icons for Hotmail, Google Mail and Microsoft Exchange
• Enhancements to the Mail app
• Enhancements to the Notes app
• Rounded toggle buttons
• New welcome screen
• Application data can be deleted
• Traffic in Maps can be hidden
• Game Center improvements
• New color for SMS bubbles
• Ability to rename a device in the Settings app
• Disable Voice Control
• Speak selection option
• Assistive touch settings
• Custom gestures
• Native 1080p playback on iPad 2
• Set left and right audio
• Edit number in Settings
• Personal Hotspot moved to Network section of Settings app
• Remove custom website data
• FaceTime section in Settings app
• Pick message alert length
• Separate settings for music and video
• Learn More Links
• Configure message alert length
• Choose default account for Notes
• Turn automatic downloads on or off
• Unsecured calls warning notification
• Multiple IDs for different services
• Access applications from the Lock screen
• Make FaceTime calls without a SIM card
• Define your own words in the built-in dictionary
• App fades when crashing
• Snooze alarms from the Lock screen
• Sort friends using “points”
• VoiceOver item chooser
• Speak selected text
• Multiple downloads
• New voice in Voice Control
• New maximum for downloaded emails: 1,000
• Double-tapping the Home button in YouTube shows author
• Configure AirPort
• Support for Arabic
• Native support for turn-based games
• Updated Lock screen
• Create and delete photo albums
• Access camera from lock screen
• Crop, rotate, enhance, and remove red-eye in Photos app
• Camera Grid
• Lock Auto Exposure & Auto Focus
• Font and time-stamp layout changes in Messages app
• Cards app: Compose, Send, Print cards
• Find Friends & Family app
• Profile pictures for Game Center
• Friend recommendations for Game Center
• App Store in Game Center
• S/MIME Security
• Change device name via Settings app
• Improved FaceTime video quality
• FaceTime over 3G
• More equalizer presets
• New voices for Voice-Over
• Help center
• Application Updates in background
• Voice roaming can be turned on or off
• ‘Tell a Friend’ via AppStore
• Advanced assisted touch gestures
• Re-design for video time-line under Photos app
• AirPlay FaceTime calls
• Siri Voice AI (iPhone 4s exclusive)

• Rich text formatting
• Search through entire mail messages
• Quote level control in Mail settings
• S/MIME support
• Flag emails
• Mark multiple emails as read
• Maximum recent email messages limit to 1,000 instead of 200
• Swipe left or right from your mailboxes folder list to navigate to other mail accounts

• Private Browsing
• Read Later
• Reader View
• Open link in background
• Tabbed browsing (iPad only)

Twitter Integration
• Single sign-on
• Tweet from Safari
• Tweet from Photos
• Multiple Twitter accounts
• Tweet picture from the camera roll
• Tweet website URL from Safari
• Tweet video from YouTube
• Alternative route
• Sponsored links
• Contacts
• Social network integration
• Twitter
• Facebook
• Flickr
• LinkedIn
• Myspace
• Weather

Surprisingly, even with a list that long, I still feel cheated. Maybe if I could just get my hands on Siri (a personal assistant application for iOS, strictly for iPhone 4S users) I would be satisfied.

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About The Author

Jarrod currently works as a filmmaker (director, writer, editor), but has previous experience as a multimedia developer, web designer, DTP operator, graphic designer, layout artist and a sound engineer. His work can be viewed at www.jarrod.co.za

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