We’ve waited a long time for iOS 5. The usual Apple release date of [sometime in july] was skipped this year and iPhone users everywhere went hungry. The few months that followed were especially difficult. Sure, our phones did all the things we wanted them too, but there was nothing new, nothing exciting. They had run out of the magic.
Enter iOS 5. The new kid. The contender. The one that made Android users say, “A duuurrrrrrrr I’ve had my notifications displayed like that for years now.” The fact is, iOS 5 really isn’t bringing us anything outrageous. There really isn’t anything here to rub in your greasey-android-using-friend’s face. It’s a cleaner, smarter update. So how does it work?
Right off the bat iOS 5 shows it’s strength with speed. The entire system moves around like a buttered up pig (we’re trying to appeal to a new demographic: southern folk). Gliding between pages, launching apps, multitask app-switching, the lot; they all run exponentially better than they did on iOS 4. Which is great, because iOS 4 was no slouch.
Just look at this stunning review from our own Marian:
I love it!
Wow. Deep stuff.
Some of the big highlight features are things like Notification Center, iMessage, Reminders, Twitter integration, camera improvements, and Wi-Fi syncing. To keep things brief, I’ll give some short positives on each.
Notification Center: Simply put: Awesome. Yes, variations of this feature have existed elsewhere for awhile now, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t good. Notification Center answers a lot of gripes users have had in the past, and presents it in a way that makes everyone’s life a little more streamlined.
iMessage: By far and away, my favorite feature of iMessage is that I never have to think about it. I launch the messaging app, my iPhone will figure out if the person I’m texting is running iOS 5 or not, and send them an iMessage or a regular text, depending on what they’re using. Simple, effective, and dare I say, it just works.
Reminders: Haven’t had much real world use with it yet, but all seems well. Fair warning, if you set a location based reminder, your phone is forced to track you until you reach that location. Could be detrimental to battery life, and if you’re a paranoid weirdo, those government operatives might be able to find you. Remind carefully.
Twitter Integration: It works. Tweet stuff like pictures, or webpages, etc. It even makes a cute noise when you do so.
Camera Improvements: Now we can use a volume button to take photos. Something everyone else has had forever. You can also have more control over the image you’re trying to take, as well as more editing features after you snap the shot. All good.
iTunes Wi-Fi Syncing: Alas, I’ll finally sync my phone more than once a year!
So those are some of the big marquee improvements of iOS5. There is a lot more going on though. Personally, I love the fact that I can now have my own choice of nearly all of the system sounds (new mail, sent mail, calendar reminders, etc.). The interface has also been ever-so-slightly improved to give everything a fresh new look. All in all, iOS 5 is #winning.
Like I said a few times earlier. A good portion of these features have existed on other mobile OS’s for awhile now. That doesn’t make them bad, but your friend with an Android phone will taunt you with his snarky attitude. WP7 users might too. If you run into a taunting situation from another OS user, just remember, sticks and stones may break your bones, but arguing with fanboys with never hurt you.
The iPhone 4S
Definitely a small step forward, but a step forward none-the-less. I was blown away by how fast iOS 5 ran on my iPhone 4. I can only imagine how silky smooth it is on the 4S. I’m excited to see the new camera system in action, as well as try out Siri, the voice command system. The improvements made to the antenna system will, hopefully, ensure that we don’t see another PR disaster like last year.
All-in-all, the 4S has some good things going for it. Look out for our official review of it when one of us splurges and gets one.You can place bets on when I’m going to get one here. You might win a game.
Simply put, Apple continues to make good moves. iOS 5 and the iPhone 4S have brought enough new toys to the table to keep us happy, and for that I am thankful. If you own a iPhone 4 or a 3GS, grab the new OS when it comes out next week, or cheat (like me) and get it early.