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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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RE: PC free = no iTunes?
By theapparition on 6/6/2011 3:19:20 PM , Rating: 1
You'll still need itunes to purchase and sync your music and media.

The biggest reason not to get an iDevice is still there.

RE: PC free = no iTunes?
By IamTHEsnake on 6/6/2011 4:42:20 PM , Rating: 2
adjust your horseblinders. read 'icloud', which is free by the way. no itunes needed after initial matching of media.

RE: PC free = no iTunes?
By weskurtz0081 on 6/6/2011 5:04:30 PM , Rating: 3
I LOVE competition! At this point, Google doesn't really offer a service like this that I am aware of, although I am sure they are completely capable of doing so.

But, yeah, the way I understood it is, you really don't need a PC to use an iPhone anymore, ABOUT TIME! Great improvement! Like I said in the other response, IMO makes the iPhone worthy of another look when I get around to replacing my current phone.

RE: PC free = no iTunes?
By sprockkets on 6/6/2011 8:28:26 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe, but since day one your google account synced your phone up, apps included. Music sync already announced, but won't do what apple's does, but big deal.

RE: PC free = no iTunes?
By weskurtz0081 on 6/6/2011 8:53:43 PM , Rating: 1
I don't really care about Music sync, and I know from day one my phone synced contacts, which is one of the big reasons I went with my N1! But, from the looks of it, the Cloud service Apple offers appears to be a more complete solution than what Google is CURRENTLY offering. It would be awesome to have Android sync photo's, contacts, app data, OTA, but what it does sync now has been far beyond what the iPhone has been able to do over the past 4 years!

RE: PC free = no iTunes?
By nafhan on 6/6/2011 5:16:27 PM , Rating: 2
So... Would it work like this:
-iTunes sends stuff to the iCloud
-Wirelessly connect new iPod/Pad/Touch/Phone to iCloud
-iCloud configures iPod/Pad/Touch/Phone
-Never, ever touch iTunes again

Or do you still have to connect the device to your PC for initial setup? I know with Android, you turn your new phone on, enter your Google account info, and you're done. Seems like Apple should and could do the same thing here.

RE: PC free = no iTunes?
By weskurtz0081 on 6/6/2011 5:22:47 PM , Rating: 2
That's the way it SHOULD work, not sure if that's how Apple will have set it up though. If I EVER have to plug into iTunes, I will be disappointed. There should be NO PC required to use a SMARTphone.

"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad

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