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Notifications bar

Lock screen notifications

You're notified

Reminders

Completed reminders

Reminders calendar

More on the lock screen

Camera grid lines

Photo editing

Cropping a photo

New in Maps

iMessage

Move address fields

Rich text format

Personal dictionary

Twitter integration

More fun with links

Reader mode in Safari

PC Free

Newsstand

Hourly weather forecasts

Game Center

Locate your friends on the map

From your iPhone to their mailbox

Apple's iOS 5 isn't the biggest update we've seen, but it offers enough to get us interested. A few of the changes, like the improved notifications system and the photo-editing features, are minor but long overdue, while others, like PC Free and iMessage, will change how you use your iPhone. Here's what we've managed to try out so far.


One of iOS 5's most welcome features is the new notifications system. Instead of multiple, and sometimes irritating, pop-up notifications, you now have one menu that shows a complete list of your missed calls and messages, app updates, a stock ticker, and the current weather. Swiping down from the top of the screen (much as in Android) will get you there.

Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET
Notifications also will show up on the lock screen so you can see what you missed when you come back to your phone.
Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET
You'll even get notifications while you're using other apps or a game. You can access the notification by clicking on it, and it will disappear if you ignore it.
Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET
With this new app, you can ask the phone to remind you to do something (like "call Mom"), either at a certain time or when you leave a location.
Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET
When you're finished with a task, you can check it off on your to-do list. Reminders can be shared between devices and sync with iCal on the Mac with CalDAV, and on Windows with Microsoft Exchange.
Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET
When setting a reminder for a future date, you'll pick your chosen day in this calendar. Though the basic layout is similar to the calendar app, the design (with the dark background) is different.
Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET
Here's how your lock screen appears, with both reminders and notifications.
Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET
In the camera viewfinder, the option to add grid lines now appears above the HDR control, which shows a tweaked design.
Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET
After taking a photo, you can crop and rotate your image and access color correction and red-eye reduction controls. Considering that photo-editing features have long existed on basic phones, these options were sorely needed.
Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET
You also can crop a photo to get the best out of your shots.
Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET
When planning a route in Maps, you can select from multiple route options.
Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET
The new iMessage feature is integrated into the standard messaging app. The iPhone will know when you're talking to another iOS device and activate the options to send locations and contacts, try group messaging, see when someone is typing to you, and get delivery and read-message receipts. Remember that iMessage will not count against your carrier's text message allotment.
Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET
In the e-mail app, iOS 5 adds the ability to drag recipients between the different fields.
Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET
When messaging you can now type in rich text format for bold text, italics, and underlines.
Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET
Thanks to the personal dictionary, you can avoid future autocorrect mishaps by adding slang, acronyms, and other unrecognized words to your device's dictionary.
Caption by / Photo by Seenshot by Jason Parker/CNET
The tighter Twitter integration means that you now can tweet directly from YouTube, Safari (as seen here), the Photo Gallery App, and Maps. It saves a few steps since you no longer have to end your task, switch to a Twitter app, and then send your tweet. You'll be able to add a location and sync Twitter with your contacts list.
Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET
In addition to tweeting a Web site's URL, you also can mail an entire article (presently you can send just a link) and add it to a Reading List that can be synced across multiple Safari devices. The Print, Add Bookmark, and Add to Home Screen options are unchanged.
Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET
The Reader option in the Safari browser will strip down articles to a simple, easy-to-read format. You can change the text size if you'd like.
Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET
The PC Free feature enables wireless device activations and app and software updates. The updates will serve only the changes, so they'll be shorter. And with the new iCloud service, you'll also be able to wirelessly sync, back up, and restore your device with iTunes. As you might have guessed, the idea is for you to never have to plug your device into a computer again. Or, if you prefer, you won't have to own a computer at all.
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The Newsstand app's design is similar to iBooks'. You can add subscriptions from the App Store, and new issues will be delivered automatically. We haven't had a chance to examine it yet, but we'll check it out over the next few days.
Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET
The weather forecast may not be more accurate, but hourly reports should help you plan your wardrobe better.
Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET
The Game Center gets new features like profile photos, achievement point comparison, friends-of-friends and game recommendations, and support for turn-based games. What's more, you can buy games directly from the app.
Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET
Download Find My Friends (free) from the iTunes App Store so you can locate your friends (with their permission) and find them on the map.
Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET
With Apple's Cards app, you can choose from several different card variations, then customize the inside and outside of the card to your liking.
Caption by / Photo by Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET
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