Sure, the 2011 WWDC SteveNote was great, and highlighted a lot of the new and interesting features coming in Lion, iOS 5, and iCloud, but what about the features they didn’t emphasize? We take a look at 5 of the features of iOS 5 NOT emphasized in the keynote that we think you’ll love.
1. New Music App for iPad
iOS 5 has brought some changes to the iPod functionality on the iPad and (presumably) the iPhone. iPod.app has been renamed to Music, and has gotten a slick new look. The new Music app is elegant, beautiful, features big, tappable buttons, and does away with some of the annoying album artwork behavior of the old app. Playlists are transformed to look like vinyls, and albums look much better against the new, lighter background. The new app also features real-time search, a much nicer animated Now Playing screen, a tabbed interface, and more. It’s a complete overhaul.
2. Custom Vibration Alerts, Better Accessibility Settings
Another curious and innovative new feature that the keynote didn’t mention is better accessibility for those with visual, auditory, tactile, or cognitive disabilities. iOS 5 now support special hardware for people with disabilities. The LED camera flash now works with a custom vibration setting, so you can see and feel when someone is calling (and set custom vibration patterns, so you know who is calling), and tell the difference between a call, an email, and a text without looking at your phone. Further, VoiceOver has introduced custom labeling. Essentially, iOS 5 has really stretched forth a welcoming hand to those with various types of impairments.
Although this was mentioned by Scott Forstall on stage, I feel this feature deserves more merit. The new dictionary is great! It’s simple – from any app, anywhere on your device, just select a word. A menu pops up, and you can simply click the “define” option in that menu to get your definition without leaving the app. This is the same dictionary currently found within iBooks, and even provides Wikipedia and thesaurus content when its available.
4. Better Multitasking Gestures for iPad
There are now some new gestures available on the iPad. The gestures have been available previously in developer previews, but they’ve finally grown up and found their place in the real word. These are 4 and 5 finger gestures – swipe left or right with 4 or 5 fingers, and you can move between apps (the same way it works in OS X Lion!), swipe up to show the app switcher/multitasking bar, or simply pinch to return to the home screen. Mmmm, lovely.
5. AirPlay Mirroring (Only Works On iPad 2)
This was also mentioned briefly in the keynote, but very little was said about it. Using AirPlay and the Apple TV, the iPad 2 can now, completely wirelessly, mirror its entire screen to your HDTV, popping automatically between portrait and landscape as you rotate the device. It’s the same beauty you can get from the iPad’s Digital AV Cable, just…without the wires!
Click here to see 5 more un-emphasized, yet still awesome features in iOS 5.