Apple revealed the latest updates to iOS today at WWDC, its annual conference for developers.
Apple's new iOS
At WWDC today, Apple announced details of iOS 5, its forthcoming operating system for the iPhone, the iPad, and the iPod Touch. The company showed off 10 of the 200 features and enhancements it says iOS 5 contains. Though we got a look at some of the major additions at the event, the OS upgrade won't be available until fall.
Apple has heeded the calls of the annoyed multitude by bundling notifications in a single place. As with Android's notification bar, you can swipe down to see your alerts. You can also see a rundown of all your messages in the lock screen, including missed calls and app updates. Sliding your finger over that app opens it, and you can clear notifications by tapping the "X" button. It also includes weather and stock widgets.
At long last, iOS 5 will integrate Twitter as a sharing option from the camera and photos. You can also shoot out a tweet from there, or from YouTube, Safari, or Maps. Twitter will also integrate with your contacts list, so you can view photos from your buddies' Twitter accounts.
A kind of iBooks for magazines and newspapers, Newsstand acts like a home screen folder. If you buy a subscription, you'll automatically receive new issues in the background, so you won't need to manually download issues yourself.
Safari is going to make reading easier on the eyes with a new feature that gives you a stripped down view of any badly formatted article; it'll look more like an RSS feed that way. With iOS 5, you'll be able to e-mail the meat of a story, and not just the link, from Safari. The Reading List itself lets you bookmark a story for reading later, much like other browser apps we've seen for other platforms and in other mobile apps. If you use Safari on other Apple devices, you'll have a single, united reading list.
Another new feature, the Reminders app will let you create and store multiple lists, and assign a date and a location for each event. Reminders sync on iCal on the Mac with CalDAV, and on Windows with MS Exchange. Though reminders are useful, the app is like many third party to-do apps that already exist for iOS.
Apple's bare bones e-mailing app will get rich text formatting, indentations, and the ability to drag addresses among all the "to" fields. You'll also be able to flag messages and search message content, not just the sender, recipient, and subjects.
To take a photo with a locked screen, you used to have to unlock the screen first, and chance losing your shot. Apple's iOS 5 provides a workaround through the auspices of a screen control and the volume rocker. A camera icon shows up directly to the right of the unlock slider, which will snap open the camera app, even if you have a passcode. Pressing the volume "up" will trigger the camera shutter button. The crowd goes wild.
Photo editing is also on board now. One-click enhancing and iPhoto are coming to the photos app, and so is speedy color correction. Editing options include cropping and rotating, and red-eye reduction. The app itself includes grid lines, pinch to zoom, and changing the exposure by pressing and holding the screen.
Another long-awaited feature will let you cut the USB cord. Going forward, you won't need to tether the iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch to your primary computer to receive major and minor iOS updates. In the future, Apple will serve them over the air, updating only the changes, rather than the entire OS anew, so updates should also be shorter. iOS 5 will back itself up before syncing as well.
Other things you'll be able to achieve wirelessly include editing photos; creating and deleting calendars; and managing e-mail folders.
This is the BlackBerry Messenger-killer we heard about a few hours before the event. You'll be able to send text, photos, videos, and contacts to anyone else whoÃ?Â¢??s using an iOS device, and it supports group messaging as well.
iMessage can send receipts so you know if your message has been delivered and read. You'll also be able to see in real time if someone's typing a note for you. iMessage works over 3G and Wi-Fi and will encrypt your messages.