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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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.

"Intel is investing heavily (think gazillions of dollars and bazillions of engineering man hours) in resources to create an Intel host controllers spec in order to speed time to market of the USB 3.0 technology." -- Intel blogger Nick Knupffer

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