Apple’s newest mobile operating system is just round the corner and it now incorporates features that have been demanded by users for a long time. Here’s a look at some of the biggest improvements that iOS5 is expected to deliver to the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.
iOS5 brings much-needed improvements to Safari and Mail. Safari will have a reading list to save any article and read it later. The list is automatically synced among your devices.
Reader on Safari reformats a site on the fly removing ads and formatting the text to make it easier to read. Tabbed browsing will also be available making it easier to switch between multiple pages.
Apple has deeply integrated Twitter into iOS5. Just sign-in with your Twitter ID once and you will be able to tweet directly to your timeline from within apps – links from Safari, images from Photos or camera and location from maps.
The contact list will also have a Twitter field so that the address book can be updated with your Twitter followers list. This will make it simpler to mention your friends in a tweet or send direct messages.
If you love the camera on your iPhone, you’ll love that you no longer will have to unlock the phone and click on camera to start the app -you can launch the camera directly from the lockscreen in iOS5.
iOS5 will also allow you to use the volume up key as the shutter key. Some basic editing is also possible now from within the app to enhance photographs, including red eye reduction and cropping.
The iPod app will be replaced by an allnew Music app on the iPad. Playlists will be shown as vinyls and albums will look much better in contrast with the background.
Some added features include real-time search an animated ‘now playing’ screen and a tabbed interface for quick navigation. Apple will also allow you to remove songs directly from the iOS device.
With the integrated Dictionary, all iOS devices will show a pop-up menu when you use the selection tool and select a word. In the popup menu, If you select ‘define’, a definition of the word will come up, irrespective of what app you’re running.
On the iPad, the keyboard can be split in half for easy typing using thumbs – you will be able to set it at any level on the screen, which makes it easier to type across various forms/sites.
For people with disabilities, iOS5 lets you set custom vibration patterns and assign them to contacts or use them to differentiate between various notification alerts.
There is also option to use the camera LED flash as an alert for incoming calls or messages. Voiceover will support custom labeling that enables better interaction.
All iOS devices running iOS5 can be activated wirelessly out of the box. Software updates will also be pushed over the air to the device, eliminating the need to connect the device to a PC/MAC via USB cable.
Thankfully, Apple was smart enough to take it one step further – you will also be able to sync your iOS device with iTunes over Wi-Fi. Everytime you connect your device to charge, it will automatically check with iTunes and update your device with new music, videos or photos.
iOS5 will enable multi-tasking gesture controls on the iPad, similar to what MAC OSX Lion offers on Apple notebooks. You will be able to use four or five-finger gestures to swipe left or right or move between apps.
Swiping up will show the multitasking bar and a five-finger pinch on the screen will take you to the homescreen.
The Game Centre undergoes a huge change with iOS5. Although the interface remains the same, Game Centre brings in additions in the form of achievement points, support for turnbased games like Scrabble, profile photos as well as the ability to access friends of friends to compare scores and invite them for games.
Game downloads can now be initiated from within the game center. A new Game Discovery feature will allow anyone interested to invite you to play games with them.
Photo Stream will be a big hit with anyone who love taking photographs their iPhone. The feature will instantly share the 1,000 most recent photos between your computer and your iOS device. The photographs will be uploaded to iCloud in the background and then synced with all of your other iOS devices. Sounds good, but it could be a battery hog.
iMessage to iOS is what BBM is to BlackBerry. It will deliver real-time push messages to other Apple devices over Edge/3G or Wi-Fi. You can share photos, videos, location & contacts. It also supports group messaging & if you have multiple devices, you can start a conversation on one device & continue on another.
Newsstand will organise all news and magazine subscriptions in one place. You have the option to buy new subscriptions from within the Newsstand app while the App Store itself will be updated with a dedicated place to view all available subscriptions.
Any new subscriptions are automatically moved to the newsstand app on purchase/download. The app will also display alerts to indicate that new content has arrived. It’s not clear yet whether all subscriptions will be available in India.
The biggest change in iOS5 will be the addition of a Notification Center. The new notification center consists of a drop-down tray with all notifications that can be viewed anytime by swiping down from the top (similar to Android).
The tray also accomodates mini widgets – you can add a weather widget or a Facebook widget and so on. The notification improvements also extend to the lock screen, i.e., simply swiping the notification on the lockscreen will take you directly to the app without having to unlock first.
Reminders will allow you to create to-do lists in a simple manner. You can add due dates and locations to each reminder. The app will then alert you as soon as it detects that you are at the location for which the reminder was set. It works with iCal and Outlook too. Entries made on one device are also synced with others via iCloud.