Whilst it has undoubtedly been Apple’s most successful venture of late, in the eyes of many, probably most, in fact, the Cupertino company has let the platform stagnate since its introduction onto the original iPhone and subsequently the iPod Touch and finally the iPad. Annoying features have been seemingly ignored and are irritating to this day. Although, many pinned their hopes on this day, being the day, that those issues are put to bed.
A while back, we posted a list of all the things we hope to see in the next version, and many of you no doubt have your own suggestions. But, today is WWDC, and Steve Jobs has taken to the stage to enlighten us mere mortals of what’s to come in the next iteration of the world’s most sugccessful mobile OS. iOS 5.
Unlike Mac OS X, there has as yet been know sneak previews for developers or anyone else outside the company, in fact, so this is news to all of us, so stay tuned as we bring you all of the latest news from Moscone West, San Francisco.
Facts and Figures
– 200 million iOS devices sold.
– 25 million iPad 2’s sold.
– 15 billion downloads from the iTunes store
– 130 million downloads from the iBook store
– 425,000 apps on the App Store
– 90,000 iPad specific apps.
– 14 billion downloads from the App Store
– $2.5 billion paid out to developers
– 225 million accounts with registered credit cards.
There are 200 new features for iOS 5, the new major release, so here are the details.
Notification Center is set to replace the currently irritating and invasive notification system on iOS, a subject of much criticism, and now Apple has seen to that matter with this latest update. Notifications can be seen from any area of the OS, simply by pulling down from the top of the screen.
This will bring down a clock as well as some other very interactive notifications. For example, swiping across on a missed call will allow you to listen to a voicemail, or swiping across a message will let you reply quickly from notifications center, and you can also see your Facebook notifications as per usual, as well as others.
New notifications will simply drop down from the top of the screen, and won’t prevent you from getting on with what you’re in the middle of. Problem solved.
Much like the iBook store, newsstand allows you to download all of your favourite magazines from one place. If you’ve ever used Zinio on iOS, you’ll know where this is coming from, and you probably won’t do ever again.
Performing background downloads of all your magazine subscriptions as they are released, which will obviously cost you the usual subscription prices. Just another of Apple’s overwhelmingly popular digital stores.
According to Apple, 1 billion tweets are sent from Twitter every week, so it’s decided that the best way to accommodate all of that traffic is via direct integration at an OS level. You will now be able to tweet from many apps, including camera and photos, as well as maps and safari so you can post pictures, locations and articles directly from your phone, respectively.
There will also be contact integration, so you’ll be able to shove your Twitter contacts into your address book and existing contacts will include their Twitter handle.
There are some great new features in the mobile world’s most popular web browser (by quite a distance), including Reading List, which will sync with your Mac to include all of the articles you’ve saved whilst browsing the web. Much like Instapaper or Read it Later.
Furthermore, to make that reading experience better, Apple has also packed in Reader, which was first seen on desktop Safari a while back. Remove the distractions and give you a plain view of the article including images and other media.
Naturally, there’s also a button via which you can quickly tweet the article you’re reading from Safari.
Lastly, tabbed browsing has been improved, with tabs being implemented desktop-style, without having to enter the grid view. They’re all there under the address bar. Much neater.
In iOS 5 you can now set reminders for various tasks. Categorised and interestingly, tagged to a location if you please. The location-aware app will now send you reminders as and when you enter a set place, not just based on time. No talk of whether this will sync with your Mac or not, but if it does this could be a serious killer for a number of To-do list apps on the app store for both devices.
The camera app is all-new too, with the iPhone 4 being the second most popular camera used for pics on Flickr, apparently. There’s a button which will take you to the camera on the lock screen. Interestingly, this will take you to the app without access to the rest of the phone, even if you have a password set, and you can use the volume buttons to take your pics as a physical button. That’s a nice option to have for those of us who prefer a physical button. Me included.
You can now also edit the photos you do take right there on the iPhone, including enhancement and red-eye removal. Nothing particularly revolutionary, but of course it’s nice to have on there.
Mail for iOS will now have some new features on iOS as well as OS X. For example, search integration is here too, and you can search anywhere in the message as you’ll be able to do with OS X mail, including content in the subject, body or whatever else you want to find.
You can flag messages now, as you can with other browsers, and similarly in terms of keeping it organised, you can drag addresses and messages around and shove it wherever you like – folders, new messages etc.
The new keyboard on iOS is extremely similar to that which we saw last week with Windows 8 on tablets, so if you use your iPad in landscape mode, you can drag the keyboard apart using drag handles, splitting the keyboard into two more ergonomic positions. It’s a debatable advance, and I’ll have to give it a go before I report back with my thoughts on that.
Thankfully, Apple has taken heed of advice from its millions of customers and has removed the need for a PC with your iOS device. This attracted huge applause from the audience at WWDC, the only thing attracting more screams and rapturous applause from the audience is the fact that setups and software updates will be delivered over the air. OVER THE AIR! No, Thank you, Apple. Really.
Let us get this straight – you do not need a PC to make full use of an iOS device anymore. Period.
Apple claims to have 50 million users on its Game Center, 20 million more than on Xbox Live, which has been around for 8 years. Perhaps that might be because it’s free and people thought ‘what the hell and signed in’, but it’s impressive nonetheless.
You can now find all of your games and download them from within Game Center, without having to go to the App Store. Again, convenient.
A new messaging app for iOS, which will support all iOS devices including iPad and iPod Touch. Encrypted conversations between iOS users with support over 3G and Wi-Fi. Over iMessage, you can send text, photos, videos and contacts and even receive delivery receipts and optional read receipts.
The messages go between all iOS devices and slots into the notifications system with aplomb, allowing you to share all this media and still chat in the background.
Like I said, there are 200 new features and more importantly, iOS 5 will be available for download in Autumn, probably in conjunction with the new iPhone. Though for now you’ll have to get it off your computer, but never again. Be sure to check it out and all these amazing new features. Developers can have it today.