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WWDC: 10 Huge Improvements In iOS 5

WWDC: 10 Huge Improvements In iOS 5

Apple just put on an incredible keynote for the 2011 World-Wide Developer, uncovering and revealing all kinds of exciting new things for all of us! In this post, I’ll summarize the developments announced for the upcoming iOS 5.

Let me just say that iOS 5 is going to be perhaps the most incredible update to iOS ever. According to the keynote, it will include about 200 new features, and will implement 1500 new API’s for developers to use. Here are the 10 new features they covered in the keynote.

1. Notifications

Apple has dramatically improved the way notifications works on iOS, coming up with a new system that does not interrupt you to deliver notifications, brings all notifications into one place (they call this “Notification Center) with a simple swipe-down from the top, let’s you launch any app from the homescreen when you see a notification, and includes notifications for the stock and weather apps.

The new notifications, pictured above, will make life much simpler, and although they’re a bit Android-y, they’re still a welcome change in my book!

2. Newsstand

Apple has unleashed a new feature called Newsstand, which is basically and extension of iBooks that works with magazines, newspapers, and subscription content purchased through Apple. It places your newspapers and magazines in one place, and manages Apple subscriptions (while keeping the content available offline).

From Apple PR:

Newsstand is a beautiful, easy-to-organize bookshelf displaying the covers of all your newspaper and magazine subscriptions in one place. A new section of the App Store™ features just subscription titles, and allows users to quickly find the most popular newspapers and magazines in the world. If subscribed to, new issues appear in the Newsstand and are updated automatically in the background so you always have the latest issue and the most recent cover art.

3. Twitter Integration

Another lovely thing that was added to iOS 5 is deep Twitter integration – simply authenticating your twitter account in System Preferences allows you to tweet directly from Twitter enabled apps, and the list of those apps has expanded to include Photos, Camera, Safari, YouTube, and maps – all able to tweet with a single tap.

Also, developers have access to a new API to allow them to take advantage of this without making you re-enter your Twitter account settings.

4. Upgraded Mobile Safari

Mobile Safari has been granted some much-needed love in iOS 5, bringing Safari Reader, which helps make websites more readable by managing the font size and getting “clutter” out of the way so you can easily scroll through and read.

It also includes Reading List, which lets you save articles and websites to read later, which automatically sync between all your iOS devices. Tabbed browsing is another new feature, making it easier to multitask and absorb web content from your iDevice.

5. Reminders

Apple has included a new Reminders app, designed to help you create lists and manage your tasks. You can create and group related tasks together, and set time or location-based reminders, priorities, and due dates, so you’re always reminded and on-top of task deadlines and appointments. The reminders that you create can also be viewed in iCal and Outlook.

6. Camera

Big new features have been incorporated into Camera.app and Photos.app, which give you instant access to the camera from your lock screen, grants the ability to use the volume-up button as a shutter button, includes grids to help you line up shots, and makes it easier to focus and zoom in while using the camera.

The new Photos app also lets you do some basic image editing right on your iDevice, including cropping, rotating, enhancing, removing red-eye, and organizing photos into albums right on your device. It also includes a one-tap “auto enhance” feature for all your images.

7. Mail

Mail has gotten a number of much-needed upgrades as well, and now includes support for flagging, searching the entire contents of your email servers, rich text formatting, indentation, the ability to drag email addresses, and better enterprise support.

8. iDevices Go PC-Free

Now that we’re in the Post-PC Era, Apple has decided to help us out by not requiring you to tether your iOS 5 devices to activate them – you can activate devices right in your hand when you by them, requiring no computer at all to get them fully set up.

Software updates will now also be available over-the-air, and iDevice users will gain the ability to sync their devices completely wirelessly over Wi-Fi, enabling you to “cut the cord” in a truly significant manner.

9. Game Center
Game center has reached 50 million users, and now Apple has significantly beefed up the performance of Game Center by allowing support for turn-based games, as well as true online multiplayer functionality. In addition, they’ve enabled photos in game center, recommended friend, “friends of friends,” game recommendations, achievement points (to compare yourself against friends), and more!

10. iMessage

Apple has created a brand new feature to bring messaging capabilities to all devices, with or without a texting or data plan. Built right into the messages app, the new features allow you to send texts, messages, photos, videos, or contact information to anyone else that has an iOS 5 device, working over Wi-Fi or 3G.

iMessages are automatically pushed to all your iOS 5 devices, making it easy to maintain one conversation across your iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. iMessage also features delivery and read receipts, typing indication and secure end-to-end encryption.

Even more!

Also included in iOS is a new keyboard for the iPad which can split in half, making it easier to type with your thumbs. The keyboard works via on-screen “grab handles”, which you can use to drag the two keyboard halves apart, place them back together, and drag them up and down your screen.

AirPlay has also gotten some love, now allowing you to wirelessly mirror your iPad to your TV, although they haven’t mentioned how this particular feature works.


The iOS 5 developer preview is said to become available today for developers, and will arrive this fall for consumers to use on their devices.

That’s all the summary we have for you on iOS 5 – hopefully its enough to keep you excited! I know it sure perked me up! We’ll keep you updated as more is discovered when developers start digging through the beta.

Images courtesy of the MacLife LiveBlog of WWDC.