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By 7 June 2011 | Categories: news

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Apple has previewed iOS 5, the latest version of the company’s mobile operating system (OS), working on iPads, iPhones and iPod touch devices. IOS 5 seems to draw a lot of inspiration from competing mobile platforms the likes of Android and BlackBerry OS. The iOS 5 beta release includes more than 200 new features that will be available to iPhone, iPad as well as iPod touch users this fall (spring for us).

Notification Center

New iOS 5 features includes the Notification Center, which like Android’s pull-down notification bar, enables iOS users to easily view and manage notifications from one place without interruption.

Notifications will appear briefly at the top of the screen and with one swipe a user can view all notifications, with a simple tap  taking a user right to the app from which the notification originated. Notifications also appear on the lock screen, with the ability to be taken to the notifying app with just one swipe.

Cupertino’s BBM, PC Free feature and Newsstand

Also new is Apple’s iMessage messaging service that, like BlackBerry Messaging (BBM), allows users to send text messages, photos and videos between all iOS 5-operating mobile devices over Wi-Fi or 3G.

iMessages are automatically pushed to all  iOS 5 devices, making it easy to maintain one conversation across your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. iMessage also features delivery and read receipts, typing indication and secure end-to-end encryption.

The new PC Free feature, allows iOS 5 users to activate and set up their iOS device right out of the box and get software updates over the air with no computer required.

Finally there’s Newsstand, which is a new way to buy and organise newspaper- as well as magazine subscriptions. Newsstand is an easy-to-organise bookshelf that displays the covers of all your newspaper and magazine subscriptions in one place.

A new section of the App Store features subscription titles only, and allows users to quickly find the most popular newspapers and magazines. If a user is subscribed to a magazine, new issues of that magazine will appear in the Newsstand and are updated automatically in the background so users always have the latest issue and the most recent cover art.

“iOS 5 has some great new features, such as Notification Center, iMessage and Newsstand and we can’t wait to see what our developers do with its 1,500 new APIs,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s co-founder and CEO. “Perhaps iOS 5’s paramount feature is that it’s built to seamlessly work with iCloud in the Post PC revolution that Apple is leading.”

With iOS 5 and iCloud, iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users simply enter their Apple ID and password, to have their all their mail, contacts, calendars, multimedia content, apps, as well as their books automatically and wirelessly kept up-to-date across all their devices without them ever having to connect to a PC.

Improved browsing experience

The web browsing experience of the Cupertino-based company’s Safari mobile browser has been enhanced. New features include Safari Reader, which sets the right font size on a web page, so that a user can easily scroll and read through a story.

Reading List enabling users to save articles to read later and these automatically show up on all their iOS-running devices. Lastly there’s Tabbed Browsing, which makes it easy to flip between multiple web pages on the iPad, a feature already available on the Android web browser and Opera Mini.

Twitter integration and enhanced Camera- and Photos app

iOS 5 includes built-in Twitter integration, allowing users to sign in once and then tweet directly from all their Twitter-enabled apps, including Photos, Camera, Safari, YouTube as well as Maps with a single tap.

Besides the Twitter integration, the new features in the Camera and Photos apps give users instant access to the camera right from their device’s lock screen, and users can also now employ the volume-up button to quickly capture a photo.

Optional grid lines assist in lining up a shot and a simple tap will lock the focus and exposure on one subject. The new Photos app enables users to crop, rotate, enhance and remove red-eye, as well as organise their photos into albums right on their device.

Additional new features in iOS 5 include:

  • Game Center now sports the ability to add photos to a user’s profile, purchase new games from within the Game Center app and has easier ways to find friends and new games.
  • Mail enhancements which include the ability to compose messages using draggable addresses, and a new formatting bar with bold, italics, underline and indention controls.
  • AirPlay Mirroring to wirelessly display everything a user does on their iPad 2 right on their HDTV via Apple TV.
  • A system-wide split keyboard to make it even easier to type on the iPad.

Availability

The iOS 5 beta software and SDK are available immediately for iOS Developer Program members at developer.apple.com. iOS 5 will be available as a free software update for iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2, iPad, iPod touch (4th generation) and iPod touch (3rd generation) this fall (spring for us). Some features may not be available on all products.

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