Apple has unveiled a host of new features for iOS 5 at the WWDC 2011 keynote, some long overdue, and most importantly their much touted iCloud service.
While it’s glaring most of their new features implemented are actually taking some of the greater ideas off others and doing it the Apple way (with great usability, UI & all), their iCloud / iTunes Match service basically legalizes all the pirated music users hold and is set to revolutionize the music distribution not seen in a new way since Napster. Brace yourself Amazon, Google & Spotify.
- iCloud / OTA Updates / PC Free / Sync
The cloud is the way to go and basically it is taking on the likes of Dropbox, Google Docs, Spotify, Amazon, etc by storing your music, photos, apps, calendars, documents, and more. Magically then wirelessly pushes them to all your devices automatically.
Er not really magically since over the air updates have been a staple for Android users who can also download via the web market and the tedious iTunes registration/setup has always been a bugbear. Activations no longer require a computer, and more promise of over the air updates, with daily backups, etc. Basically everything is now in the cloud.
- iTunes Match
Apple boasts 18 million songs in their iTunes library, and for just USD24.99 a year, they are promising to legalize all our Napster songs by determining which songs in your collection are available in the iTunes Store. Any music with a match is automatically added to your iCloud library for you to listen to anytime, on any device.
All you have to upload is what iTunes can’t match, and the best part is music iTunes matches plays back at 256-Kbps iTunes Plus quality — even if your original copy was of lower quality. Pretty wonderful considering my entire collection of 3,000 songs are all blasting at a mere 128 Kbps.
- Notification Center
Apple has certainly gone the way of the dinosaur with regards to notifications, and they’ve finally followed Android in implementing the unobtrusive drop down notifications. How they took donkey years to simply copy Android and swipe down from the top of the screen remains a mystery, though the Google lawyers will be busy scrutinizing any patents they have.
Apple knows BlackBerry is on the wane, and riding on their own popularity, have turned BlackBerry’s idea into their own, riding on their supposedly 200 million strong iOS army. It remains to be seen if they are open enough to allow other OSes in, if they do they’ll eliminate SMS, WhatsApp, andwhat’s not.
In an Android-esque move, any received messages can be read whilst in other apps. You’ll be able to write a reply, then jump straight back into any video you’re watching or game you’re playing.
Even Internet Explorer has tabbed browsing! Finally, Safari is trying to play catch up with Firefox, Opera, Chrome & co. Tabs will be always visible and switch instantly.
Safari is also trying to catch up with Firefox & Chrome sync by allowing you to save content for future reading, across multiple platforms. Read Me Later, etc and co have already started cursing & swearing for not attempting to patent it first.
Multitasking was absent for a significant period of time, and even then Apple didn’t seem to get it right but now it’s available in full glory. Suspended apps are a goner and you can flick between apps seamlessly just like Android users have had for the past year or so.
Changes will allow you to take pictures directly from the lock screen, whether there is a password or not. Other options added include lock focus and exposure, pinch and zoom the live view,and enhancing photos with the iPhoto optimization techniques. A hard trigger (volume up) allows for quick snaps.
Apple has recognized with the near demise of BlackBerry, they should spruce up their email app and spruce up they have. They have added the ability to search the entire contents of your mail (including the body, flag emails. The iPad will get a swipe-to-inbox function to make the best use of all that touchscreen. Both will benefit from a built-in dictionary, something that Macs have had for a while.
Several new variant keyboards allow the iPhone to catch-up on some of the keyboard customisations Android fans have boasted of. A dual-thumb keyboard was demoed as well.
- Twitter Integration
The blue bird is now going to be everywhere on your phone! Like how you can share photos from the gallery for Android, you can post to Twitter (but still no Facebook)
Another glaring function that has been missing and long overdue, allowing for reminder of list of items, locations, etc.
Showcasing all the subscription magazines, Apple already had publishers up in arms over their cut of profits, this will further enhance their stance and definitely give them a bigger say in their cut.
You can also check out the full list of features on the Apple website.
All I can say is these are great for consumers, Apple users aside because it basically ups the ante on all the Smartphone OSes to get their asses up and trying to better Apple in terms of functionality, UI and such.
Finally, iOS 5 will run on the iPhone, from 3GS up, both iPads and iPod Touch 3rd generation and up.