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New iOS 5 features compared to Android, BlackBerry, Windows Phone

Apple's iOS 5 may have features that are new to the iPhone, but we've seen many before on other mobile platforms.

WWDC teaser image

This article was originally posted June 6, 2011, and updated on October 4, 2011.

Apple has unveiled the next iPhoneat long last, and with it comes iOS 5, which we first learned of in June. We got demos of 10 of the 200 additions and enhancements, including the hotly anticipated over-the-air system updates, new message notifications, and group messaging. The iOS 5 update rolls out on October 12.

Deep voice integration through the Siri app (beta) was revealed at the iPhone 4S launch event today. This is the deep voice integration we expected, and in addition to handling text composition and replies, reminders, and meeting requests, it also reaches for a more conversational tone in its voice search. Questions like, "Do I need an umbrella today?" yields results like, "Yes, it sure looks like rain." A new icon of a microphone will soon join the virtual keyboard.

While all the new features bring happy tidings for Apple fans, many have already existed on Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone operating systems. That's not necessary a knock on Apple; all the platforms eventually ape each other's best features, and remember how long it took Apple to enable copy/paste on its original iPhone? What it does reveal is that Android, and even Windows Phone and BlackBerry, are applying real pressure.

Here's a look at how some of Apple's major iOS 5 updates line up with those on rival mobile platforms. We've included dates and the names of Apple's new features when available.

Apple iOS 5


Windows Phone

BlackBerry OS

Grouped notifications
Notification Center
Notifications pull-down (2008)
Live tile updates (2010)
Notification icons on home screen
Group, multimedia messaging (free within ecosystem)
Standard messaging; third-party apps (Kik, GroupMe)
Standard messaging; third-party apps
BlackBerry Messenger 5 (2009)
Twitter sharing, integration
iOS 5, October 2011
Sharing an original Android feature; status updates via apps
Coming with Mango update in fall
Twitter photo-sharing available
Over-the-air updates
iOS 5, October 2011
Original feature (2008)
Original feature (2010)
BlackBerry OS 5 (2009)
Magazine, RSS subscriptions
Third-party apps
Third-party apps
Third-party apps
Reminders lists
iOS 5,October 2011; includes geolocation
Third-party apps
Third-party apps
Third-party apps
Browser reading mode
iOS 5, October 2011
Third-party apps
Third-party apps
Third-party apps
Rich text formatting
Mail app
Third-party apps
Office documents
Third-party apps
Camera shortcut on a locked phone
iOS 5, October 2011
HTC Sensation, Pantech Breakout have a Lock screen shortcut
Hold and press shutter from sleep position (Pocket-to-picture; 2010)
Must wake up phone
Games recommendations, see achievements
Game Center
Not available
Xbox Live (Achievements; 2010); enhancements with Mango
Not available
Voice controls
Voice actions; third-party apps
Original feature (2010); expanded in Mango September 2011
Third-party app