iOS 5 launches today, ahead of the the iPhone 4S launch on October 14th. You can download iOS 5 through iTunes 10.5. Let us take you through the key features…
iTunes 10.5 is the biggest update of iTunes yet. The most important change is how iTunes can now store your files remotely in the cloud. This means that all your music and movies are backed up outside of your PC, Mac or iPhone but it also means that any purchases will automatically be synced to your other devices which use iTunes.
The update also means that you won’t need to connect your iPod, iPhone or iPad to a computer to transfer music and movies. All you need is a wi-fi connection and you can sync at speed with no cable based hassles.
Apple has launched this service in the US and a UK release is pending. For $24.99 per year, iTunes Match will automatically replace all your music files with high quality versions, direct from the record labels. If you play your music through AirPlay devices and docks or use high quality headphones, you’ll notice the difference. In the past, Apple have offered lower quality downloads by default so that files would be easier to store on Apple devices. With cloud storage and a 64 GB memory option available for iPhone 4S, this is now less of an issue.
Swipe down on your iPhone screen and you’ll see all the notifications that you need to know about. You can head directly to apps that have alerts and see calendar and weather updates – it’s all the important stuff at a glance.
Weather and Calendar
You’ll now get hourly weather info in response to extensive rival apps and notice slight tweaks to the calendar system.
Similar to the BBM service on BlackBerry, iMessage allows you to send text message, photos, videos and files to other iMessage users for free. Crucially, this is a great advantage to anyone on a limited data plan contract and brings the iPod Touch into the Apple communications eco-system. If you’ve got an iPod Touch, you can chat for free – a warning shot to BlackBerry manufacturer RIM.
A simple App which allows you to tick off to-do lists. There’s many similar apps available in the App store but the Reminders app uses your location to link to your tasks. If you’ve set a reminder to clean the house for example, it will tell you when you arrive. If you own a iPhone 4S, you’ll be able to use Apple’s voice-controlled assistant Siri to set reminders and update tasks.
If you read magazines or newspapers on iPad, you no longer need individual apps for each subscription. Newsstand is essentially an iTunes for magazines and papers – like iBooks. You’ll now get alerts when new issues arrive through this service. It’s simple and makes it easier to browse and buy publications.
If you use the Twitter app, iOS 5 pulls in your friends’ Twitter ID into Contacts, much like Facebook. The clever bit is the new ability to Tweet from within Photos, Safari and more, meaning that the iPhone remains the Twitter phone of choice for social media fans.
The iPhone has always been slower than rivals to take snaps. iOS 5 turns the volume buttons into a shutter button, so you don’t have to awkwardly reach for the on-screen button. You can also use the camera straight from the lock screen.