At its Worldwide Developers Conference today, Apple officially unveiled iOS 5, the latest version of its mobile operating system for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. The new system reportedly includes over 200 new features, one of the more noteworthy of which is the iCloud online data storage service. iCloud includes 5GB of internet-based memory space, and it automatically syncs all of a user's iDevices whenever new files are added to any one of them. iOS 5 will be available to consumers as of this Fall (for Northern Hemisphere readers, or this Spring for those in the Southern Hemisphere).
Apple's press release touches on some of the highlights of iOS 5, stating:
Notification Center provides iOS 5 users with an innovative way to easily access all notifications―text messages, missed calls, calendar alerts, app alerts and more, all in one place, from anywhere in iOS 5. When they arrive, notifications appear briefly at the top of the screen without interrupting what you're doing. With one swipe you can see all your notifications, and a simple tap will take you right to its app for more detail. Notifications also appear on the lock screen, with the ability to be taken to the notifying app with just one swipe.
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.
Safari is the world's most popular mobile browser, and with iOS 5 it's now even better. New features include Safari Reader, which gets all the clutter out of the way and sets the right font size on a web page, so you can easily scroll and read through a story; Reading List, so you can save articles to read later and they automatically show up on all your iOS devices; and Tabbed Browsing, which makes it easy to flip between multiple web pages on iPad.
iOS 5 includes built-in Twitter integration, so you can sign in once and then tweet directly from all your Twitter-enabled apps, including Photos, Camera, Safari, YouTube and Maps with a single tap. New APIs give third party developers the ability to take advantage of the single sign-on capability for their own iOS 5 apps.
iMessage in iOS 5 brings the functionality of iPhone messaging to all of your iOS devices―iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Built right into the Messages app, iMessage allows you to easily send text messages, photos, videos or contact information to a person or a group on other iOS 5 devices 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.
The new Reminders app helps you manage your tasks; create and group related tasks together; and set time or location-based reminder alerts, priorities and due dates, so you can be reminded of a task as its deadline approaches, or when you arrive or depart a given location. Reminders can also be viewed in iCal and Outlook and are updated automatically.
iCloud, however, should prove particularly popular. Instead of having to physically connect your various devices to your Mac or PC in order to keep them on the same page, the service will make all mail, contacts, calendars, photos, apps, books, music and other files accessible to all devices, as soon as they're added via any one of them. Should you download a song to your iPod touch, for instance, it will automatically become accessible to your other devices.
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