Now that the iPhone has been put to rest, get excited for iOS 5

Oct 5, 2011
Tech

Finally, it’s over: the iPhone 4S is upon us. We call all stop reading crazy things for the rest of the week, until (more) rumors start to leak out (again) about the iPhone 5. Meanwhile, along with the release of Apple’s amped up iPhone 4S, there was another big announcement made during this week’s keynote […]

Finally, it’s over: the iPhone 4S is upon us. We call all stop reading crazy things for the rest of the week, until (more) rumors start to leak out (again) about the iPhone 5.

Meanwhile, along with the release of Apple’s amped up iPhone 4S, there was another big announcement made during this week’s keynote in Cupertino: iOS 5, the next iteration of Apple’s mobile operating system, will be available to all device owners on Oct. 12.

Apple spent a big chunk of its iPhone keynote talking about iOS 5’s features, and it was all old news. We first heard about the new OS back in June at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference, and ever since then, developers have been allowed access to beta versions of the operating system for testing and creating apps. With a huge list of new, interesting features, most iPhone owners won’t necessarily need a new phone before the iPhone 5 in order to enjoy the feeling of having a new phone, thanks to iOS 5.

To the cloud!

The biggest rollout on Oct. 12 will be iCloud, Apple’s cloud-based saving service that will be available to all users. Much of iCloud’s benefits will be going on in the background: you won’t need to plug your device in to sync it anymore, you can download further iOS updates over the air, and you’ll be able to re-download music and apps you’ve already purchased as many times as you like. Content like music and apps you purchase, plus photos and documents you create, will be available on all your Apple devices, because they’ll be saved in the cloud.

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There’s also Apple’s iTunes Match service, which will allow users who pay a monthly subscription fee to be able to use iTunes in a manner similar to other cloud music services on the market, such as the ones provided by Google and Amazon. With iTunes Match, iTunes scans your music library and then lets you download and play those tracks on any other iTunes-compatible or Apple device. Tracks iTunes can’t match get stored in the cloud for you, which basically pulls your entire music collection up for a $24.99 annual fee, and makes it available to you anywhere you, so long as you can connect to the Internet.

Tweeting happy and staying notified

Users will see Twitter integrated deeply into everything in iOS 5, which, for users of the service, means lots of abilities to share what you’re doing quickly and easily. Functions like posting photos to the service, sending status updates or location information and even sharing web pages you’re reading will be just shy of instantaneous. If you’re a fan of Twitter, iOS 5 is going to do some great things for you; if you’re not a fan of Twitter, you might want to become one.

And there are a hundred other cool, if somewhat smaller, improvements to the iOS experience that will be available with the new update. New notifications will be integrated into your lock screen and home screen, replacing the obtrusive push notifications. The new iMessage service will allow iOS users to send instant messages to one another or to PCs, which will largely make text messaging obsolete (and may allow some people to cut texting from their cellular plans). Basic functions like email have been improved, the way the camera functions (like the ability to take shots from the lock screen) is better, and in general, Apple is releasing a lot of apps that will do a lot of cool, new things – like Cards, an app that turns your photos into post cards and sends them through the mail for a small fee.

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Come Oct. 12, most iPhone owners might not be lining up at their Apple stores to grab an iPhone 4S – those are geared toward capturing new users – but they will still feel almost like they’re getting a new device thanks to all the improvements Apple is rolling out. The really exciting thing that’s coming from Apple this October is software; hopefully that’ll keep us all satisfied until the iPhone 5 finally gets released.

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Phil Hornshaw

Phil Hornshaw is a freelance writer, editor and author living in Los Angeles, dividing his time between playing video games, playing video games on his cell phone, and writing about playing video games. He’s also the co-author of So You Created a Wormhole: The Time Traveler’s Guide to Time Travel, which attempts to mix time travel pop culture with some semblance of science, as well as tips on the appropriate means of riding dinosaurs. Check out his profile.

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