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