Issue: 10.1 (November/December 2011)
Author: Dave Mancuso
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Article Length (in bytes): 3,995
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RBD Number: 10003
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IN BRIEF Product iOS 5 Manufacturer Apple, Inc. Price fFree with new iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch purchases; free upgrade for current iOS device owners (3GS or better) Contact Info http://www.apple.com/iOS/ Pros Notifications, Reminders, setting calendar colors, other new features are very welcome Cons Notifications and Reminders, although a leap forward, need continued development to be more fluid and usable Rating (1.0-5.0): 4.6
iOS 5 was highly anticipated by some, but others had a "ho-hum" reaction. The upgrade became available in October and spread fairly quickly among the iOS user base. It seems that users who don't use iPhone extensively see subtle but not significant improvements, while power users see significant gains in features. Regardless, everyone seems to notice and vastly appreciate the new Notification Center.
I noticed within a few hours of upgrading to iOS 5 that Apple has, as usual, done some subtle tweaking to visual and functional elements. Some things look somehow different, even if you can't quite identify them. In addition, I noticed that voice feedback seemed slightly different as well. Pronunciation and diction seems to have changed a little bit.
Other than that, iOS 5 features include things that users will appreciate differently depending on their use of iOS. Apple has added Twitter functionality to iOS, but I've fallen shamefully out of practice with Twitter, so this feature has little meaning (at present) for me. Reminders were something I didn't think I'd use, but they've proven to be useful. Location-based reminders have become very useful as well, and its' great to see app developers include this kind of functionality in their own apps (e.g., location-based reminders in the Omni Groups' OmniFocus).
Tabs in Safari are very welcome (in an "it's about time" kind of way). Tabs felt so natural in iOS 5 (likely from desktop browser clients) that it took me a while before I remembered that this was a new mobile Safari feature.
It was also nice to note that the Camera application opens much more quickly and offers a quick way to get to the Camera from the iPhone lock screen. A very welcome feature for users rushing to get a perfect shot before it's gone.
The PC-free movement for iOS 5 is welcome, although it does seem confusing for someone who actually syncs with a cable. Between wired sync, wireless sync, and iCloud use, users could become very confused about where their information is. It does require the user to trust that iOS 5 has everything in hand. Power Users will likely want to explore how all these processes interact so they can ensure that their information is truly backed up and synchronized to their needs. iCloud use is something to explore as well, although out of the scope of this review.
Frankly, some of the minor iOS tweaks were some of the most welcome for me. In the Calendar app, I was overjoyed to find that I could now alter the color code of each calendar without the annoying workarounds of the past. A small thing, but something that seemed silly not to include before. If only I can reorder my mail account listings in the Mail app...
Since iOS is a free upgrade, you'll need to try it out yourself. I see no reason to hold back, and the more you experiment, the more you'll find to like about this new upgrade from Apple.
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