Apple iOS 5 New Features and Goodies

Published Tuesday, June 07, 2011 11:02 AM

The new iOS 5 was unveiled yesterday at the WWDC 2011 keynote and according to Apple there are 200 new features in the new iOS. Some of them were discussed in the Keynote while others are still coming out as developers dive into the beta release.

The most exciting new feature in iOS 5 is the way it handles notifications. Apple has finally made a place for all your notifications to live in a handy drop down menu that is only a downward swipe away. When you receive a notification it will no longer pop up in the middle of the screen and interrupt what you are doing. Instead a small bar slides down from the top of the screen and when ignored disappears with a nice cube transition.

Notifications also pop up on the homescreen/lock screen as well but instead of just being a list of what you missed allows you can swipe the notification you want to see first taking you straight to the appropriate application. Notifications was the feature everyone seems to complain about and Apple's solution is pretty awesome. It's very similar to a system developed for jailbreak phones which shouldn't be a surprise since the developer of the Cydia application is Apple's newest employee. It's also similar to how android phones handle notifications as well.


Apple also talked about an interesting new feature called iMessages, which is sort of like Blackberry Messenger. iMessages is built into the Messages app for iPhone users, but iPad users will have a dedicated app for it. It's simply a messaging app that allows you to send messages to user that pop up on any device they are currently logged into. Sent messages have read notifications that confirm that the recipient has read your message as well as typing indication which is nice.  Messages can also include pictures and videos as well as text. Since the iMessages use the same app as SMS the iMessages all have blue bubbles instead of the standard silver. This helps users tell the difference between iMessages and SMS messages.


Newsstand is the new place to purchase newspapers and magazines on your iPad. It looks very similar to the ibooks offering except it operates like a app folder displaying your magazines and newspapers in the dropdown.  


Twitter was rumored to be integrated into the new iOS and that turned out to be true. Apple has integrated Twitter into the iOS allowing you to tweet photos from the photo app as well as webpages from Safari. You can also add a geotag to your tweet by hitting the 'Add Location' button.


Reminders is a new app that simply creates reminders and notifications of things you need to get done. It's a sort of to-do list app that allows you to make a list of things you need to do and mark them as done as you accomplish them. A new location feature allows you to set a location boundary that will activate the reminder when you get outside of the boundary. For example you can set a reminder to get milk from the store when leave the coffee shop. When you cross the location boundary set at the coffee shop the reminder will activate.


The default camera app has left a lot to be desired. Apple has heard the complaints and has added some pretty awesome camera features to the iOS 5. For starters there is now a camera button on the home screen allowing you to launch the camera app without unlocking your phone. Your photos will be protected so people can view your existing images. You can now pinch to zoom in and out as well as touch and hold to force exposure for a particular area. Apple has also added some photo editing tools allowing users to crop, reduce redeye, rotate images, and auto enhance their images, nothing ground breaking but better than nothing.


The settings app houses all kinds of new features that were not discussed at the keynote. Apple has added a cool text shortcut feature that allows users to set text micros that expand into common typed phrases. This is much like an application for Mac called Text Expander, something I use all the time and a welcomed new feature. Apple has finally allows user to change the Voicemail, new mail, sent mail, and calendar alarm sounds. Currently users are only allowed to change the Ringtone and SMS sounds, but now it seems you can change the sounds for just about anything. According to a Engadget commenter "There will be a new 'Tone Store' in iTunes that will allow you to purchase SMS, New Mail, Voicemail, etc. tones." If that is true that means we will finally be able to change the SMS noise to whatever you want. Hazzah!

There are so many more features that I didn't talk about that I just don't have the time for, but the iOS 5 is shaping up to be one of the best updates to the iOS. The update will come out this fall along with Lion OS X and will be available for iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 as well as iPod Touch 4th and 5th generations. 

Images from Engadget 

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