I’m a geek. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I love Apple. Work Colleagues make fun of me (& another guy David-Allan) as we are total utter Apple Lovers. No, not the Granny Smith variety (I have a thing about the skin on actual Apples, eww!) but the shiny shiny Apple Inc.
During WWDC (that’s The Apple Worldwide Developers Conference for all you n00bs) I live tweeted the entire event having utter geekasm and probably annoyed all of my 1248 followers (sorry about that but get used to it!). iOS5 & OSX Lion was introduced and with iOS5 alone, 200 new features have been introduced. Not released to the public until Fall (that’s Autumn for us Brits), I managed to get my hands on a Developers Beta copy thanks to my friend Jon & upgraded as soon as it was released. It has now been nearly 48 hours since I’ve been using iOS5 & I can honestly say I love it. Sure, it’s a beta copy & there are small bugs within it at the moment but certain features within it make it all worthwhile. Below is a sneak peak of my favourite new features.
About frikin time Apple. This is one feature that I’ve been dying for & FINALLY it has come true. The entire Notification system has been completely revamped. “You get all kinds of notifications on your iOS device: new email, texts, friend requests, and more. With Notification Center, you can keep track of them all in one convenient location. Just swipe down from the top of any screen to enter Notification Center. Choose which notifications you want to see. New notifications appear briefly at the top of your screen, without interrupting what you’re doing. And the Lock screen displays notifications so you can act on them with just a swipe. Notification Center is the best way to stay on top of your life’s breaking news”. I’ve so far tested it with SMS, iMessage (more on that later!), Emails, Facebook, Twitter & Missed Calls. It works perfectly. One thing I hated in the past is that when you were on a specific application & a notification popup came through, it interrupted you. That is now a thing of a past. If you are mid task & a notification comes through, it pops up in the Notification bar at the top of the screen but doesn’t get in the way or disturb you, at all. Top Marks Apple!
A brand new messaging feature to take on the likes of BBM. You can send unlimited messages from any iOS5 iPod, iPad or iPhone for free via 3G & Wifi. The feature is built into the existing Messaging app & is color coded when sending messages to differentiate between a normal sms and an iMessage. When you send a normal SMS to those who don’t have iOS5, it is green (the normal sms color), however, when you send an iMessage, it automatically turns blue & tells you at the top of the screen that it is an iMessage. Just like BBM, you can send photos, videos, locations & contacts, see when someone is typing to you and get delivery notifications when sent/read. To iMessage someone, you can either use their phone number or email address (you can add more than 1 in the iMessage settings page, I’ve added 4 email addresses people can iMessage me on). Great feature if you don’t want to give someone your phone number, instead give them an email address they can message you on. Will be interesting to see how the Mobile Phone Carriers deal with this, MMS & SMS’s will be a thing of the past for those on iOS5 which is great for someone who sends a lot of photos & international SMS’s like me.
3. Integrated Twitter
I’m a twitterholic, at over 100,000 tweets you would have probably guessed if you follow me. If you don’t, why the hell not?! Apple has now introduced integrated Twitter. Sign in via Settings & you can tweet directly from Safari, Photos, Camera, YouTube, or Maps. You can even update your contacts automatically & if anyone on your contact list has twitter, their username and profile pictures are added to their contact entry so you can just click on their contact entry to be taken directly to their twitter profile. Awesome! Browsing the web on Safari & want to tweet a link? It’s simple now! As well as automatically sending a photo to twitter simply using the new automatic twitter photo app powered by Photobucket (why them?!!?!?!!?!? Twitpic would have been better!).
4. Camera & Photo Updates
I rarely carry my digital camera around with me these days unless I’m going somewhere specific and know that my iPhone camera just isn’t enough. The new camera updates allow you to open the camera app from the lock screen (double click the home screen twice!), perfect for those moments where you have only a few seconds to take a photo & don’t want to miss it by unlocking, then finding the camera app and waiting for it to load, missing the photographic opportunity. You can now also press the volume-up button to take photos rather than using the home button which is a great new feature, one that should have been there from the start. The new editing features within the photo app allow you to crop, rotate, enhance and remove red-eyes without needing a 3rd party app (I only wish they added a resize feature!). You can organize & create albums within the device now which was one feature I was missing on iOS4.3 & fed up of a massive camera roll archive. However, when it comes to photo editing on my iPhone, nothing will take me away from Camera+, the BEST app around if you ask me!
Simply put as a hard drive floating around in the sky. It is a great way to access data on all your Apple devices. iCloud stores your content so it’s always readily available from your iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Mac or PC.“It gives you instant access to your music, apps, latest photos, and more. It keeps your email, contacts and calendars up to date across all your devices. No syncing required. No management required. In fact, no anything required. iCloud does it all for you”. You are automatically given 5GB of free iCloud storage, but because of the way iCloud stores your content, purchased music, apps, and books, as well as your photo stream, don’t count against your free storage. Only mail, documents, camera roll, account information, settings, and other app data are what the 5GB is used against. iCloud is another great feature, especially when syncing photos & documents between my iPhone & Macbook Pro. Instead of plugging in my iPhone or using a 3rd Party app to sync via wifi, I will be able to automatically access them on either device, and get the iCloud unlock option available as well. I haven’t had a chance to test this feature because it isn’t fully activated yet so I’ll probably go into detail about iCloud when July comes.
I have the memory of a gold fish at times, so normally use Notes or a 3rd Party To-Do list to remind me to actually do stuff, then forget about the fact that I have a To-Do list to remind myself To-Do stuff! Reminders will help me out a lot! I normally use 3rd party apps to remind me of certain blog ideas I have, to remember to email someone later on or things to buy at the supermarket for my culinary adventures. Reminders will alert you on screen to do things and also works with iCal, Outlook, and iCloud, so changes you make update automatically on all your devices and calendars. No more gold fish brain for me!
7. App Store Purchases
I buy apps, I delete apps, I buy more apps, then delete them again. It’s a never ending cycle that I’ve fallen for. Twitter and Photography apps seem to be the ones that get me every time! I use them for a while, then get bored, I hate clutter so end up deleting them then forgetting all about them! The new look App Store Purchases feature allows you to see exactly what you have downloaded & installed on your phone right now as well as all apps previously downloaded but not currently on your device. Because of this feature, I found a few apps I lost when I restored my iPhone a few months ago and lost everything & will come in handy for people who get into the same never ending cycle like me!
So there you have it. My review of my favourite features of iOS5 which I have been testing since installing it. There aren’t many bugs on it & very stable for a beta iOS version. I can’t wait for it to be fully released to the public in the Fall (Autumn again for us Brits!). Have you installed iOS5? What are your views on it? Lemme know!
Now for some screenshots…. sorry for the ugly watermarks!