Apple iOS 5 - Features of Apple's New Software Update

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Apple's newest software update has just been released and so far some of the new features I have been exploring are great. Some of the new apps are highly useful and the integration among apps is better than ever. There are a few cosmetic tweaks that give the device a fresh new look. Apps like Newsstand and Reminders give me the further organization and usefulness that I find necessary. Twitter is also now integrated into the iOS and the ease of use is great. Below I will discuss some of the new features in greater detail with instructions on their use.

Notification Center

The Notification Center is a great way to find all your alerts in one place. From your home screen, just swipe down to enter the Notification Center. With a swipe I instantly have local weather, my calendar for today and tomorrow, and a stock ticker. Notifications such as new mail, messages, tweets, and reminders will appear here. This feature makes use of the Apple device much more efficient with fewer screens to access.

To change settings for your Notification Center, enter settings and select notifications. Each app can be turned on or off and settings can be customized for number of items to show alert style, icon view, and whether viewing in lock screen is allowed.

iMessage

The new iMessage allows free messaging between all iOS 5 users. Text, photo, video, and location can be sent to other users. This is a great new feature so I don't have to track my text messages as closely. I can also see when someone is typing by three elipses. Another example of precision integration is that I can start a test on my iphone and finish it on my ipad.

Reminders

Reminders is an amazing new app to help keep track of your to do list. I can create a list of items I need to act on and receive a reminder at either a time or a location. From the reminders app, I can create a new item by selecting the + icon. I type in whatever text I need to and can then select a time for the reminder notification, or location. An example would be in creating a reminder to make a phone call. I can type in the name of the person I wish to call and select a notification based on my current location or a future location. I can receive a notification when I either leave my current location, or arrive at a destination independent of time.

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Twitter Integration

Twitter can now be utilized from many of iOS 5 apps. Under settings, a one time Twitter sign in is required. Tweets can then be directly sent from Photos, Camera, and Maps to name a few. In Maps, a location can be selected and by clicking on the Share Location button, the user can select Tweet to post the location to Twitter. Similar functionality is available in other apps. This makes for seamless tweeting and users don't have to switch between apps.

Camera

One of my favorite new features is the ability to take a picture from the lock screen. In the same way one can control music playback from the lock screen, the user double clicks the home button. A small camera icon will appear in the bottom right corner. Upon selecting the button, the camera will appear and the user can take an immediate picture using the volume up button. No more missing your shot because there was too much time involved in unlocking your phone and selecting the camera app.

iCloud

The new iCloud is free with 5 GB of storage and allows all your devices to synchronize wirelessly. Now access your music and photos from any apple device running iOS 5. All contacts and calendars are kept up to date across all your devices. Setup is easy and turning on iCloud from your device is easy. Simply select iCloud under settings and turn on/off all apps that can wirelessly sync.

Calendar

The Calendar app has a great new feature: year view on the iPad and week view on the iPhone or iPod. Calendar modifications seem easier as well with the ability to drag events to other times and sharing your calendar through iCloud.

Summary

In general, I think the updates to Apple's mobile operating system are great. The functionality is better and there is improved ease of use. The biggest noticeable difference is the decreased need to navigate to several apps in order to accomplish a single task. With so many apps integrated with iOS 5, tasks can be much more easily accomplished on the go. I look forward to other apps adopting the iOS 5 features. Apple really does make a great product and the improvements here are exciting. I will update this Hub as I discover more unique new changes.

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