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    iOS 5 Now Available

    Matt - October 12th, 2011 7:31 PM

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It’s official! iOS 5 if now available for all! (that’s if Apple’s servers don’t crash due to the insane amount of traffic…)

The releases comes two days before the iPhone 4S is set to launch.

iOS 5 is bringing a whole array of features to iOS. Here’s a few of the new features and updates you’ll be using from now on.

Notifications

Notifications have been a feature that have been around for years on iDevices if you were part of the jailbreaking scene, however, iOS 5 brings its very own Notifications Center to your device. This is the hub for all of your notifications whether they’re mail, texts, missed calls or reminders. Notifications for different applications can be changed or added in the Settings app.

Twitter

A much needed feature that many have requested for years; deep system-level integration of a social network. With Twitter implemented in to a whole variety of iOS’ crevaces, you’ll be tweeting all the time now.

Safari

Apple’s mobile version of Safari was released and announced back in 2010 at WWDC and is now the most used mobile web browser in the world.

The new Reader option is a fantastic feature that streamlines multi-page articles by loading them in a RSS-like view while stripping out ads and all that nast stuff, so that you’re just left with text and photos.

However, it’s not all good news. The Reader also strips out comments, which may not be an issue for most, but for some it might end up being a bit annoying when you have to switch back to the normal website to view comments.

Tabbed browsing is also available for the iPad and the Reading List allows you to add a web page to the list and view it on any of your iOS devices.

Reminders

Reminders does pretty much what it says on the tin, and if you’re using it with Siri on the iPhone 4S it’s even better.

After bringing up Siri, just could say, “Call home when I leave work,” and the app will then use GPS to work out when you’re on the move and send the reminder via push notifications.

The app features a very sleek, scrollable calander, which lists all of your reminders for the future.

With the join effort of both Siri and Reminders, you should never forgot to do something ever again. In reality though, you’ll probably forgot to set the reminder anyway…

Camera

The new Camera updates and the new Camera are probably the most talked about updates.

The Camera app updates will be available for all iOS users. One of the most requested features for the camera app were to make it act more like a point and shoot camera. So because of this, you now have a camera icon on the lock screen (after double tapping the home button), which will launch the camera app, bypassing any pass codes, allow you to take a picture and then the phone will lock again when you’re done.

You can now also use the volume control to take a picture, therefore holding the phone just like you would a camera.

Photo editing tools have also been implemented right into the camera app allowing you to crop, rotate, reduce red-eye and colour correct.

Even though these features are great, Apple are well behind the times in terms of photo editing on smartphones. You’ve been able to do this on Android devices for quite some time now.

PC Free and iCloud

iOS 5 brings us wireless syncing and iCloud.

The wireless syncing option removes the need for a cable, unless you’re charging your device of course.

Wireless syncing also means over-the-air software updates for your iOS device. Again, this is not a new feature in terms of all of the smartphones out there running Android, Windows Phone 7 or BlackBerry OS 5; it is however, a much needed feature to bring iOS up-to-date.

You’ll now also find new features implemented in to applications thanks to iCloud.

iCloud acts as a backup service for your phone, but with everything being backed-up to Apple’s servers instead of your computer. These back-ups will also enable you to restore your device to a previous configuration wirelessly.

iCloud will store your Contacts, Photos, Mail, Photos and calanders, as well as the ability to store much more there.

Game Center

The Game Center has had a few small updates in iOS 5. These being the ability to add profile photos, compare achievement points, friends of friends lists, recommended friends and games, support for turn-based games, and a way to buy games directly from Game Center.

These small little tweaks and upgrades will most likely make Game Center a much more user-friendly place thanks to the personal touches that have been added.

I feel that the inclusion of buying games through Game Center is quite pointless to be honest. It only saves a few minutes time by not having to open the App Store instead. Hardly a feature that anyone was expecting or wanted.

iMessage

This feature is going to cause havoc for so many problems for carriers, but for all of us iDevice owners, it’s come at just the right time.

With iMessage, you can message any iDevice running iOS 5; that’s iPhones, iPod Touches AND iPads. You’ll be able to send texts, pictures and video for free to other iOS 5 users

This is Apple’s answer to BBM (BlackBerry Messaging Service), and as long as carriers don’t have any problems or introduce charges for using it, I see no problem why iMessage won’t be the leader in its category.

We’ll hopefully have a comparison of iMessage and BBM soon. Watch this space.

Find My Friends

Probably the most controversial feature of iOS 5, Find My Friends let you view your friends’ and family’s locations in real time on a map (As long as they agree to share their location info with you).

Now, this could be seen as spying, but imagine how useful it will be if someone went missing. You’d just pull out your iPhone, load up the app and search for your friend.

For all of you concerned about privacy, don’t worry, the Find My Friends app also has the ability for you to specifiy a time limit for sharing your location. Meaning that if you were out in town, you could share your location with your friends so they know where to find you.

A very useful feature that will most likely get slated at some point in the future.

Siri

And finally, Siri.

Siri was announced along with the iPhone 4S and is pretty much the most advanced voice control software available on a Smartphone.

Siri is essentially an upgrade to the iOS Voice Control feature, but has cost millions of dollars to develop.

Siri works by holding the home button and waiting the Siri UI to load. You’ll then be able to say a command. Whether that’s “What’s the time?” or “What’s the weather like in London?” is entirely up to you, but Siri can understand pretty much anything you say. You can dictate text messages and get it to set reminders for you, only using your voice.

It seems to be more like a gimmick, but I predict that Siri will pave the way for even more advanced voice control programs.

Conclusions

iOS 5 is definitely a step up from iOS 4. From the Notifications Center to the Reader option in Safari, these changes might be relatively small, but compared with where we were 3 years ago with iOS, I don’t think any of us could have imagined the features we now have access to.

iOS 5 also plays host to over 200 new updates as well as Newsstand, Mail, Cards, Personal Dictionary and Alternate Routes.

To upgrade to iOS 5, just connect your device to your Mac or PC and follow the onscreen instructions in iTunes.

We’ll be showing iOS 5 off in our review of the iPhone 4S soon.

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