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Notifications in iOS 5

PC Free


Twitter integration
IOS 5 looks to right the wrongs of previous iOS version

There's no question that iOS is a dominant force in the mobile arena. Apple's mobile OS can be found in the iPod touch, iPhone, and iPad. A modified version of the OS even appears in the Apple TV.

As usual, Apple liked to throw out a lot of figures with regards to iOS 

  • 200 million iOS devices have been sold to date
  • IOS has 44 percent of the mobile OS market
  • 25 million iPads have been sold in just over a year 

For all of Apple’s success with iOS (the iPhone has a large chunk of the smartphone market and the iPad dominates in tablet sales), there’s still a lot of room for improvement with the operating system. First launched in 2007, iOS has seen new functionality tacked on over the years, but in look and function, it remains mostly the same. 

Apple is looking to shake things up a bit with iOS 5, and hopes to correct many of the issues that have plagued the platform for years. IOS has 1,500 new APIs and 200 new features -- 10 of which Apple is covering today. The biggest one (and the one that most have been BEGGING for) is an improved notifications system.

Even Apple's Scott Forstall admitted that the current modal system for displaying notifications is annoying. IOS 5 includes a new Notification Center. Swiping down from the top of the screen will show missed calls, email messages, Facebook updates, weather information, etc. (**Cough**, Android). Tapping an alert sends you directly to the corresponding app, while clicking on "X" will dismiss the alert.

The previously barren and useless lockscreen now also shows notifications and allows you to slide your finger across the alert to go directly to the corresponding app (i.e. a missed text will send you to the SMS app).

The next new feature is News Stand, which is pretty much self explanatory. It provides a centralized location for subscription content (newspapers and magazines).

A feature that was rumored last week for iOS 5 was confirmed today: tightly integrated Twitter support. Love it or hate it, Twitter is becoming an important medium for mass communication and Apple is looking to make it easier for users to use the service. The Camera and accompanying Photo apps will now have the ability a "Tweet" option to directly upload pictures (and 140 characters) to your Twitter account. Twitter functionality is also integrated into the Contacts, Maps, and Browser apps.

The next iOS app to get an update is Mobile Safari. Apple claims that Mobile Safari accounts for 64 percent of the mobile browser usage. Reading List allows you to save stories for later viewing (think Instapaper) and can be synced across iOS devices. The largest member of the iOS family, the 9.7" iPad/iPad 2, gets full tabbed browsing with iOS 5.

The next new feature is Reminders, which is simply a "to do" task list for iOS. Reminders are location-aware, i.e. pulling up to the Target parking lot would popup an alert reminding you to pickup some shampoo.

The Camera app also gets an update, this time with ability to jump to the app directly from the lock screen if you need to take a quick picture. And finally, Apple will allow users to take a picture using a physical button -- in this case, the volume button. Pictures can also be cropped, rotated, and even have red eye reduction applied to them after the fact.

One of the most used apps on iOS devices is Mail. Apple is bringing updates to this app courtesy of rich text formatting and the ability to flag message and search entire email messages. There is also now a built-in dictionary that is accessible by all iOS applications. S/MIME has also been added for business users. IPAD users will also get a new split keyboard feature to help making typing an easier endeavor.

Another huge new feature is "PC Free", which simply means that users can now cut the [USB] cord to your Mac/PC. There is no longer a need to plug in an iOS device to set it up -- device activation occurs on-device and software updates now sync OTA (welcome to the party, Apple). "Delta" updates will only download relevant changes to the OS to an iOS device so that a huge 300MB update isn't needed. 

The next feature Apple addressed is Game Center. Apple claims to now have 50 million Game Center users (versus a "mere" 30 million for Xbox Live). Photos of friends can now appear in Game Center, and achievement points can be earned. You can also recommend games to friends. 

Finally, there is iMessage which supports the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. It allows iOS users to send messages, photos, and videos to each other (including group messages). It works over Wi-Fi and 3G and includes secure encryption. It also features delivery/read receipts, typing indication, and push support. Naturally, iMessage takes full advantage of the new notifications capabilities.

IOS 5 is coming this fall and will support the iPhone 3GS/iPhone 4, iPad/iPad 2, and the third and fourth gen iPod touch.

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Look and feel
By Solandri on 6/6/2011 2:55:30 PM , Rating: 3
Swiping down from the top of the screen will show missed calls, email message, Facebook updates, weather information, etc. (**Cough**, Android).

*Waits for Apple to pay Google for copying its UI, or for it to apologize to Samsung.*

RE: Look and feel
By nafhan on 6/6/2011 2:57:57 PM , Rating: 3
No they're going to buy some random patents and sue everyone else who uses this type of notification system.

RE: Look and feel
By Omega215D on 6/6/2011 4:58:14 PM , Rating: 2
*Looks at his Thunderbolt with HTC Sense and swipes down top bar*

OMG when did this feature get here?!

RE: Look and feel
By mcnabney on 6/6/2011 6:43:07 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, iOS5 is the beginning of APPLE FRAGMENTATION!

Did you hear that Jobs Mob? The iOS platform is now even more fragmented than Android now that two generations of iPhone/Touch have been cast off.

RE: Look and feel
By Belard on 6/7/2011 3:26:05 AM , Rating: 2
er... no.

All iOS devices can upgrade to iOS5. All iPhones, iPads and IPod Touches. The process is up to the user to choose the upgrade, which most will do.

There is NO Fragmentation.

With Android - which is somewhat good and bad thing, each phone maker can and DOES change the Android GUI to some degree... sometimes good. Samsung's Notification puzzle is nice.

Google's release with a "hero" device for every major release is problematic. Phones that are not "upgradable" by their manufactures or carrier in a normal or easy way *IS* a major problem.

THAT is the fragmentation that we are talking about when it comes to Google's Android.

Of course, changing how an Android phone looks and feels is open to pretty much everyone rather easily.

RE: Look and feel
By choirbass on 6/8/2011 1:08:23 AM , Rating: 2
there is fragmentation to the extent that you have both supported, and unsupported idevices. and the unsupported simply arent part of the equation anymore.

the os itself, no different. made by one manufacturer, one set of distribution (either as a whole, or individual).

to that extent, i can be ota being an annoyance aka fragmentation.

is ota the beginning of the end then?

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