Apple SVP of iOS Scott Forstall just made Apple’s iOS 5 official, and it’s a serious update. Over 200 new features and 1,500 new APIs, but that’s not the most exciting part. We’re talking about redone notifications with Notification Center, a place to combine all notifications; Newsstand, which will automatically download the latest issues of your favorite subscription newspaper and magazines; deep Twitter integration including a system-level sign-on, Tweeting from Photos app and Safari, Twitter contact syncing; and even tabbed-browsing in Safari (finally!). Hit the break for more.
Just demoed was a new app called Reminders which, from what it sounds like, will issue reminders based on time and date. You can also set up a geo-fence to have the app remind you when you get back to a certain location, like walking the dog when you get home. We need that. There’s also a lock screen camera shortcut added — boom! Also, thankfully, you can finally use the volume up button as the shutter button, and Apple added an auto-focus and exposure lock, grid lines in the camera app, and editing features like crop and rotate, red eye reduction, etc.
Oh wow… there is now flagging support in email (hyperventilating), rich text support, and even S/MIME support for enterprise customers. There’s a split iPad keyboard for people who like to thumb-type… it lets you place half the keyboard on the left side of the screen and the other half on the right, with an open space in the middle to see the app you’re in.
There is no longer a requirement for a PC to use an iOS device — iCloud, it is. Software updates are over the air, and even the initial device setup is done without the need for a PC. And uh oh, it’s a pretty miserable day in Waterloo. We’ve been told one of RIM’s biggest fears is Apple launching a BlackBerry Messanger competitor, and the company are doing just that with iMessage. The service includes messages, photos, group chat, 3G and Wi-Fi support — and even compatibility with all iOS 5 devices — you can even pick up your conversation where you left off when moving from one device to another.
Seriously, we couldn’t make this up… almost every gripe with iOS is being addressed in a major way. Developers get iOS 5 today, customers in the Fall (obviously to time up with a new iPhone). Here’s Apple’s press release:
New Version of iOS Includes Notification Center, iMessage, Newsstand, Twitter Integration Among 200 New Features
Available to iPhone, iPad & iPod touch Users This Fall
SAN FRANCISCO―June 6, 2011―Apple® today 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. New iOS 5 features include: Notification Center, an innovative way to easily view and manage notifications in one place without interruption; iMessage, a new messaging service that lets you easily send text messages, photos and videos between all iOS devices; and Newsstand, a new way to purchase and organize your newspaper and magazine subscriptions. With the new PC Free feature, iOS 5 users can activate and set up their iOS device right out of the box and get software updates over the air with no computer required.
“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,” said 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®, you just enter your Apple ID and password and iCloud will seamlessly integrate with your apps to automatically and wirelessly keep all of your mail, contacts, calendars, photos, apps, books, music and more, up-to-date across all your 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, app alerts and more, all in one place, from anywhere in iOS 5. When they arrive, notifications appear briefly at the top of the screen without interrupting what you’re doing. With one swipe you can see all your notifications, and a simple tap will take you 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-organize bookshelf displaying the covers of all your 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 you always have the latest issue and the most recent cover art.
Safari is the world’s most popular mobile browser, and with iOS 5 it’s now 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 you can easily scroll and read through a story; Reading List, so you can save articles to read later and they automatically show up on all your 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 you can sign in once and then tweet directly from all your 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 of your iOS devices―iPhone, iPad and iPod touch. Built right into the Messages app, iMessage allows you to easily send text messages, photos, videos or contact information to a person or a group on other iOS 5 devices over Wi-Fi or 3G. iMessages are automatically pushed to all your iOS 5 devices, making it easy to maintain one conversation across your 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 you manage your tasks; create and group related tasks together; and set time or location-based reminder alerts, priorities and due dates, so you can be reminded of a task as its deadline approaches, or when you 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 you instant access to the camera right from the lock screen, and you can use the volume-up button to quickly snap a photo. Optional grid lines help line up your shot and a simple tap locks focus and exposure on one subject. The new Photos app lets you crop, rotate, enhance and remove red-eye, and organize your photos into albums right on your 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. Wi-Fi Sync in iOS 5 transfers and backs up your content securely over SSL and wirelessly syncs purchased content from your device to your iTunes® library.
Additional new features in iOS 5 include:
- Game Center, now with the ability to add photos to your 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 you do on your iPad 2 right on your HDTV through Apple TV®; and
- a system-wide split keyboard to make it even easier to type on your iPad.
The iOS 5 beta software and SDK are available immediately for iOS Developer Program members atdeveloper.apple.com. iOS 5 will be available as a free software update for iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2, iPad, iPod touch (fourth generation) and iPod touch (third generation) this fall. Some features may not be available on all products.