New in iOS 5: The Full Breakdown With Screenshots | iLounge Article

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New in iOS 5: The Full Breakdown With Screenshots

Apple has released the beta version of iOS 5.0 to developers, and it’s a doozy: with over 200 new features for users inside, iOS 5 is loaded with changes that make iPads, iPhones, and iPod touches more powerful than ever.

 

Based on photos and details submitted to us by an anonymous source, we’ve compiled this collection of major (and minor) changes for quick reference. Here’s what’s worth seeing so far.

Goodbye, Connect to iTunes
Apple has released the beta version of iOS 5.0 to developers, and it’s a doozy: with over 200 new features for users inside, iOS 5 is loaded with changes that make iPads, iPhones, and iPod touches more powerful than ever.

 

Based on photos and details submitted to us by an anonymous source, we’ve compiled this collection of major (and minor) changes for quick reference. Here’s what’s worth seeing so far.

Goodbye, Connect to iTunes

 

The single biggest change in iOS 5 is the elimination of the Connect to iTunes screen that was previously required in order to start using an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. Apple now includes a complete on-device setup system that enables iOS 5 devices to activate themselves, and wirelessly pull content from iCloud or a computer with iTunes. Using this new system, a new iOS device can start life with the same settings, apps, and media as a previously set up unit from your personal collection. You choose a language and a country, point the device to a wireless network, then choose between setting it up as a new device, or restoring either from an iCloud or iTunes backup.

 

You can either create or use an existing Apple ID through the iOS device, as well as setting up iCloud synchronization of content, establishing a Find My iPod/iPhone/iPad locator service, and choosing whether or not to send diagnostic information to Apple.

 

Once you’ve gone through the procedure, the device is ready to use without ever making a physical connection to a computer with iTunes. This is a huge and welcome paradigm shift for Apple.

New Apps: Newsstand and Reminders

 

The classic iOS home screen hasn’t changed much in iOS 5, but Apple has added a collection of new apps—as well as Newsstand, a new folder that holds magazine and newspaper applications downloaded from the App Store. Unlike other folders, this opens to reveal a bookshelf like the one in iBooks, populated solely with magazine and newspaper apps.

 

Reminders is a brand new application that ties into existing apps such as Calendar, Clock, Maps, and Contacts, enabling you to create one-time or repeating reminders. You can link each reminder to a specific address, even going so far as to trigger the reminder when you arrive or leave a location—aided, of course, by GPS.

New Feature: The Notifications System

 

Apple has completely overhauled the notifications system previously included in iOS. In addition to little text bubbles that pop up at the top of the screen, there’s now a Notifications Center, which is accessed by swiping down from the top of the screen. You can choose which apps are featured in Notifications Center, now including a scrolling ticker-like Stock Widget and very simple Weather Widget—only on the iPhone and iPod touch. These widgets are missing from the iPad, at least for now.

 

Settings let you sort the notifications manually or chronologically, and you also have the choice as to where to display new notifications for each app on the screen: not at all, at the top of the screen, or in the middle of it. Top-of-screen notifications are now called Banners, and go away automatically after a few seconds; alerts require an action before they disappear.

 

When the Notifications Center has been customized to your liking, you’ll be able to receive and organize tons of alerts without completely interrupting your use of the device’s other features. Better yet, because you can choose how many alerts to display for each app, the Center can keep you entirely or only modestly up to date with a given app’s events, depending on your needs.

If the iOS device is locked, Notifications appear on the Lock Screen as swipable icons with summary text on the side—you just swipe the icon from left to right to jump right into the app.

 

Notifications aren’t particularly impressive on the iPad at this point. They appear awkwardly as white pop-up boxes, and in a dangle-down drawer at the top of the screen, either integrating completely with the rest of the iPad UI. Again, the Stock and Weather Widgets are missing from the iPad, and notifications float in the center of the Lock Screen somewhat awkwardly. Hopefully Apple will polish the look of this up before iOS 5 is available in final form.

New Lock Screen Features

 

The iPhone and iPod touch Lock Screens have gained two new features. First, they now display Notifications, which you can swipe to access the apps directly. Second, a double-click on the Home Button brings up a new Camera button so that you can immediately start snapping photos without having to unlock the device and go to the Camera app. The iPad and iPad 2 have the former feature, but not the latter; it’s unclear whether the iPad 2 will gain the Camera button or not.

Updated Apps: Messages/iMessage

 

It’s not obvious yet to users in the first iOS 5 beta—and it was reportedly a surprise to Apple’s cellular carrier partners—but Apple has just done something fantastic. The Messages app is evolving with the addition of iMessage, a unified system for instant messaging that relies upon Apple’s network for sending text, photos, videos, and other traditional SMS/MMS messages. iOS 5 users will be able to contact one another without paying for ridiculously overpriced text messaging fees—only people without iOS 5 (or iOS devices) will need to keep footing these bills.

 

iMessage offers features that SMS and MMS services have lacked: read receipts so that you can know whether your messages were read, cross-compatibility for the iPod touch and iPad, and on-screen notifications that text is currently being typed.

 

On the iPad, you can even use the front or rear camera in a live window to shoot a photo or video to share while messaging—super cool, though again, the preview window is solely for the iPad. This is all two or three steps closer to the iChat app we’ve been wanting on iOS devices for years, and very much welcome. There’s only a little confusion at the moment: iMessage is currently only an element within the Messages app, and one that operates with some subtle little visual cues; SMS and MMS messages sent over the traditional cell network appear as green speech bubbles, while versions sent using iMessage are blue, a detail users would never notice on their own. There’s even currently a settings menu that lets you turn iMessage off while leaving the Messages app and icon intact. While this might make sense on the iPhone, enabling customers to choose whether to rely entirely on the traditional text message network or not, stripping iMessage functionality out of the iPad and iPod touch Messages app doesn’t leave much for them to do. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Apple continue to tweak the Messages app before iOS 5 is released.

Updated Apps: Camera and Photos

 

Apple has revised the Camera and Photos apps with a number of features borrowed from third-party apps, including Camera+. There’s now an options menu that lets you turn a lined grid on or off, to help with alignment of images; this is available on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Only on the iPhone 4, HDR can be turned on or off as an option as well.

 

On the iPhone and iPad, editing tools have been added to enable on-device photo editing, including cropping, red eye reduction, and one-touch exposure corrections. The company says that the goal was to reduce the need to go back to a computer for simple things like these features, which were all parts of iPhoto. iPod touches do not appear to have these features, however, for the time being.

 

A subtle new feature lets you swipe from left to right on the Camera’s screen to automatically open the Camera Roll and preview your prior images. Here, you can see the smooth transition from one screen to the other. Pinch to zoom is now also supported as a method for activating each device’s digital zoom feature, in addition to the prior overlaid slider.

 

In addition to being able to share photos directly from an iOS device to a Photo Stream—an iCloud-based collection of your last 1,000 shots—the device can now create and manage its own collection of Albums, rather than depending on a Mac with iPhoto or a Windows PC’s pictures folder. These changes make it easier than ever to use iPhones as wireless cameras to share content with your other iOS devices and computers, and similarly to see content from other devices on an iPhone.

Twitter Integration

 

iOS 5 adds what Apple has referred to as deep Twitter integration. While the standalone text, link, and photo-posting app isn’t included with iOS, and continues to be maintained individually by Twitter, iOS 5 now allows users to log into multiple Twitter accounts directly through the device’s settings, and create tweets from within existing iOS apps.

 

Some of the integration is subtle: you can update your contacts with their Twitter user names and photos, and easily follow what they’re up to. On the other hand, there are some dramatic enhancements: for instance, taking photos now includes a “Tweet” button so that something you’ve snapped can go directly to Twitter, complete with text and optional location information. Your ability to easily share self-created content with the world just increased again—though the iPhone/iPod keyboard’s space bar became a little more cramped in the process.

Updated Apps: FaceTime, Maps, and Safari

 

Resolving a small but truly annoying issue from iOS 4, Apple has unified FaceTime accounts set up for iPhones with the ones created for iPads, iPod touches, and Macs. FaceTime now uses an Apple ID on all devices, and lets iPhone users register both a phone number and Apple ID so that a call made to either will ring on all of their registered devices.

 

Maps has received a minor tweak to enable it to print maps using AirPrint. You can also tweet your location and map snapshots directly from the Maps application. Apple also says that alternate routes will be added to Maps, but they’re not in the screenshots we’ve received thus far.

 

Safari has been changed at least a little on all iOS 5 devices. It’s faster across products, and each of them gains support for Reading List and Background Page Opening. Reading List parallels Instapaper, letting you collect web pages in a list for later reading—then syncing the reading list across devices. It appears within your bookmarks collection. Background Page Opening lets you continue reading on a page while opening related links in the background, reducing your need to flip back and forth from full-screen web pages. There’s also a Private Browsing feature that can be turned on and off in settings.

 

On the iPad, Safari has gained another feature: Tabbed Browsing. Not available on the iPhone or iPod touch, this lets you separately maintain up to nine individual web pages that can quickly be flipped through, instantly resuming where you left off. This is a welcome change, and one enabled by the larger RAM capacities of the iPads. In exchange for gaining tabs, iPads no longer have the prior nine-page grid of separately selectable pages.

Updated iPad “iPod/Music” App

 

Apple has redesigned the iPad’s “iPod” app, which previously looked a lot like iTunes. The app has been renamed “Music” and given a new icon identical to the iPod touch app of the same name. The changes don’t radically improve the app; they shift the location of the play and track controls from the screen’s center to the left, move the volume slider and AirPlay button from the left to the right, shift the search pill from the top right to the bottom right, and add a Store button for immediate access to the iTunes Store.

 

In addition to getting rid of the text column off to the left side of the prior iPod app, the Music app’s Now Playing details have been moved from the bottom left to the top center of the screen, along with Genius, repeat and shuffle buttons, and the bottom of screen sorting buttons have become larger. Everything’s positions stay the same when you switch from browsing the library to larger screened album art.

 

While none of these changes are bad, and some are a little better than before, they collectively feel more like a rearrangement of the prior features than a real rethinking of the prior application. The Music app still doesn’t make great use of the iPad’s screen in either orientation, and lacks for pretty little features such as Cover Flow. Given its iPod heritage, it’s sort of amazing to see Apple so lost these days when it comes to making a truly cool music app.

iCloud Synchronization

 

Apple’s introduction of the wireless, Internet-based cloud synchronization service iCloud has been discussed in separate iLounge news articles already. iOS 5 ties into iCloud with a bunch of previous MobileMe features that have now been made free for iOS users, most notably including @me.com e-mail addresses, as well as synchronization of bookmarks, contacts, and calendars.

 

A new iCloud feature is a storage and backup option that lets you wirelessly store your personal photos and settings on Apple’s service, with completely automatic backups that require no user involvement, and run in the background when you connect to a power outlet. Every user gets 5GB for free; iOS 5 shows that additional capacity will in fact be sold to users if they need it.

 

Updates to prior Settings menus let you establish your free iCloud me.com e-mail address. Apple shows it for the time being as a separate entry in the list of different supported accounts; Microsoft’s Hotmail is also on the list, alongside Exchange, AOL, Yahoo, G-Mail, and MobileMe.

Accessibility Improvements

 

Apple has added several new accessibility features for disabled users. Mono Audio now has a mixer to let you choose your preferred balance of Left- or Right-Channel audio. Speak Selection—text-to-speech vocalization of text selected in an app—has been added to Speak Auto-text as an option for visually disabled users.

 

VoiceOver has gained a Navigate Images feature, and Rotor expands on the prior Web Rotor feature.

 

For motor-disabled users, a new feature called AssistiveTouch has been added so that iOS devices can be used with custom adaptive accessories. Here, you can adjust touch speed, open menus with a zig-zag gesture, and create a custom gesture.

 

Solely on the iPhone, Apple has added a new feature called Custom Vibrations, which lets the device’s vibrating motor provide additional physical cues for hearing-disabled users. LED Flash for Alerts lets the rear camera’s flash go off as an alert cue, as well.

AirPlay Screen Mirroring (iPad 2 Only)

 

Nearly thrilling in its previously cable-dependent form, the original version of Screen Mirroring enabled the iPad 2 to display its entire screen contents on a Digital AV Adapter- or iPad VGA Adapter-connected external display. In iOS 5, the need for cables has been cut, so Screen Mirroring now works over AirPlay. Consequently, the iPad 2 can wirelessly broadcast directly to a second-generation Apple TV, the connection between which is now indicated by a blue-colored status bar at the top of the screen, with AirPlay Mirroring easily changed or deactivated using the multitasking bar. According to our source, it’s extremely responsive, with almost no lag between the two screens.

iOS-Based AirPort Set-Up

 

Macs and PCs have a program called AirPort Utility to assist with the setup and management of Apple’s wireless AirPort Extreme, AirPort Express, and Time Capsule routers. Starting with iOS 5, Apple’s portable media devices gain this ability as well from a new Wi-Fi Settings menu. When the iOS 5 device detects an Apple router in setup mode, it displays an icon of the router alongside its brand name, and brings up a new series of options.

 

The options are designed to direct you automatically to the most likely usage scenario for the new device. If you’re setting up an AirPort Express in a networking environment where an AirPort Extreme or Time Capsule is already working, iOS 5 asks if you want to set up the Express to extend the existing network, or do something else. If you choose “Do something different,” you’re taken to a list of other options, as well as to a “Restore previous settings” choice if the Express was previously set up as its own standalone device.

 

Apple’s interface provides a clear picture of how the new wireless network will work at the top of the window. It’s yet another sign of iOS 5’s “cut the PC cord” design, enabling a person to use an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch as a complete PC substitute rather than as a component of a PC or Mac computing suite.

iTunes Sync and Other Tweaks

 

In addition to iTunes Sync, a feature that lets you set up automatic wireless synchronization and backups with iTunes—handled whenever you connect your device to a power source—small tweaks have been made to other settings. For instance, Spotlight Search now includes even more categories of searchable content. Mail lets you do full text searches through your messages, rather than just from, to, and subject lines.

 

Keyboard shortcuts let you type a few characters to create longer phrases automatically. Dictionary features have been expanded out from iBooks to work system-wide, defining words elsewhere.

 

iPads have been given the Multitasking Gestures that were previewed in iOS 4 and then removed—four- or five-finger Pinch to the Home Screen, Swipe Up for Multitasking Bar, and Swipe Left/Right to Switch Apps. They can be turned on or off as desired.

 

Game Center now lets you choose a photograph/picture to associate with your user account.

 

iPads can now draw upon a new keyboard that splits into left and right sides for easier two-handed typing, and can be repositioned at any vertical level on the screen, regardless of orientation. The keys are smaller, and the chasm in the center of the screen lets you see what’s there, unlike the previously obstructing/cropping keyboard designs.

 

Mail now includes rich text styling features, including bold, italic, and underlined text, accessible via a selection tool with context-sensitive replacements for the Cut/Copy/Paste buttons. You can also use this tool to change the quote level/indentations in text.

 

And there’s much, much more, including features that were briefly mentioned during the iOS 5 introduction. A Personal Dictionary—promised in iOS 4 but not delivered. Hourly weather forecasts. Smoother FaceTime videos. Wireless synchronization of Exchange tasks. Mid-call FaceTime invitation alerts. A store to sell alert tones. And so on.

We’ll expand this article with additional features as we discover them. iOS 5 is expected to be officially released in Fall 2011, and will continue to be in beta until then. New iOS devices, including the fifth-generation iPhone and iPod touch, will most likely receive additional benefits not yet disclosed in the beta software. Thanks to our source for the photos and details!

The single biggest change in iOS 5 is the elimination of the Connect to iTunes screen that was previously required in order to start using an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. Apple now includes a complete on-device setup system that enables iOS 5 devices to activate themselves, and wirelessly pull content from iCloud or a computer with iTunes. Using this new system, a new iOS device can start life with the same settings, apps, and media as a previously set up unit from your personal collection. You choose a language and a country, point the device to a wireless network, then choose between setting it up as a new device, or restoring either from an iCloud or iTunes backup.

 

You can either create or use an existing Apple ID through the iOS device, as well as setting up iCloud synchronization of content, establishing a Find My iPod/iPhone/iPad locator service, and choosing whether or not to send diagnostic information to Apple.

 

Once you’ve gone through the procedure, the device is ready to use without ever making a physical connection to a computer with iTunes. This is a huge and welcome paradigm shift for Apple.

New Apps: Newsstand and Reminders

 

The classic iOS home screen hasn’t changed much in iOS 5, but Apple has added a collection of new apps—as well as Newsstand, a new folder that holds magazine and newspaper applications downloaded from the App Store. Unlike other folders, this opens to reveal a bookshelf like the one in iBooks, populated solely with magazine and newspaper apps.

 

Reminders is a brand new application that ties into existing apps such as Calendar, Clock, Maps, and Contacts, enabling you to create one-time or repeating reminders. You can link each reminder to a specific address, even going so far as to trigger the reminder when you arrive or leave a location—aided, of course, by GPS.

New Feature: The Notifications System

 

Apple has completely overhauled the notifications system previously included in iOS. In addition to little text bubbles that pop up at the top of the screen, there’s now a Notifications Center, which is accessed by swiping down from the top of the screen. You can choose which apps are featured in Notifications Center, now including a scrolling ticker-like Stock Widget and very simple Weather Widget—only on the iPhone and iPod touch. These widgets are missing from the iPad, at least for now.

 

Settings let you sort the notifications manually or chronologically, and you also have the choice as to where to display new notifications for each app on the screen: not at all, at the top of the screen, or in the middle of it. Top-of-screen notifications are now called Banners, and go away automatically after a few seconds; alerts require an action before they disappear.

 

When the Notifications Center has been customized to your liking, you’ll be able to receive and organize tons of alerts without completely interrupting your use of the device’s other features. Better yet, because you can choose how many alerts to display for each app, the Center can keep you entirely or only modestly up to date with a given app’s events, depending on your needs.

If the iOS device is locked, Notifications appear on the Lock Screen as swipable icons with summary text on the side—you just swipe the icon from left to right to jump right into the app.

 

Notifications aren’t particularly impressive on the iPad at this point. They appear awkwardly as white pop-up boxes, and in a dangle-down drawer at the top of the screen, either integrating completely with the rest of the iPad UI. Again, the Stock and Weather Widgets are missing from the iPad, and notifications float in the center of the Lock Screen somewhat awkwardly. Hopefully Apple will polish the look of this up before iOS 5 is available in final form.

New Lock Screen Features

 

The iPhone and iPod touch Lock Screens have gained two new features. First, they now display Notifications, which you can swipe to access the apps directly. Second, a double-click on the Home Button brings up a new Camera button so that you can immediately start snapping photos without having to unlock the device and go to the Camera app. The iPad and iPad 2 have the former feature, but not the latter; it’s unclear whether the iPad 2 will gain the Camera button or not.

Updated Apps: Messages/iMessage

 

It’s not obvious yet to users in the first iOS 5 beta—and it was reportedly a surprise to Apple’s cellular carrier partners—but Apple has just done something fantastic. The Messages app is evolving with the addition of iMessage, a unified system for instant messaging that relies upon Apple’s network for sending text, photos, videos, and other traditional SMS/MMS messages. iOS 5 users will be able to contact one another without paying for ridiculously overpriced text messaging fees—only people without iOS 5 (or iOS devices) will need to keep footing these bills.

 

iMessage offers features that SMS and MMS services have lacked: read receipts so that you can know whether your messages were read, cross-compatibility for the iPod touch and iPad, and on-screen notifications that text is currently being typed.

 

On the iPad, you can even use the front or rear camera in a live window to shoot a photo or video to share while messaging—super cool, though again, the preview window is solely for the iPad. This is all two or three steps closer to the iChat app we’ve been wanting on iOS devices for years, and very much welcome. There’s only a little confusion at the moment: iMessage is currently only an element within the Messages app, and one that operates with some subtle little visual cues; SMS and MMS messages sent over the traditional cell network appear as green speech bubbles, while versions sent using iMessage are blue, a detail users would never notice on their own. There’s even currently a settings menu that lets you turn iMessage off while leaving the Messages app and icon intact. While this might make sense on the iPhone, enabling customers to choose whether to rely entirely on the traditional text message network or not, stripping iMessage functionality out of the iPad and iPod touch Messages app doesn’t leave much for them to do. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Apple continue to tweak the Messages app before iOS 5 is released.

Updated Apps: Camera and Photos

 

Apple has revised the Camera and Photos apps with a number of features borrowed from third-party apps, including Camera+. There’s now an options menu that lets you turn a lined grid on or off, to help with alignment of images; this is available on the iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Only on the iPhone 4, HDR can be turned on or off as an option as well.

 

On the iPhone and iPad, editing tools have been added to enable on-device photo editing, including cropping, red eye reduction, and one-touch exposure corrections. The company says that the goal was to reduce the need to go back to a computer for simple things like these features, which were all parts of iPhoto. iPod touches do not appear to have these features, however, for the time being.

 

A subtle new feature lets you swipe from left to right on the Camera’s screen to automatically open the Camera Roll and preview your prior images. Here, you can see the smooth transition from one screen to the other. Pinch to zoom is now also supported as a method for activating each device’s digital zoom feature, in addition to the prior overlaid slider.

 

In addition to being able to share photos directly from an iOS device to a Photo Stream—an iCloud-based collection of your last 1,000 shots—the device can now create and manage its own collection of Albums, rather than depending on a Mac with iPhoto or a Windows PC’s pictures folder. These changes make it easier than ever to use iPhones as wireless cameras to share content with your other iOS devices and computers, and similarly to see content from other devices on an iPhone.

Twitter Integration

 

iOS 5 adds what Apple has referred to as deep Twitter integration. While the standalone text, link, and photo-posting app isn’t included with iOS, and continues to be maintained individually by Twitter, iOS 5 now allows users to log into multiple Twitter accounts directly through the device’s settings, and create tweets from within existing iOS apps.

 

Some of the integration is subtle: you can update your contacts with their Twitter user names and photos, and easily follow what they’re up to. On the other hand, there are some dramatic enhancements: for instance, taking photos now includes a “Tweet” button so that something you’ve snapped can go directly to Twitter, complete with text and optional location information. Your ability to easily share self-created content with the world just increased again—though the iPhone/iPod keyboard’s space bar became a little more cramped in the process.

Updated Apps: FaceTime, Maps, and Safari

 

Resolving a small but truly annoying issue from iOS 4, Apple has unified FaceTime accounts set up for iPhones with the ones created for iPads, iPod touches, and Macs. FaceTime now uses an Apple ID on all devices, and lets iPhone users register both a phone number and Apple ID so that a call made to either will ring on all of their registered devices.

 

Maps has received a minor tweak to enable it to print maps using AirPrint. You can also tweet your location and map snapshots directly from the Maps application. Apple also says that alternate routes will be added to Maps, but they’re not in the screenshots we’ve received thus far.

 

Safari has been changed at least a little on all iOS 5 devices. It’s faster across products, and each of them gains support for Reading List and Background Page Opening. Reading List parallels Instapaper, letting you collect web pages in a list for later reading—then syncing the reading list across devices. It appears within your bookmarks collection. Background Page Opening lets you continue reading on a page while opening related links in the background, reducing your need to flip back and forth from full-screen web pages. There’s also a Private Browsing feature that can be turned on and off in settings.

 

On the iPad, Safari has gained another feature: Tabbed Browsing. Not available on the iPhone or iPod touch, this lets you separately maintain up to nine individual web pages that can quickly be flipped through, instantly resuming where you left off. This is a welcome change, and one enabled by the larger RAM capacities of the iPads. In exchange for gaining tabs, iPads no longer have the prior nine-page grid of separately selectable pages.

Updated iPad “iPod/Music” App

 

Apple has redesigned the iPad’s “iPod” app, which previously looked a lot like iTunes. The app has been renamed “Music” and given a new icon identical to the iPod touch app of the same name. The changes don’t radically improve the app; they shift the location of the play and track controls from the screen’s center to the left, move the volume slider and AirPlay button from the left to the right, shift the search pill from the top right to the bottom right, and add a Store button for immediate access to the iTunes Store.

 

In addition to getting rid of the text column off to the left side of the prior iPod app, the Music app’s Now Playing details have been moved from the bottom left to the top center of the screen, along with Genius, repeat and shuffle buttons, and the bottom of screen sorting buttons have become larger. Everything’s positions stay the same when you switch from browsing the library to larger screened album art.

 

While none of these changes are bad, and some are a little better than before, they collectively feel more like a rearrangement of the prior features than a real rethinking of the prior application. The Music app still doesn’t make great use of the iPad’s screen in either orientation, and lacks for pretty little features such as Cover Flow. Given its iPod heritage, it’s sort of amazing to see Apple so lost these days when it comes to making a truly cool music app.

iCloud Synchronization

 

Apple’s introduction of the wireless, Internet-based cloud synchronization service iCloud has been discussed in separate iLounge news articles already. iOS 5 ties into iCloud with a bunch of previous MobileMe features that have now been made free for iOS users, most notably including @me.com e-mail addresses, as well as synchronization of bookmarks, contacts, and calendars.

 

A new iCloud feature is a storage and backup option that lets you wirelessly store your personal photos and settings on Apple’s service, with completely automatic backups that require no user involvement, and run in the background when you connect to a power outlet. Every user gets 5GB for free; iOS 5 shows that additional capacity will in fact be sold to users if they need it.

 

Updates to prior Settings menus let you establish your free iCloud me.com e-mail address. Apple shows it for the time being as a separate entry in the list of different supported accounts; Microsoft’s Hotmail is also on the list, alongside Exchange, AOL, Yahoo, G-Mail, and MobileMe.

Accessibility Improvements

 

Apple has added several new accessibility features for disabled users. Mono Audio now has a mixer to let you choose your preferred balance of Left- or Right-Channel audio. Speak Selection—text-to-speech vocalization of text selected in an app—has been added to Speak Auto-text as an option for visually disabled users.

 

VoiceOver has gained a Navigate Images feature, and Rotor expands on the prior Web Rotor feature.

 

For motor-disabled users, a new feature called AssistiveTouch has been added so that iOS devices can be used with custom adaptive accessories. Here, you can adjust touch speed, open menus with a zig-zag gesture, and create a custom gesture.

 

Solely on the iPhone, Apple has added a new feature called Custom Vibrations, which lets the device’s vibrating motor provide additional physical cues for hearing-disabled users. LED Flash for Alerts lets the rear camera’s flash go off as an alert cue, as well.

AirPlay Screen Mirroring (iPad 2 Only)

 

Nearly thrilling in its previously cable-dependent form, the original version of Screen Mirroring enabled the iPad 2 to display its entire screen contents on a Digital AV Adapter- or iPad VGA Adapter-connected external display. In iOS 5, the need for cables has been cut, so Screen Mirroring now works over AirPlay. Consequently, the iPad 2 can wirelessly broadcast directly to a second-generation Apple TV, the connection between which is now indicated by a blue-colored status bar at the top of the screen, with AirPlay Mirroring easily changed or deactivated using the multitasking bar. According to our source, it’s extremely responsive, with almost no lag between the two screens.

iOS-Based AirPort Set-Up

 

Macs and PCs have a program called AirPort Utility to assist with the setup and management of Apple’s wireless AirPort Extreme, AirPort Express, and Time Capsule routers. Starting with iOS 5, Apple’s portable media devices gain this ability as well from a new Wi-Fi Settings menu. When the iOS 5 device detects an Apple router in setup mode, it displays an icon of the router alongside its brand name, and brings up a new series of options.

 

The options are designed to direct you automatically to the most likely usage scenario for the new device. If you’re setting up an AirPort Express in a networking environment where an AirPort Extreme or Time Capsule is already working, iOS 5 asks if you want to set up the Express to extend the existing network, or do something else. If you choose “Do something different,” you’re taken to a list of other options, as well as to a “Restore previous settings” choice if the Express was previously set up as its own standalone device.

 

Apple’s interface provides a clear picture of how the new wireless network will work at the top of the window. It’s yet another sign of iOS 5’s “cut the PC cord” design, enabling a person to use an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch as a complete PC substitute rather than as a component of a PC or Mac computing suite.

iTunes Sync and Other Tweaks

 

In addition to iTunes Sync, a feature that lets you set up automatic wireless synchronization and backups with iTunes—handled whenever you connect your device to a power source—small tweaks have been made to other settings. For instance, Spotlight Search now includes even more categories of searchable content. Mail lets you do full text searches through your messages, rather than just from, to, and subject lines.

 

Keyboard shortcuts let you type a few characters to create longer phrases automatically. Dictionary features have been expanded out from iBooks to work system-wide, defining words elsewhere.

 

iPads have been given the Multitasking Gestures that were previewed in iOS 4 and then removed—four- or five-finger Pinch to the Home Screen, Swipe Up for Multitasking Bar, and Swipe Left/Right to Switch Apps. They can be turned on or off as desired.

 

Game Center now lets you choose a photograph/picture to associate with your user account.

 

iPads can now draw upon a new keyboard that splits into left and right sides for easier two-handed typing, and can be repositioned at any vertical level on the screen, regardless of orientation. The keys are smaller, and the chasm in the center of the screen lets you see what’s there, unlike the previously obstructing/cropping keyboard designs.

 

Mail now includes rich text styling features, including bold, italic, and underlined text, accessible via a selection tool with context-sensitive replacements for the Cut/Copy/Paste buttons. You can also use this tool to change the quote level/indentations in text.

 

And there’s much, much more, including features that were briefly mentioned during the iOS 5 introduction. A Personal Dictionary—promised in iOS 4 but not delivered. Hourly weather forecasts. Smoother FaceTime videos. Wireless synchronization of Exchange tasks. Mid-call FaceTime invitation alerts. A store to sell alert tones. And so on.

We’ll expand this article with additional features as we discover them. iOS 5 is expected to be officially released in Fall 2011, and will continue to be in beta until then. New iOS devices, including the fifth-generation iPhone and iPod touch, will most likely receive additional benefits not yet disclosed in the beta software. Thanks to our source for the photos and details!

« Editorial: Apple’s Top 10 iOS 5 + iCloud Features From WWDC 2011

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Comments

1

Currently in MobileMe, you can create custom from addresses. So rather than from .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) I can send from .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). However, it’s rather worthless because on the iPhone when you add a MobileMe account you cannot change the from address. From the screenshots it does not look like you can change it even with iCloud. Can someone confirm this? It appears to be a major oversight and road block from people every switching from Google Apps to iCloud for mail.

Posted by CB on June 7, 2011 at 11:51 AM (CDT)

2

Curious about how you make the initial internet connection with a completely wiped WiFi-only device?  Is there a WiFi settings panel to use before the Apple ID step?

Posted by BrennerM on June 7, 2011 at 11:55 AM (CDT)

3

: tabbed browsing: “It’s a welcome change, and one wrought entirely by the larger RAM capacities of the iPads.”

Um, no.  iPhone4 has 512 MB, iPad1 has 256 MB, and iPad2 has 512 MB.

I actually thought I read on one of the liveblogs that the iPhone *did* support tabbed browsing.  If not, it’s certainly a screen real-estate issue, nothing to do with RAM.

Posted by neilw on June 7, 2011 at 2:10 PM (CDT)

4

The new keyboard that splits into left and right sides looks very usefull.  it should be like this from de begining. Now you can use two hands.

Posted by juandiphone on July 25, 2011 at 6:09 PM (CDT)

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