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Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

WWDC 2011: iOS 5

Ankit Tyagi |
June 6, 2011 | 1:11 p.m. PDT

Staff Reporter

iOS 5 Logo. Photo courtesy of Apple.
iOS 5 Logo. Photo courtesy of Apple.

Steve Jobs took the stage at the WWDC Monday to highlight three major products including the iOS 5. The long-awaited update the iOS 4 will be available to consumers in the fall, with the development SDK available today for registered developers. 

Apple has high hopes for the new iOS, and many of the features seen will make iOS 5 one of the most advanced mobile OS platforms to date.

Apple claims to have over 200 new features available for iOS 5, but highlighted only a small number during the Keynote. Here are the major changes in iOS 5:

1. Notifications

The annoying blue alert is gone. One of the biggest complaints still remaining for iOS, the blue popup that would show up while using any app has now changed to a more fluid bar on the top of the screen that shows any changes. With the addition of a notification center, people can now see any notification from any app, including Facebook, Twitter, calls, messages, and more. In addition, people can see all the notifications on the lock screen as well, and can play back voicemails from the lock screen directly.

2. Newsstand

Similar to iBooks, Newsstand provides a one stop shop for all newspapers, magazines, and other publications. People can subscribe to different magazines and publications and easily view content without having to worry about downloading the latest copy. All downloads are automatic once subscribed, and can be viewed offline.

3. Twitter Integration

Sign into Twitter once through the Settings, and Twitter can be handled through any app, per user approval. Integrated with Camera, Photos, Maps, and Safari, Tweets are now easier to send, and handled more efficiently through iOS 5. With the new notification system, Twitter has been deeply integrated into iOS 5.

4. Safari

Safari now has a reader mode that is similar to the computer model, which eliminates ads and unimportant text on an article. More so, users can save webpages in a "Reading List" which can be synced up to multiple devices. A new tabbed browsing interface also creates a more powerful web browsing experience.

5. Reminders

Adding Todo lists, setting reminders for certain dates, and setting reminders for reaching a certain geo-location are some of the powerful new features of Reminders. People can now set a reminder upon reaching a certain location, or based on leaving a different location. For example, if you want to remember to call somebody when you get to a specific location, Reminders can tell you, regardless of when you arrive, just simply based on the geo-coordinates.

6. Camera

With the iPhone being the most popular phone camera used today, Apple has made it even easier to take a quick picture. The lock screen now has a photo button that allows you to quickly open up the Camera application. More so, the volume up button doubles as a shutter, creating a tactile button for taking pictures. Basic photo-editing is now supported, with an auto-touch feature, red-eye removal, and cropping available.

7. Mail

Mail now has the ability to handle rich-text formatting, indentation control, draggable addresses, and flagging important mail. This enhances the quality of emails sent from the iPhone directly by allowing for some basic formatting, along with an easier handling of incoming mail. There is now a built-in dictionary as well, with built-in spell checking. With the iPad, a new "thumbs-only" keyboard is also available, as another option for typing emails.

8. "PC Free"

Currently, all iOS devices must be connected to a computer before they can be used. Not anymore. Apple is allowing setup and activation on the device itself. This means that there will be over the air software updates and wireless syncing, both 2 major features consumers were hoping for. 

9. Game Center

Making Game Center a more social experience, Apple is adding turn-based game support and built-in game downloads. With the ability to post a profile picture, meet new people based on currently played games, and new game discovery, the social experience missing from Game Center is coming. 

10. iMessage

Messages on the iPhone are great, but they're only on the iPhone, until now. Apple is adding the ability to send messages to any iOS 5 device. Messages can include text, photos, videos, and more. With delivery and read receipts, the ability to see when somebody is typing, secure encryption, and group messaging, iMessage will bring the messaging power to all iOS users. 

Tying all of these changes together with iCloud and Mac OS X Lion, iOS 5 hopes to be one of the most powerful mobile platform available.

Apple's Keynote speech at WWDC today highlighted 3 major products, Mac OS X Lion, iOS 5, and iCloud. Read more about iCloud and Mac OS X Lion at the links provided.

Reach Ankit Tyagi here.

Follow him on Twitter @ankittya.



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