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Features of iOS 5 – listed, noted and explained

Apple has just released their latest operating system for the current generation of devices, which include the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2, iPad, iPod Touch 4th and 3rd generations.

In this feature from One Mobile Ring we address a few of the new key abilities of the iOS 5, along with what’s new about them, to offer a clear understanding as to why you should upgrade and their benefits to the new OS.

IOS 5 was announced in June this year at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference – which also launched the Mac OS X Lion platform, for Apple’s computers.

Apple’s iOS 5 comes with more than 200 new user features, where the top of these are the new notifications, iMessage, reminder, twitter integration, camera, game centre, safari, mail and the PC free abilities.

iOS 5's new notification centre holds all of the notifications, such as missed calls, messages and appointment reminders. It is now accessible by swiping a finger from the top of the screen, to the bottom and in much the same way as Android, along with the new version of Symbian Belle.

Notification messages are no longer 'blocking' in the latest Apple iOS, where they appear at the top of the display and then just fade away. If playing a game, you will no longer be interrupted which is a clear bonus to all. The lock screen also shows more of the notifications than beforehand, where swiping across any of them takes you directly to the app - all from the lock screen itself.

IMessage is a new messaging service between iOS users and in a very similar vein to the BlackBerry Messenger, which also only messages between Research In Motion handsets. This Apple app is only supported by the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

Apple's iMessage allows for the sending of text messages, photos and videos with delivery and read receipts. The application even shows when someone is typing a response to a missive, just as in Skype. These messages are then pushed to all devices, which means you can start a text message conversation on an iPhone, then pickup an iPad and carry it on from there. This works either on 3G or even WIFI, which address devices that don't have cellular access whilst being completely secure at the same time.

There's a brand new application in iOS 5 called ‘reminders’. This app allows the user to set reminders for various tasks to be done, with even location based reminders being possible. This is where a task can send an alert, when leaving a specific area – such as leaving work, or another pre-set place. There is even a task list, all of which can be synchronised with Exchange and the new iCloud.

Twitter has now been thoroughly integrated into the latest iOS and within the settings menu on a device, which holds all of the account information. There is also a ‘once sign in’ policy that means you no longer need to sign in, any more. All this allows for deep integration with Apple's other apps, as you can take a picture and then tweet that image, along with sending URLs from Safari, videos from YouTube and locations from Maps.

Accessing the camera is easier too, where just double-clicking on the home button launches a camera icon – which starts up the camera app itself, even from the lock-screen. The 'volume up' button can now be used to actually take a photo; grid lines can be added to line up a picture symmetrically; pinch to zoom on the screen before taking the shot is now available; even placing and holding a finger on the picture offers up an auto expose and focus, on that area. Editing of these pictures is now possible, with cropping or rotating, removing of red eye with a single tap and enhance, which pulls aspects of the photo out of the shadow and improves skin tone.

There are now 67 million people signed up to Game Centre, in little over a year since it launched. There are improvements in iOS 5 seen around photos of friends being added, achievement points, friend and game recommendations.

The Apple Safari web browser has been reworked, with a reader button added that formats and tailors the text in the web browser for that device. This gets rid of ads, corrects the font size for that screen and if it's a multi-page story – the piece is now broken down to one page, which is easier to just scroll through.

Just in case you don't have time to read the item, the now perfectly formatted piece can be added to the 'reading list' option that also sync's to all iOS devices.

Full tabbed browsing now comes to the iOS based products, taking a note from Firefox from over the years and more recently, Chrome. This makes it easier to browse the web and compare webpages, whilst also surfing to multiple sites.

Mail inside of iOS now features rich text formatting, for adding bold; underlining text; italics; controlling indentation; draggable addresses; flag messages; searching the entre message itself and the iPad version now offers the ability to swipe to the side, just to load the inbox.

It used to be the case that if you were an owner of a iOS device, you had to own a computer. The first thing you did with an iPhone or iPad, is plug them into a PC. You can now unbox an iPhone and set it up ready to go, all without using a computer and there is even a feature to wirelessly update too.

iOS 5 is now freely available for the iPhone 4, iPhone 3Gs, iPad 2, iPad, iPod Touch 4th and 3rd generations.

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Rob has worked in the affiliate industry for many years with large publishers, and previously worked as a journalist on titles such as Wired, PC Magazine, ITProPortal, The Register, The Inquirer, Pocket-Lint, Mobile Industry Review, Know Your Mobile and The Gadget Show.