If you haven’t downloaded the new iOS 5 for your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, you need to do it immediately. (Unfortunately iPhone 3G can’t be upgraded to iOS 5, but iPhone 3GS can, as well as iPod touch 3&4, iPhone 4, iPhone 4s, and iPad 1 & 2.)
As always, the primary reason that the new iOS 5 is so wonderful is because it incorporates new features into the iPhone/iPad interface that deliver an enhanced user experience.
Here are a few of my favorite new iOS 5 features:
1.) Text Alerts— When you got a text message on the old iOS, a window would pop up on your screen, regardless of what you were doing, and you’d have to click “view” or “cancel” to go back to what you were in the middle of. A simple but refreshing improvement in iOS 5 is that text message alerts appear at the top of your screen, and then disappear quickly on their own. No more interruptions.
2.) iMessage— Probably the second-most impacting element of the iOS 5 update is the iMessage feature. iMessage is to the iPhone as BBM is to the Blackberry. iMessage allows all iDevice users to send free messages to each other through WiFi or 3G, and it’s done automatically, within the text message interface. You know that your text message is being sent through iMessage when the background bubble turns sky-blue (both users must have the iOS 5 upgrade to work.) If you’re like me, you’ll probably find yourself sending very few texts through your cell phone service provider– that means you don’t need to pay for an unlimited text message plan anymore. You can also send & have group conversations through the group text feature.
3.) Notification Center— Get all of your alerts in one place– alerts from your apps, calendar, missed calls, texts, etc now live together in the Notification Center. You can access the Notification center if you swipe down on any screen.
4.) iCloud— The most impacting new feature in iOS 5 is iCloud. iCloud automatically syncs up your iPad, iPhone, and computer wirelessly so that your email, Safari bookmarks, photos, iTunes library, calendar, etc are up to date & uniform across all of your devices. Plus, certain applications like iWork (includes Keynote, Pages,etc) are integrated into the iCloud system, so the documents you create in those iWork applications are accessible from any iDevice where you have the same iWork app installed. You can also create documents in Pages on your portable iDevice, and then download that document to your computer in Microsoft Office, iWork, or PDF format by visiting icloud.com/iwork.
5.) Reminders— Instead of creating a calendar event, there’s a new built-in app called Reminders, which allows you to make a check list of to do’s, and set a date and time for your device to remind you of it. You can also schedule reminders based on location, so that next time you are at your friend’s house, your reminder to help them update their iPhone to the new iOS 5 will pop right up on your screen.
6.) No more PC Disasters— I’ve witnessed more than one horrific occasion when a friend has plugged in their iPhone to their PC to update their iPhone software, and for some reason, trouble ensues– deleted contacts, frozen screen– sending them all the way to the Genius Bar at the Apple store to rectify the issue. Those days are gone now that with the new iOS 5 you don’t need to plug your iPhone or iPad into a computer to update software, you can do it directly on your device.
7.) Tweets Made Easy— In iOS 5, you can tweet or print any web page, map, picture, YouTube video, etc that’s currently on your screen in one step. Just press the share icon, and a tweet & print button is built into the sharing options. No more messy copy and pasting to tweet a URL page from your phone.
I could go on forever writing about all the great new iOS 5 features, but I think I touched on the major ones. Stay tuned for next post on the best new iOS 5 only compatible iPhone/iPad apps!