(Pocket-lint) – The roll-out of Apple’s new mobile operating organization, iOS v, is now underway and bar a few early troubles dealing with the demand, iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users are now exploring the new features the update brings to their devices.
We’ve been living with the developer build before upgrading to the concluding version on our devices and we’ve been looking closely to see exactly what yous get. Will this put Apple at the head of the mobile pack? Is information technology simply playing grab-up with increasingly sophisticated opposition? Volition this change everything, or is information technology only an incremental update?
Our quick take
There are still areas that could exist improved, of course. Incoming calls could be amend dealt with, sharing could be more encompassing, and nosotros’ve picked out some niggles to a higher place, just in reality, iOS 5 has dealt with some of our biggest bugbears. For united states, notifications is the change we appreciate the about as they are now much more dynamic, much more than useful and acknowledge the level of notifications that modernistic smartphone users now get.
iCloud is welcomed, working in tandem with iTunes to create an organised wireless umbrella to draw your devices together. Cutting the wire with the PC makes iOS experience more sophisticated, even if heavy Google users may still discover that Android’s wireless arroyo is easier to set-up and sync. In reality iCloud and iTunes in the Deject aren’t entirely new, only the extra reach into the desktop makes for a better experience within the Apple tree world. We imagine that Apple tree will take this farther, offering you a more enhanced browser-based experience on iCloud.com and so you tin can access more of your content away from your iDevices.
This isn’t simply an incremental update, iOS 5 brings changes that alter how you use your device(due south) on a daily basis. But at the same time it doesn’t move away from the “iPhone way”. As a result, iOS 5 will be apprecitated by those who have information technology and those coming into the iOS family, but probably won’t brand Android or Windows Mobile 7 users jealous.
Apple tree iOS five
- Notifications are much better than before
- ICloud and Wi-Fi syncing bring some great features
- Computer-free iPhone ownership
- Sharing could be ameliorate centralised
- IMessage could allow you know compatible addresses better
- Desktop integration needed to complete the picture show
- Reminders location services seem a flake limited in scope
Previously on iOS you had to connect your iPhone or iPad to your iTunes business relationship on a computer via a cablevision and then follow a serial of on-screen instructions. That has now moved over to the device, so you lot can, in theory, run your iPhone completely without a computer.
The setup procedure starts by getting you to gear up-up fundamentals, like Wi-Fi, and signing in to your Apple account. It also lets you enable various new services yous get for free, like iCloud and Find My iPhone which we’ll talk virtually later. It’southward great to finally have this on the iPhone: Android, Windows Telephone 7 and BlackBerry users have been doing this sort of thing for quite a while.
We’ve been through the setup a couple of times and y’all become the selection to set your device upward as a new iPhone, every bit well as restore it. Here you at present get a “Restore from iCloud” choice, which so lets you lot choose the particular fill-in, and then if something happens (assuming you have an iCloud fill-in), you’ll be able to setup a new phone just like your previous device with but a few clicks and no need for wires.
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Our initial setup took less than 3 minutes; a restore took about xx mins considering of the apps it was loading in, but it’south a better out of the box experience than ever before.
Notifications and alerts
The biggest visual change is notifications. Apple has finally embraced a organisation that won’t see you shaking your fist at your phone every time someone retweets y’all and that can only be a good thing. Previous notification were not dynamic, they offered information but footling else.
At that place are a number of dissimilar notification systems, a drag-down tray, the on-screen notifications and lock screen notifications, all of which offering a degree of customisation, so y’all tin cull to have banners or bigger alerts (similar to previous iOS versions).
Notifications are controlled through the Notifications settings carte and within that, you’ll get a list of apps in your “Notification Centre”. Y’all can then swoop in and change the notification style for each of the specific apps. You might cull to accept emails as a imprint, because you get so many of them, and the calendar equally alerts and then you don’t miss them.
Very Android in its approach, you are now able to swipe down from the top of the screen to reveal all your notifications in one place including certain dedicated widgets like weather condition and stocks, both controlled through the same notification menu. Borer a notification takes you lot to that app, appointment or message. Tapping on either of the widgets takes y’all through to the total app.
Each main app group – email, messages, phone calls, or app notifications are listed alongside a small version of their icon and you lot’re able to clear the clusters individually, leaving others if you still desire a reminder. For instance, you lot can impale the emails, but go on the personal letters you need to reply to.
Lockscreen notifications are more useful than previously equally you can action private alerts, swiping the alarm to read that message. Again you tin can control which alerts make information technology through to the lockscreen. This could be unsafe if you regularly get racy text letters, or just anything you want hidden from prying eyes, as all volition be able to see them even if you’ve got a passcode enabled.
The bottom line is that it’s a far, far, far better system than is found in iOS 4.3 and ane that makes upgrading to iOS v worth the effort. Yeah it’southward like Android, yes it’south similar Windows Phone 7, aye your friends with those operating systems will welcome you to 2011. But, hey, yous’ve got a decent notification system now, and dare we say it, the level of customisation here surpasses the options you get on other platforms.
Taking on BBM, iMessage is Apple’s new instant messenging service built in to iOS 5. Found in Messages, the idea is that as long as you lot’ve got someone’due south Apple ID electronic mail address, yous can showtime pinging them instant messages like text messages without having to ship a network SMS. This effectively means y’all tin communicate with anyone with an iOS device in their hand, so long as y’all know the address to get them on. Fortunately, the system is clever enough to work out what contact accost is iMessage capable and what isn’t – if you lot don’t have their Apple tree ID, you lot’ll be sending a regular bulletin instead. Pick the right address and the message pane changes to iMessage.
In effect, it’south something that most of us have been doing for a while in various forms, be it through Skype or some other IM client. iMessage goes hand-in-mitt with FaceTime’southward video calling. Finer, Apple has brought a native service to iOS that was existence met by 3rd-party apps like Skype previously.
One business we take is spam and it volition be interesting to see how Apple protect you from junk messages clogging up your inbox from mass iMessage spamming of email addresses. Besides, whilst iMessage is nice, information technology’s another service that’s limited to iOS. If everyone you know uses an iPhone, and then bully, but if not, y’all’ll probably stick to other methods that give you cantankerous-platform chatter.
Currently there is no desktop integration of iMessage, although we’re sure that volition come up shortly enough. As well, although the system will detect which contact address is capable of iMessage, it would exist nice it this was clear – perhaps like the “online” notification that Android Skype users get integrated into their Contacts.
Camera, composing, editing your photos
We’ve all been there, wanting to have a motion-picture show with your iPhone only to miss the moment by the time y’all’ve swiped to unlock information technology, entered in your passcode, and then found the camera app and waited for information technology to burn down upward. Now a double tap of the home primal on the lock screen presents a camera button for you to utilise straight away.
If that wasn’t enough to get you giddy with photographic excitement, Apple has added even more to the camera, similar the ability to use the volume upward button as a defended shutter button. It makes sense for a number of reasons. Firstly it’southward easier to hold the phone steady and printing the button than bear on the screen, then less shaky photos as a result. Also, information technology’s far easier to snap a picture of yourself with the chief camera using the button.
Shooting at arm’s length, we found the best technique was to line up our eye in the shiny Apple logo on the dorsum of the phone. This framed us nicely inside the shot. Simple. If composition is your thing, y’all’ll also be able to overlay a grid so you tin can use the rule of thirds for framing.
Once yous do finally take your film, you’ll now get new editing features too. Press the edit button on a photo and yous get the chance to rotate information technology, magically enhance it using Apple tree’s algorithm, apply scarlet-eye fix and, finally, and most helpfully, the ability to crop the epitome either manually, or in various formats (square, 4 ten 6, 5 x seven, etc.). The original prototype is kept intact for you lot to still edit, however, you lot don’t get a divide image clogging upwards your photo anthology.
Yous’ll also become Photograph Stream, part of iCloud. Photo Stream volition appear on your iOS devices, recent versions of iPhoto and Aperture as well as on Apple tree Tv set, and then you lot can get those pictures you snap easily, exist that for editing or sharing.
Twitter baked in
Yous like Twitter, we like Twitter, information technology seems Apple likes Twitter a lot with the social networking service being baked into the Bone at a core level.
In do it means that everything has a Tweet option allowing you to share it regardless of whether you’ve previously had a Twitter app installed or non. All you have to do is put your Twitter details in via the settings pane and you’re done.
At that place is even a defended new keyboard that includes easy admission to the hash and @ keys for you to share your love of whatever you are trying to tweet. Sadly, there is no auto complete on hashtags, but at that place is on people you follow as shortly every bit you lot first typing afterwards the @ symbol. You are also able to add together your location, should you dare.
Twitter has infiltrated everywhere. Contact details, photo sharing, spider web page sharing, yous name it, it’s there. Welcomed as it is, it doesn’t become as far equally offering yous sharing beyond Twitter. You’ve got all these apps installed, but if you lot want Facebook, y’all even so have to go to Facebook, if yous want Flickr you have to go to Flickr, whereas Android will accumulate your sharing options into the Share list so you tin can have your option.
Equally a upshot, Twitter inclusion is nice, just it’s is simply really a tiny step in making iOS more sociable: you’ll all the same need to movement around a lot of different apps if you want to spread things far and broad.
Safari browsing, tabbed pages, Reader and Reading list
Safari has had a series of updates too. The main one for iPad users is tabbed browsing assuasive y’all to zip through webpages quickly. Information technology works really well and as with most things, should take been in that location from the beginning. iPad users also get gesture swiping which reflects some of the navigation changes that recently came to Bone 10 Lion.
For the iPhone and the iPad you now get private browsing in the browser that you tin can switch on and off via the settings. Marked by a blackness environment rather than a blue 1, it ways your history isn’t captured and stored. It also means that you can ditch the need for a 3rd party browser similar Atomic browser for surfing to places you probably shouldn’t be.
Private browsing or not, a new feature that has come from desktop Safari is Reader. This bit of technology allows you to strip out all the ads and garbage from the page so you can read the text easily on the screen. Thankfully for web publishers, information technology looks like you still have to load the page to start with so they tin yet earn money from advertising, just once yous’ve loaded the page into Reader you tin can so change the font size making information technology bigger and easier to read.
If you oasis’t got time to read it there and then, you can opt to add together it to your reading listing for subsequently. Cleverly this also syncs with Safari on your PC, then you can add a folio to a reading listing to then selection-up on your device afterward, which is really handy. Your bookmarks from your desktop browser volition also sync beyond devices.
iCloud and syncing
iCloud is a new feature that we’ve already looked at in some detail. It ties together your iOS devices and your PC, using your Apple ID. Effectively, it is an umbrella for a range of services, so nosotros’ve already seen here, and some that are new. iCloud can as well exist accessed online for various functions on iCloud.com.
iCloud is controlled via the settings in iOS where you can turn on and off iCloud integration with various areas. Basically it can exist applied to mail, contacts, calendars, reminders, bookmarks, notes, photo stream, documents & information and finally find my telephone (or other device).
There are also iCloud backup options. Previously you’d fill-in your iDevice when connected to your PC via iTunes. Y’all still get that option, but now you lot can backup and restore from iCloud, then you don’t need the PC at all. This backup contains your device options, settings, app information and other bits, and we’ve found from using the restore function that it finer took the phone and put it back the style information technology was, which is very smart and easy to do.
iCloud.com will let you admission various things. It offers you mail, agenda, contacts, iWork and notice my iPhone. Mail works with a @me.com addresses and isn’t a global webmail service, but if you employ, or want to employ, me.com, then you can set that upward across Apple devices. Calendar and contacts is straight syncing from your iPhone/iPad with iCloud, and and so on to iCal and address book in Bone X (10.7.2 required).
It’s nice to know that your contacts are safe in the deject somewhere and that changes you brand on the device volition be reflected in Address Volume and iCal without the demand to sync with wires, but we couldn’t make it work with our existing Google accounts. Equally such, we still accept iCal syncing with Google Calendars, merely that doesn’t and then travel through to iCloud, so information technology isn’t going to be a perfect solution for anybody.
iWork is pretty clever in iCloud, as it volition sync with iOS versions of Pages, Numbers and Keynote, then yous can access documents beyond your iOS devices. Taking this further, iCloud.com volition permit you upload and download these documents then you lot can work on them on your PC. Information technology doesn’t appear to offering integration with iWork Os X applications all the same, merely we’re sure that’s not too far off.
Overall, the syncing side of things is great for those with a simple organisation, simply if y’all’re already hooked into Google, y’all might find it unnecessary, or limiting. Nosotros like the fashion that documents are handled, although at that place is very little to permit y’all organise those docs – information technology isn’t like Dropbox where y’all can establish lots of folders, so will probably only really appeal to those who desire access to mobile docs on an ad hoc basis.
For more than on iCloud, read our feature: Living in iCloud.
iTunes in the Cloud, Wi-Fi syncing
Forming a big part of the iCloud picture show is iTunes in the Cloud. This is role of the puzzle that sees you lot existence able to blackball your cables and motion into that “post-PC” era. Effectively iTunes in the Cloud means that your iOS devices will sync with content that you purchase without you having to practise annihilation. Buy a vocal on your iPhone and information technology will appear in iTunes on your PC and on your iPad. It doesn’t copy your music into iCloud, it just releases it from Apple tree to your device.
What information technology doesn’t do, however, is let yous play your music from the cloud like Android Music does – there is no iCloud.com player for you to access on whatsoever computer. Information technology isn’t really new either – if you lot paid for an app you always could download it on another device without paying once more, but the system is much slicker at present.
An additional service, iTunes Match, will be rolled out in the US at a cost of $24.99 a twelvemonth. This will bargain with music that you didn’t buy from iTunes, for example a CD yous ripped, or something from AmazonMP3. If iTunes can identify the track it will and then let you lot take that across devices from Apple’southward drove again. If it can’t recognise it, it will import your ain file and brand information technology available elsewhere. User in the UK won’t have the service, although it is estimated to go far in 2012.
Choosing an app via iTunes on the desktop and it besides appearing on your iPhone at the same time is great. It’s something that Android users have had for a while through the Android Market website, although that also lets y’all choose which device to send the app to so you lot tin practice it from any computer with an Internet browser. In some ways, delivering apps to iTunes on your computer at present feels unnecessary.
We’ve put these together with Wi-Fi syncing because for many the two volition get hand-in-hand. Whilst you can now setup your iOS device without the need for a physical connexion to your PC, that isn’t the end of the story. If y’all want to sync via cable you still can and y’all’ll need to connect to iTunes on your PC to permit it know that you want to sync via Wi-Fi.
In the past you’d have to leave the device connected, now you tin can check the “Sync with this iPhone over Wi-Fi” box and that’south all yous need to exercise. Thereafter iTunes volition know about your device and y’all can sync it when both are continued to the same Wi-Fi network all things beingness well.
Within iTunes y’all even so become the normal run of options, so y’all can control what is synced and we similar the fact you tin toggle syncing from either stop by pressing the sync button on your device or in iTunes. Automated syncing is likewise available, triggered when the device is charging, and continued to the same network as your PC.
It all sounds great, only we’ve found it can be a chip hit and miss. Sometimes syncing happens and you barely fifty-fifty find. Sometimes yous’ll find iTunes and iPhone refuse to talk to each other over Wi-Fi, sometimes you’ll detect that one says it is syncing and the other doesn’t. Often we’ll get the message that syncing will take place when our MacBook is ready, just with no determinable reason for it not being available.
Newsstand is what iBooks is for magazines and newspapers allowing y’all to manage your subscriptions. This will exist one that appeals more than to iPad owners than iPhone owners nosotros’re sure, but it is another avenue to content for you to consume.
Reminders is substantially a to do list. The nice affair well-nigh them is that y’all can not only set up yourself a job, but you tin prepare a time frame and a location. So if you demand to remember to practise something whilst out, for case on your way home from a meeting, you lot can set information technology to remind you when you leave that accost. Unfortunately the locations seem rather limited. You can select a current location or an address in your Contacts only that’due south it. That’s fine is you accept your local dry cleaner in there so you tin can remember to pick upwards your laundered suit, but otherwise it doesn’t quite hit the marking.
We’ve looked at number of new features at add together to the iOS feel. Of course some things oasis’t really inverse. The arrangement still looks and behaves in much the same way equally it has done from the nascency of the iPhone. The grid of icons remains unchanged and the world of widgets and home screens isn’t hither. Sure, you can alter the lockscreen picture or the wallpaper, you lot tin can make folders of apps and change the icons, simply there isn’t the range of options that Android offers you, or the live tile excitement of Windows Telephone vii.
The App Store continues to offer the all-time selection of app around and even though the Android Marketplace offers a substantial choice, it’due south clear that developers push a lot of app innovation towards iOS offset. You lot can find some of the all-time apps sitting prepare for iOS and the stability is a step alee of Android. Much as we love Google’s mobile Bone, it does throw upwards more faults for united states in daily utilise than iOS does.
There is also a consistency in iOS that isn’t matched in other mobile platforms. Although things like BlackBerry OS and Android offer you more controls and more settings, they can exist a picayune disparate. By comparison, having all your “location services” settings for apps in 1 place and having app options all arranged together tin can make control of everything easy to find. Information technology might make apps experience a little inflexible at times but you can’t complain nigh being consistent.
There are some areas that could be improved, but iOS five does bring in some bang-up enhancements for Apple tree users.