Last night Apple’s iPhone received a major update, introducing some 200 new features and enhancement in its newly released iOS 5.
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|Apple’s iMessage on iPhones and iPads|
The new iOS will rip off rival Android’s notification bar, with notifications taking the form of fleeting banners at the top of the screen, residing in the background if users don’t want to access them straight away. The notification centre can be accessed by swiping downwards from the top of the screen, revealing any messages, missed calls and widgets users have active.
Perhaps one of the biggest innovations in iOS 5 is Apple’s new iMessage application. Built into the existing messaging app, iMessage lets users send text, picture and video messages to other iOS device owners via mobile internet. Since the internet is being used to deliver the messages, iMessages won’t affect rate plans and will make iPods and iPads messaging capable.
Reminders is a new app incorporated into the to-do list manager. The app tracks the time and user’s location to trigger reminders, letting them know if they’re running behind on their schedule.
Another new addition, Newsstand streamlines digital magazine and newspaper subscriptions into a single permanent folder located on a user’s home screen. Applications will be able to tap into Newsstand and automatically update themselves in the background, delivering an up-to-date digital library.
Apple cameras have benefitted from a functionality update, capable of being launched directly from the lock screen, using the volume up button to take photos and acquiring photo editing software.
Microblogging services in general will have a more underlying presence throughout the updated software, with snapped pics being uploaded directly Twitter accounts as an example.
Apple’s updated OS is all about the cloud, cutting the umbilical USB cord tying phones to computers. iPhones, iPads and iPods can now be ‘unbricked’ without using a computer, Wi-Fi syncing can now be used to sync with iTunes and updates will be available over the air (once iOS 5 is installed.) iCloud support is also tied in, which was launched only yesterday.
Compared to previous generations the latest version of iOS introduces the least amount of new features. Early on, iOS was riddled with deficiencies, lacking basics like MMS and text editing, making the ‘upgrades’ more of a catch up. Now though, the system is in place, and it’s more about innovating on the software, and making it special.
Updating an iOS device will require iTunes 10.5, released by Apple on Tuesday, and is compatible with Apple’s iPhone 3Gs, 4, 4S; iPad 1 and 2; and any iPod Touch. Installing it is simple, requiring that you plug your device into your computer and select ‘Check for Updates’ in the iTunes menu.