Make Canoe my Homepage

Apple iOS 5 jam-packed with new features

- June 7th, 2011

Apple iOS 5 WWDC 2011

Since it was preannounced, no one was surprised at WWDC 2011 when Scott Forstall, Apple SVP iOS Software, took us through a preview of Apple iOS 5, slated for release this fall. However, what we didn’t expect was the extensive list of over 200 new features that could potentially make your iOS device the only one you’ll actually need and maybe even encourage you to get a second one.

Covering every feature all along with Mac OS X Lion and “some kind of new interesting cloud stuff,”  as Apple CEO Steve Jobs put it, would be somewhat impossible in a keynote of about 2 hours, but 10 or so was a little more manageable, so let’s have a boo at a few.

notification

With many apps including push notification like calendar alerts and text messages, the new –a single place of combines all notifications together is a welcomed addition. When one arrives, you’ll be alerted briefly on the top part of your screen when you can access them with a swipe or get right to the particular app with a tap. This is awesome if you really don’t want to be disturbed or when making sure you don’t miss that high score.

Newsstand will allow you to easily get subscriptions to your favorite publications like GQ, ELLE, Vanity Fair or Wired, just to name a few – all from one place and display them nicely on your own newsstand bookshelf. Best of all these can be downloaded in the background, without interrupting your other work.

tweet

With over 1 billion tweets a week, the WWDC 2011 crowd, myself included, welcomed the announcement of Twitter integration in iOS 5, with a loud roar. Sign on once and you’ll be able to tweet from any of your Twitter aware apps. You’ll be able to tweet pics from Camera, videos from YouTube and even full articles, not just links, from Safari and others by using a simple tap.

Interestingly enough, there was no mention of any FaceBook Connect integration.

Safari Reader

Safari now includes Safari Reader that allows you the option to zoom right into the story that you’re reading and deliver it right to you in one nice scrollable and readable flow, even if the actual article branches over a number of pages.  It’s like generating a printable version of the document.  If you prefer you can save it to your Reading List to access later, or alternately email the contents of the article itself, not only the link. As an added bonus, iPad users can enjoy simple flipping back and forth between pages with Tabbed Browsing.

Reminders

We all need Reminders and the new app, aptly named, will not only allow you to create and group your tasks and to-dos, but also set up priorities and when they are due. Reminders can not only alert you at the specific time, but also a place – when you arrive or leave a particular location. This is done using a location-based concept called geofencing. Instead of a particular location or coordinate, think of it as a fenced area. So consider an alert advising you where your car is when you arrive back at the airport or a reminder to buy milk once you leave your office. Reminders also sync automatically with iCal and Outlook.

features_camera_quickaccess

Camera & Photos have been updated to allow you quick access to your camera even if your iOS device is locked.  Tres Cool! You wont be able to see any of the other photos while locked, but you won’t miss getting that shot. And you’ll soon be able to take the snap with the volume-up Button, finally!  The Camera app also adds gridlines to help you frame your shot, and a simple tap and hold will lock focus and exposure. Camera also adds as some basic editing tools including quick enhance and red-eye removal – familiar features found in iPhoto.

There’s some new added functionality to the Mail app. Rich Text Formatting is now available so you can add bold, italics, underline and even indentation control – all made easier with the new formatting bar; you can now also flag messages and search their entire contents.

DSCN1511

Thumb typists will love Apple’s on-screen keyboard update. The keyboard can now actually be split into two pieces and be moved up higher on the screen by simply by grabbing it with your thumbs and moving it up.

imessage

One of the significant breakthroughs is the addition of iMessage to the Messages app. Going beyond just the iPhone, it allows you to send messages to any iOS device. And you’re not limited to text – it can also be videos, photos, contacts and even group messages and you can do it over 3G or Wi-Fi. iMessages are automatically pushed across all your devices, so you can even start a message on let’s say your iPhone and continue it on your iPad.  It’s handy especially if your battery dies on one and you need to use the other device.

BlackBerry Killer?

There’s more. BlackBerry users who refuse to give up their BBM (BlackBerry Messenger) or who can’t, may be in for a surprise.  iMessage  features delivery notification, read receipts, message encryption and typing indication, so you actually can see when someone is composing a message to you. If they can do without their little tactile keyboards, and if they can convince corporate headquarters, could this be the tipping point to make them switch?  And with Notification Center, it’ll make using iMessage that much sweeter.

PC FREE

And finally, PC FREE. It’s not really an app as much as it is a total paradigm shift. Currently, when we buy an iOS device we need to hook it up to a computer to set it up.

“We know we’re selling to a lot of places where the households just don’t have computers,” says Forstall.

So with the release of iOS 5, no computer will be needed to set-up or update an iOS device. The cables have been cut, so instead of the familiar – plug me in, you will see simply “Welcome.”  All set-up and updates are done OTA – over the air. Furthermore, Forstall adds, “Updates are ‘Delta updates’…so you’re only getting what’s changed.”

This is a nice shift from a complete install each time an update comes around.

Bottom Line

These enhancements and new features in Apple iOS 5 are significant, adding incredible value and utility to the devices. In fact features like Notification Center and iMessage may not only get people to switch devices, it may even encourage people to buy more of them. And to the dismay of the telcos, for some, it may actually replace SMS.

Free Upgrade

The upgrade to iOS 5 will be free. While we will need to wait until the fall, the Beta version, as well as the iOS SDK (Software Development Kit) for developers are available immediately.

Apple iOS5

Apple indicated that iOS 5 will work with iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2, iPad, iPod touch (3rd & 4th generation), but until its officially shipping, it is certainly possible that some of these features may either not be available or not operate as expected with older models. So if you are in the market for a new device, I suggest going with the most current.

Greg Gazin is the Real Canadian Gadget Guy.

Follow me on Twitter @gadgetgreg

Subscribe to the post

12 comments

  1. Mahesh | June 8, 2011 at 2:19 am

    Great features, it will surely boost the selling of iDevices.

  2. Fred | June 9, 2011 at 7:08 am

    Great, when i win the lotery I will check it out. For now we will just keep on living.

  3. John | June 9, 2011 at 11:29 am

    It slices it dices, but does it do anything that is required? Sounds like a great piece of software for a great gadget but these gadgets are still a little pricey. I think most of us can survive without these features – it is sad when tweeting is a selling feature. The best feature on this is the PC free updates.

  4. Fred1 | June 9, 2011 at 12:08 pm

    Loser^^^^

  5. Joe Schmidt | June 9, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    Yes Apple has helped close the loop between the CSE and the public. Companies like Apple and Facebook have made it palatable for individuals to hand over their freedoms and privacy rights. The CSE has embraced and likely supported these endeavors. Folks now simply allow the CSE to know everything about their own lives. The Apple cloud will only further this deterioration of our privacy rights.

  6. Fred2 | June 9, 2011 at 8:47 pm

    ^^^^^ Exceptionally mature Apple owner

  7. Rob C | June 20, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    Now if we can only have multiple email signatures for different accounts, it would be close to perfect.

  8. Ben D | June 20, 2011 at 6:00 pm

    Guess they gave up on the iPhone 3G and are only updating the newer phones. Not good support/service as far as I can see.

  9. Jesse Michaels | June 21, 2011 at 9:07 am

    While many 3G’s are still humming along nicely, the device is 3 years old – Apple has to cut off its support at some point.

  10. what | July 24, 2011 at 3:13 pm

    Sounds like a catch up release to most other smart phones out there. Apple is following not leading on this release. No points for Apple on this one.

  11. Spock | July 24, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    I couldn’t agree more Joe. People are like sheep, following the latest and greatest fad. I willl never have a facebook account, or use any of this cloud stuff. But have at it people if you like…

  12. tony | October 6, 2011 at 7:49 am

    are there any improvements on the camera quality?

Leave a comment

 characters available