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Apple's iOS 5

Neil P

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I'm personally very excited about iOS 5. There are a ton of new features (as with any major OS update) but by far the one I'm most excited about is the Notification Center:

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. Even see a stock ticker and the current weather. 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 know Android has had this for awhile (since the beginning?), and personally I don't care if it's a 100% rip-off of Android's code. Modal iOS dialogs are the single most annoying thing ever. Try being on a phone call and getting a couple text messages. You literally have to hit Close (or View, I guess) on every dialog that pops up before you can even access the phone controls! It interrupts videos, most apps, and you can't view a history! Dismiss one and it's gone forever...it's terrible, terrible design. The new notifications will be slicker and unobtrusive and give you history!Another cool (in theory) update is iMessage - You essentially get to send free text messages to any iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, and multiple at the same time. It's basically free IMing.Twitter - Integrated into the OS. You can tweet from all (most?) of the built-in Apple apps--Safari, Maps, YouTube, Photos/Camera and I'm fairly sure apps will be able to use the API and tweet from the OS itself.Camera - Open the Camera app right from the lock screen, take photos with the Volume Up hardware button (fantastic!), autofocus/autoexposure, grid lines, pinch to zoomPhotos - Edit/Crop, remove red eye, "auto-enhance"The Photos and Camera changes basically take the fantastic app Camera+ and well...steal all of its ideas. Including using the volume button as a shutter button, which Camplus tried to put in an update and Apple rejected (a while ago)Safari - Tabs (iPad only?), performance improvements, "Reader" (read articles online without ads/other formatting), "Reading List" (basically Instapaper)PC-Free - Apple "cutting the cord". No more activation in iTunes needed. No more syncing with a cable needed. No more connecting to your computer for 200MB+ OS updates: they're going to be Over The Air (OTA) and "delta" updates, meaning just the stuff that has changed since the last release.Oh, and a huge part of iOS 5 is iCloud. Basically, all the backup and syncing stuff will be handled automagically. It will store your photos and music (and whatever stuff apps want, basically). Right now people are using hacks/workarounds with Dropbox. See everything Apple's got on iOS 5 here.
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