Thanks to a really great contact on Twitter I managed to grab the first beta of iOS 5. While much of the great and wonderful updates have been reported on already, I have been through the settings and jotted down some notes on what I found. Here are a few observations on iOS 5.
- As promised by Steve Jobs, you no longer need a PC or Mac to activate or set up your iPhone. It’s now an independent device in its own right!
- iCloud: You can use your iPhone while syncing it with iTunes and I assume the iCloud. An icon appears on the status bar indicating a sync is in progress. There is an option for “Storage Plan” which is currently grayed out, which indicates Apple may have various storage plans in addition to the Free 5GB. Steve Jobs made this sound like a lot, but when I ran my first iCLoud backup, I realised how little this is if you plan on backing up your camera roll!
- Home Screen Notifications: You can slide notifications by swiping down at the top of the screen. You can delete all text and phone message notifications but not individual messages. The notifications screen also shows two widgets: stocks and weather. Weather uses GPS to display weather in your area. You can change from banner notifications to the usual pop up windows.
- Lock Screen: Messages now appear on lock screen as banner notifications opposed to a single pop up message. The lock screen will only show notifications since you last locked it. You can access the camera from the lock screen. New e-mail messages do not seem to appear on the lock screen (disappointed in this).
- Settings: There is some interesting things happening in the settings . Now an option to update software over the air! A new iTunes Sync option. iCloud options with the following On/Off toggle options: Mail, Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Bookmarks, Notes, Photo Stream, Find my iPhone. They were all disabled by default on my test device.
- Sending an e-mail without a subject? You now get a warning!
- iPod app has gone! I’m surprised Apple are removing this one, now there is an app for music and one called video, the same as an iPod Touch.
- LED Flash for ALerts. The camera flash will go off for alerts. Makes me suspect that Apple will have Blackberry like LED in the next iPhone device.
- Twitter: Twitter is tightly integrated, you can authorise more than one account, if you use Twitter this is very handy.
- Camera: Pinch to zoom, seems a bit buggy to me, but it is a first beta, there is also a grid, and best of all you can use the volume button to take a snap.
- Photos app: You can now edit photos, it’s pretty basic, but functional none the less. The ability to correct ‘red eye’, crop images and rotate images!
To summarise, lot’s of goodies in this iOS release, which we can expect in Autumn sometime, with possibly more that is available in the current beta. I have noticed throughout the iOS that much of the functionality comes from what was popular apps and jailbreak functions, Apple seems to be listening to its users.