Apple has unveiled the latest version of its mobile operating system, which does away with the need for a computer, has an updated notification menu, a new instant messaging app and a physical shutter button for the camera on an iPhone.
Apple's Scott Forstall took to the stage as the Worldwide Developer’s Conference this evening to talk us through a pretty major update of iOS. While it may have been the last of the ten features Forstall spoke about, it is one of the highlights of the upgrade. iOS 5 will be PC Free, meaning you will no longer need to hook up your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch to get them working in the first place, to sync your devices or indeed get software updates. If you are worried about the software updates killing your data allowance, updates will be of the Delta variety meaning you’ll only download what is new.
iMessage and Notification Centre
Next up is something called iMessage, which looks suspiciously like BlackBerry Messenger (BBM). A messaging service exclusively for iOS devices, which comes with delivery and read receipts, an indicator for when the other party is typing, and the ability to push messages to all your devices and works over WiFi or 3G. Next is a feature everyone has been hoping would be upgraded in iOS, namely an updated notification system. The new system looks a lot like the Android version with users pulling down a bar at the top of the screen to see all notifications in one place. You can get rid of each notification individually but there didn’t seem to be a clear all button like Android but maybe it wasn’t shown in the demonstration. Notifications will also be viewable in the lock screen and swiping across them will bring users straight to the message or update.
Camera App and Twitter
The camera app has also been given a big overhaul in iOS 5 with the "volume up" button on the iPhone now able to acting as a physical shutter button. You can also access the camera app directly from a re-designed lock screen so you don’t miss any crucial snaps. You will be able to edit photos directly from within the app as well as zooming in and out of images. Deeper Twitter integration is something which was widely expected in iOS 5 and we got it. A single sign-in in the settings menu will allow a range of apps to access (or not) your Twitter information. You will also be able to tweet directly from the camera, Safari and photo apps.
Newsstand, Safari Reader, Reminders And iCloud
Among the other new features are Newsstand, which collates all newspapers and magazines in one place; Safari Reader which lets you view all the text from a website without the ads or pictures; Reminders which is an updated notes app with a very nice location feature and a little something called iCloud which will come already set up on new iOS 5 devices.
iOS 5 will ship in the autumn to the following devices: iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4, iPad 1 and 2, and iPod touch 3rd and 4th generation. Let us know your first impressions in the comments people.