Print 51 comment(s) - last by Tony Swash.. on Jun 8 at 6:21 AM

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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Itunes hater, please explain
By shompa on 6/6/2011 3:40:08 PM , Rating: -1
Itunes haters, could you please explain how you sync your devices? Do you manage your songs/photos/PDFs/books/movies/audiobooks/apps/radi oprograms on a file system basis? You sit with windows explorer and drag folders here and there?

And I guess you are windows users mostly since Itunes much worse on PC then mac.

By Shadowmaster625 on 6/6/2011 4:10:39 PM , Rating: 2
I dont see how you avoid it. If you have a 8GB device and a 16GB SD card, and you want to load them up with stuff to take with you somewhere, and you have 800GB of stuff to choose from then here is my question: HOW IS SOME STUPID DUMBED DOWN PIECE OF iCRAP SOFTWARE GOING TO EVEN BEGIN TO KNOW HOW THE HECK TO HELP YOU? The obvious answer is: it doesnt, and it wont. On the other hand, if you learn basic file management, you dont need some piece of junk software to help you sync your devices. You are able to do it yourself, quickly and easily, and do it much better.

RE: Itunes hater, please explain
By weskurtz0081 on 6/6/2011 4:21:01 PM , Rating: 2
Well, I don't bother with a lot of stuff since it's stored on the SD card, but contacts and updates have always been done in the background OTA, and those are the two most important aspects to me.

Now that Apple has FINALLY caught up on that front, and even surpassed Google if they do apps free OTA (remember, Google has been doing OTA syncing and updates since the G1) Google has some improvements they can make to leapfrog Apple again in this area.

I am a former iPhone user that lost contact data due to not regularly plugging my phone into my PC.

RE: Itunes hater, please explain
By IamTHEsnake on 6/6/2011 4:47:15 PM , Rating: 2
agreed. making mobileme-type services free is the right move. the less maintenance required, the better. especially when thinking of those that are less informed on the tech front.

RE: Itunes hater, please explain
By weskurtz0081 on 6/6/2011 5:01:18 PM , Rating: 2
Hell, and I am VERY well informed about technology, but I loathed being forced to plug my phone into my PC to protect my data, so I just didn't do it (and one day I broke my phone).

So, since that day, I swore off Apple due to the fact I didn't have that worry with Android, but now the tides are starting to shift, Apple has finally gotten on the OTA ball and fixed the antiquated notifications system!

Now, I MIGHT actually consider getting another iPhone at some point.

RE: Itunes hater, please explain
By mcnabney on 6/6/2011 6:40:19 PM , Rating: 2
So you like buying from the company that is playing catch-up?

By weskurtz0081 on 6/6/2011 8:51:22 PM , Rating: 2
Obviously not, which is why I have been using a Nexus One for a year and a half now. But, if iOS5 lives up to the hype, the Cloud service they offer will be superior to what Google offers, they FINALLY fixed the notification system.... those were two big reasons why I went with Android, both likely no longer a problem and one now a better solution.

RE: Itunes hater, please explain
By Motoman on 6/6/2011 4:51:33 PM , Rating: 1
Lots of apps can automatically manage an iPlod or whatever instead of iToons. Winamp for example.

...and Winamp can actually do advanced things that iToons can't - like, say, delete a song from your iPod. Try doing that on iToons...

RE: Itunes hater, please explain
By kmmatney on 6/6/2011 5:11:55 PM , Rating: 2
Well, you got voted down, but I've tried several alternatives to iTunes to synch all of my media with my phone, and I just find that iTunes works well. It's a bit bloated, but you can customize the install to not install apps you don't need, like the updater and Bonjour. Once you customize the install and program a little bit, I really don't see anything to complain about. In fact, I think it does a great job of keeping my 20GB music collection in check.

For my older iPods (shuffle and nano) I use Sharepod, and keep the program on the device itself. It has a similar interface to iTunes and is more flexiblee, but I'd rather use iTunes with my phone.

By weskurtz0081 on 6/6/2011 5:20:52 PM , Rating: 2
He got voted down because he phrased the question in a kind of fanboy way, rather than simply asking it in a neutral manner.

RE: Itunes hater, please explain
By nafhan on 6/6/2011 5:29:34 PM , Rating: 2
I have all my contacts in Google contacts, I generally stream media, and read on the web. So, I rarely mess with data management. When I do, then, yes, Windows explorer. Pictures are the only thing where I do that regularly, and even then I just copy the entire picture folder off the device - same as I do with my digital camera.

My experience is that whenever I use a media management program to actually manage my stuff, I end up getting locked into using that media manager, because otherwise, due to all the "helpful" abstraction, I have no idea where anything is. I started off with a good directory/subdirectory naming scheme years ago. So, I can usually find any of my media files in two or three clicks. I will occasionally use media managers (Picassa, Media Monkey) for viewing pictures or listening to music, but that's about it.

RE: Itunes hater, please explain
By nolisi on 6/6/2011 5:58:24 PM , Rating: 3
Do you manage your songs/photos/PDFs/books/movies/audiobooks/apps/radi oprograms on a file system basis? You sit with windows explorer and drag folders here and there?

Yes. Absolutely, I 100% do use Windows Explorer with my G2. It loads up faster, I can organize files how I want, and it doesn't rename files into obscurity. I don't need a driver to connect either. And when I update the firmware on my phone, Windows explorer doesn't complain that it needs an update to read my device.

My favorite Apple story ever- my roommate bought herself a new iPod touch which she discovered she couldn't connect to iTunes version 9 because it couldn't support the firmware. iTunes version 10 would not install on OSX 10.3- the version on her Intel based iMac.

I helped her purchase OSX 10.6 only to discover she needed a RAM upgrade to install the OS.

She ended up leaving the touch at home because she ran out of time to get it set up and synced before her trip- she used her Android phone to play music instead. It took all of 4 minutes to get music on the device (including copy time). Why? Because it just works.

RE: Itunes hater, please explain
By xpax on 6/6/2011 8:57:07 PM , Rating: 1
Agreed. iTunes is a piece of crap. I've already got all my mp3's properly organized into folders, because I'm not a monkey who is unfamiliar with how a computer works.

I plug in my phone, copy my songs to it, and that's it. The way it SHOULD be. No drivers, no updates, no bullshit. It just works.

My wife on the other hand complains constantly about iTunes. She buys a song from iTunes, and then all of a sudden, that's the only song available. Device still says it's full, but only shows one song. Not sure what she does to fix it, but it takes all night long and much screaming.

The iTunes-free stuff is a great idea. Wish they'd had that when I got my iPad 2 so I didn't have to install iTunes just to activate it and then uninstall.

By Tony Swash on 6/8/2011 6:21:21 AM , Rating: 2
Yes. Absolutely, I 100% do use Windows Explorer with my G2. It loads up faster, I can organize files how I want, and it doesn't rename files into obscurity.

I think you will find that Apple's medium term strategy is to eliminate the traditional file system and it's management on all our devices including the legacy PC. All your data should be everywhere and accessible without having to think about where it is or how it is stored.

I also think that Apple have got almost all the way there in achieving that goal, or at least Apple have many of the major components to pull off such a transition in place now. Such a state of affairs will probably freak out some techies and those adverse to innovation and change but will delight normal consumers. The last thing that most normal people I know want to do is to to manage their files. Normal people find the way that all PCs (Windows and Macs) organise and store their stuff difficult to understand, uncomfortably byzantine and a pain to have to grapple with when they just want to get on and do stuff. If Apple can pull off eliminating file management then it will be hugely popular.

Millions of consumers use xbox and PS3 quite happily and never ever have to think about file structure or data locations. Clearly a gaming console has a narrower set of functions than a desktop, laptop or pocket device but they are still powerful complex devices and all that is happening is that the software, online data systems and UI design needed to extend the system of hidden file structures to more complex devices is only now emerging.

In the relatively near future having to bother with file systems or having the skills and knowledge to deal with file structures will seem as useless, unnecessary as the use of punch card data storage. This will seem very odd to those with the most invested in the old ways of doing things. It has always been thus.

As to your friends unfortunate experience, isn't that the point Steve Jobs was making in in his keynote yesterday? Managing this stuff is driving us crazy. It's a waste of time. It's a waste of time on iOS and Macs and it's a wast of time on Android, WP7 and Windows.

“And I don't know why [Apple is] acting like it’s superior. I don't even get it. What are they trying to say?” -- Bill Gates on the Mac ads

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