Apple has previewed iOS 5, the latest version of the world’s most advanced mobile operating system, and released a beta version to iOS Developer Program members.
The iOS 5 beta release includes over 200 new features that will be available to iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users this fall.
“iOS 5 has some great new features, such as Notification Center, iMessage and Newsstand, and we can’t wait to see what our developers do with its 1 500 new APIs,” says Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO.
“Perhaps iOS 5’s paramount feature is that it’s built to seamlessly work with iCloud in the Post PC revolution that Apple is leading.”
With iOS 5 and iCloud, users just enter their Apple ID and password and iCloud will seamlessly integrate with their apps to automatically and wirelessly keep all mail, contacts, calendars, photos, apps, books and music up-to-date across all devices, without ever having to connect to a computer.
Notification Center provides iOS 5 users with an innovative way to easily access all notifications – text messages, missed calls, calendar alerts and app alerts, all in one place, from anywhere in iOS 5.
When they arrive, notifications appear briefly at the top of the screen without interrupting what users are doing. With one swipe, they can see all their notifications, and a simple tap will take user right to its app for more detail. Notifications also appear on the lock screen, with the ability to be taken to the notifying app with just one swipe.
Newsstand is a beautiful, easy-to-organise bookshelf displaying the covers of all newspaper and magazine subscriptions in one place. A new section of the App Store features just subscription titles, and allows users to quickly find the most popular newspapers and magazines in the world.
If subscribed to, new issues appear in the Newsstand and are updated automatically in the background, so users always have the latest issue and the most recent cover art.
Safari is a popular mobile browser, and with iOS 5 it is even better.
New features include Safari Reader, which gets all the clutter out of the way and sets the right font size on a Web page, so users can easily scroll and read through a story; Reading List, so users can save articles to read later and they automatically show up on all iOS devices; and Tabbed Browsing, which makes it easy to flip between multiple Web pages on iPad.
iOS 5 includes built-in Twitter integration, so users can sign in once and then tweet directly from all Twitter-enabled apps, including Photos, Camera, Safari, YouTube and Maps with a single tap. New APIs give third party developers the ability to take advantage of the single sign-on capability for their own iOS 5 apps.
iMessage in iOS 5 brings the functionality of iPhone messaging to all iOS devices – iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Built right into the Messages app, iMessage allows users to easily send text messages, photos, videos or contact information to a person or a group on other iOS 5 devices, over WiFi or 3G.
iMessages are automatically pushed to all iOS 5 devices, making it easy to maintain one conversation across the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. iMessage also features delivery and read receipts, typing indication and secure end-to-end encryption.
The new Reminders app helps users manage their tasks, create and group related tasks together and set time or location-based reminder alerts, priorities and due dates, so they can be reminded of a task as its deadline approaches, or when they arrive or depart a given location. Reminders can also be viewed in iCal and Outlook and are updated automatically.
New features in the Camera and Photos apps give users instant access to the camera right from the lock screen, and they can use the volume-up button to quickly snap a photo.
Optional grid lines help line up shots, and a simple tap locks focus and exposure on one subject. The new Photos app lets users crop, rotate, enhance and remove red-eye, and organise photos into albums right on a device to share them on the go.
With the new PC Free feature, iOS 5 users can activate and set up their iOS device right out of the box with no computer required, and iOS software updates are delivered over the air and installed with just a tap.
WiFi Sync in iOS 5 transfers and backs up content securely over SSL, and wirelessly syncs purchased content from user devices to the iTunes library.
Additional features in iOS 5 include:
* Game Center, now with the ability to add photos to a profile, purchase new games from within the Game Center app and easier ways to find friends and new games.
* Mail enhancements which include the ability to compose messages using draggable addresses, and a new formatting bar with bold, italics, underline and indention controls.
* AirPlay Mirroring to wirelessly display everything users do on the iPad 2 right on an HDTV through Apple TV.
* A system-wide split keyboard to make it even easier to type on the iPad.