Apple has just announced the next major version of iOS at the ongoing WWDC. iOS5 is a major release for developers with more than 1500+ APIs and tools, as well as for general users with more than 200 new features.
First and foremost, Apple has finally gone ahead and over-hauled the notification system is iOS. The new notification style in iOS5 is called the Notification System, and can be accessed from anywhere by just swiping down the screen (Android style). The Notification center also takes some cues from the popular Mobile Notifier app from the Cydia App store. Apple has also updated the lock screen to display notifications and music control buttons.
Apple has also tightly integrated Twitter into iOS5. iOS device owners can simply sign-in to Twitter once under Settings and they are done! Their Twitter contacts will be linked to their phone contacts. Core apps of the iOS5 like iPhotos, Maps, and Safari etc. will also feature Twitter integration. Users can now share an image or a link to an article by simply tapping the Tweet button in iPhoto or Safari.
With iOS5, users can read magazines available on the newsstand right on their iTouch device. The Newsstand’ app will show users a list of all the available magazines, and will also download the latest magazines in the background for offline reading. The App Store will also get a dedicated category for the Newsstand magazines.
Upgraded Camera App
Apple has also made taking pictures and videos on the iPhone easier and quicker, with a shortcut of the camera app right on the lock screen. The volume up button on the iPhone will now act as a physical shutter button. Users can now pinch and zoom right inside the camera app and select a particular scene where they want to lock the focus to. The new version of iOS will also allow users to do some basic editing with their photos like cropping and red-eye reduction.
Safari, Game Center And Mail With New Features
Safari for iOS has also been revamped in iOS5. It now features tabbed browsing, and also looks similar to Safari for OS X. The new Safari Reader’ feature will strip down a webpage from all the junk and ads, and present the main article in a readable, scrollable text format. For example, a 20 page article can be stripped down to just one page by this feature in a simple scrollable text format. The new version of Safari also features Reading List’ which is similar to the popular Read It Later service. The Reading List’ also syncs across all iOS devices and OS X based devices.
The popular Mail app has also been upgraded in iOS5. The app now features drag able addresses, indentation control, S/MIME support, the ability to search within messages, and to flag messages. There is also a Swipe to Inbox gesture for the iPad.
iOS5 will also include a new To-Do list app called Reminders’. The app will be location aware and can trigger functions depending on a user’s location and the time.
Game Center for iOS has also been enhanced with new features. Users now have the ability to view friends of their friends, find new games and purchase them right from within Game Center. Game Center now also features the ability to play turn based games like Scrabble and Chess etc.
iMessage The BBM Killer
Apple is also introducing a new messaging system with iOS5 dubbed as iMessage’. This service is similar to BBM, and will be available for the iPad, iPod Touch and the iPhone. The app will allow users to share messages, images, and videos etc. and will work over Wi-Fi as well as 3G.
Users will also be provided with typing notifications, and the messages will be pushed to all the iOS devices of a user. The messages sent via iMessage will be totally encrypted for enhanced security.
Wireless Syncing and OTA Updates
With iOS5, iDevices will become true PC free devices or rather Post-PC devices. iOS5 will incorporate wireless syncing with iTunes over Wi-Fi, which will include syncing your music library and apps. iOS updates will also be pushed OTA (Over-The-Air) from now on, and they will only update the needed parts of the OS a la Symbian and Android. Also, when users first start their iOS device, they will be greeted with a setup screen instead of the Connect To iTunes screen.
iOS5 will also include multi-tasking gestures which we saw back in iOS4.2. iPad users will also get a new split keyboard for thumb typing; along with a new music app. Dictionary has also been integrated in the whole OS. Users can tap a word anywhere inside the OS to find its meaning. Other new features of iOS5 include AirPlay Mirroring, improved Facetime video call quality, typing shortcuts, and Emoji emoticons.
The developer’s tool has also been updated with new features and is available for download beginning from today itself. iOS5 will be available for the iPod Touch 3G and 4G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and the iPad 1/2 sometime this fall.