back to article Apple uncloaks top 10 tools of iOS 5

Apple has taken the wraps off iOS 5, touting a set of new features that range from the interesting, such Twitter integration and an entirely new messaging infrastructure, to the "What took you so long?", such as using your device's camera from the lock screen and tabbed browsing in Safari. The operating system is due for arrival …


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  1. json

    Agree post-PC and soon post iOS as well.. fearless forecast is HTML5 will render the underlying OS as irrelevant.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      .. owe me a new keyboard!

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. Electric Panda


    With regards to the new notification system, it appears to be getting very close to Android in terms of its look and usage paradigm. On Android, you also drag down from the top of the screen (on stock Android at least, not so much on things like HTC Sense) and touch the relevant notification, although not swipe, to jump to the app and deal with it. But I suppose that Apple have just invented notifications for the first time and everybody is here to rally round and usher in the revolution :)

    Also, using Twitter for deep integration shows catch-up if you ask me. WP7 has got the all-pervasive Facebook angle covered with Android not too far behind, so that kind of puts Apple out of the running. More people use Facebook than Twitter by a longshot so whether or not this converts folk to Twitter remains to be seen.

    'Meh', because that's what it is. That, and the Steve Jobs icons are gone.

    1. Mr Brush

      Thought that too

      Apple have blatantly lifted ideas from Android here. If the boot was on the other foot there'd be swarms of legal parasites gathering and herds of braying fanboys calling for blood.

      It seems the Android is open enough when you want to steal the ideas.

    2. Piro Silver badge

      HTC Sense is the same

      No changes with the notification system, so far in the way you access it.

    3. RegisterThis
      Thumb Up

      Looking over their shoulder for the first-time ...

      Am in right in thinking that this is the first release where Apple has *really* majored on features that are not just related to supportings its media platform eco-system and related to extracting more money? A bit of concern that that Android (and even WP7 - gasp) had closed the gap and were actually slipping ahead? Good on them from a consumer perspective. Empires never last forever and arrogance is usually their downfall.

  3. Pete Burgess

    Was it just me?

    Or did Steve Jobs seem incredibly thin, and seem to be struggling a little to walk? His speech seemed to wobble a little too I think. He seemed really ill....

    1. amanfromearth

      Sadly I agree

      I wish it were not so, but he certainly looked very stiff when walking

  4. Anonymous Coward

    8. PC Free long f*ing last.

    Slap in some icloud action to cover the photo sync and I'll only have to plug in my iphone/ipad to itunes once a year.

    only snag much will 90Gb cost on icloud?

  5. Greg J Preece

    "We're living in a post-PC world"

    See, it's when people say stuff like that, that I have trouble taking anything else they say seriously. For all the shiny gadgets you can sell to people, offices are still packed with PCs, as are homes. They're still needed for a lot of computing tasks - for example, activating a tablet that can only be managed via a bloated piece of media software...

    1. Jason Hall


      Me too. But then I'm not too shortsighted to see that he has a point also.

      Imagine the average 'grandparent'. The sort of person all the nerds on this site talk down about. You know the ones - the ones who click on buttons just because the button says so.

      The ones that shouldn't be allowed anywhere near an admin account on any computer anywhere.

      Now give them a tablet/iphone and some sort of time machine server thingy sat in a corner. And they will be able to take photos *and have them backed-up*. They will be able to browse the internets and send/receive email in relative safety.


    2. Pete Burgess

      @Greg J Preece

      "They're still needed for a lot of computing tasks - for example, activating a tablet that can only be managed via a bloated piece of media software..."

      You must have dozed off during the PC Free section...!

      1. Greg J Preece

        Oh sorry

        I forgot the upcoming model that isn't yet available, and was referring only to the previous 5 (is it 5?) generations of iPhone and 2 iPads.

        Can you access the disk on the tablet yet to move files on and off, say via BT, wireless, or a memory card, or do you still have to go through iTunes - on a PC?

    3. Steve the Cynic

      Stuff the tablets...

      I bought a **PHONE** ffs, and I couldn't use it as a phone until I had connected it to It-unes and done some tedious activatey thing. WTF? It's a phone, not a lifestyle accessory!

      OK, well, it's an iPhone, so it's a lifestyle accessory that might be persuaded to be a phone, apparently. More fool me for thinking it's a phone just because it has "phone" in the name...

      1. Rosco

        Hey grandad

        People who say stuff like this sound like old timers who sadly shake their head at the idea of a computer being used to communicate and show pictures. "It's a computer, it should be for computing things! Why must they insist on making it do other things?"

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Greg J Preece

          Don't be ridiculous

          How does acknowledging that traditional computers still have a strong role completely remove all other devices from the equation? I carry tons of gadgets, but I still need my PCs, and not just for work either.

          Your nan might be able to get away with just a tablet if all she does is check her lottery numbers online, and that's fine, but try replacing all PCs with tablets rather than augmenting them, and you might run into a few...missing features. Like being able to put bold characters in your e-mails, for example*. Calling that a "post-PC" world is just daft, especially at an event where you launch your latest PC operating system.

          Wait a minute - Rosco? Not Scottish by any chance, are you?

          *When I saw that listed as one of the new features after reading their blurb on "the world's most advanced operating system", I nearly wet myself laughing.

          1. Rosco

            @ Greg

            Not sure if you're addressing me with your whole post there, Greg. My post was in reply to Steve the Cynic who rambles about how he bought an iPhone and expected it to be just a phone.

            I actually agree with you about how we're not yet at the point where we can do away with our PCs. In the hype-storm preceding the first iPad I was starting to get excited about how it might be able to replace my ageing desktop. Then it came out and it had no USB slots, tiny storage etc

            I do have scottish blood but alas my real name isn't Rosco, just plain Ross.

            1. Steve the Cynic


              No, I don't expect it to be *JUST* a phone. But I do expect that when I buy something that *is* a phone (and other things) I can use it as a phone without having to go through a bunch of "other thing" nonsense first. I didn't have to register my Samsung Omnia with either Samsung or Microsoft before I could make calls with it.

              Let's face it, if I wanted "just a phone", I wouldn't have bought an iPhone. I just objected to the idea of *having* to install iTunes in order to use the phone part of something that claims to be a phone. (Or, alternatively, of having to pay someone at the Orange shop in Lille to connect it for me.)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thumb keyboard....

    Didn't I see that in the Windows 8 video the other day?

    I suppose it's new to iOS, but it's more of a tweak than an original feature. Thumbs up to Apple for adding features and (for once) supporting existing customers.

  7. Tony Paulazzo
    Big Brother

    Safari has been given a facelift in iOS 5

    >Safari has been given a facelift in iOS 5<

    A year old mac feature, ripped off app instapaper and (visible) tabs constitutes a facelift like taking paracetomal proves you're a junkie, jeez!

    Where's full screen mode, changing text size, the ability to choose your own browser (cause they sell alternative browsers in their app store), adblocker, Flash integration, download ability...

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Great for newbies, but . . .

    . . . for those of us that have accounts, 20GB iDisks (new space only 5GB) and still have perfectly good G4/G5's which have been and are far better workhorses that the new machines, this may be the end for us. So until things are cleared up, which is an Apple hallmark of leaving the details out, be afraid. Very afraid.

    1. johnnymotel
      Thumb Up

      buy more space

      more space can be bought from Apple. So I guess my 25GB of space (of which I use only 15) will probably cost me an extra $20?? That's a lot less than $99 for my last renewal. Personally, I am all for this iCloud, I don't make heavy use of Mobile Me, just Mail, shared documents and iWeb, plus some storage for my customers.

  9. Craig Mulvaney


    I am a fanboy - this looks great!

  10. uhuznaa
    Thumb Up


    As usual some people complain about long overdue shortcomings finally being fixed. I'm pretty sure though that most users will just enjoy this. The new notifications look totally fine to me, wireless syncing and iTunes more or less being replaced by the iCloud (and mostly for free) looks at least as good as anything that Google offers (especially with developer API's and a free key/value storage in the cloud for all devices with no need to convince users to open another and another third-party account somewhere), iOS 5 will come for free to all devices from the 3GS on... Lots of useful small improvements, too.

    Maybe nothing revolutionary, but surely just everything one could cautiously expect, including iOS devices finally being able to stand on their own feet now.

    And Apple now going full-steam cloud-wise is a good thing even for Android. Google was getting a bit complacent lately. Especially the Google Docs app being nothing but a painfully thin wrapper around the webapp was more than disappointing. With iWork now native on all Apple devices and automatically syncing across all of them there's hope now that Google stops just sitting on its laurels and putting some halfway decent office app on top of Google Docs (the lack of which I never understood -- Google has everything to blow MS Office out of the water for most users, but they just don't try).

    1. StooMonster

      iWork missing piece

      The last missing piece of iWork is the Windows version, wonder if we're going to see that -- or Wayne an HTML5 web-based version -- alongside the launch of iCloud.

  11. Kristian Walsh Silver badge

    Incremental update, good work..

    Hardly deserves a full version bump, though? I suppose the "cloud" integration is the big ticket. I love the way after a couple of decades of freedom with communications, we're now locking ourselves back into systems that only work well in urban areas.

    My only quibble would be with "iMessage". NIH is obviously alive and well. I'm sure the masses of iPhone owners will flock to a system that only a small fraction of their friends can use. Just like they did to FaceTime (oh, right...)

    And it's nice to see the SECOND-best camera on the market get a shutter button. Now, any chance they'd let users turn off that unreal colour processing? That would be a major improvement - the iPhone's camera is pretty good, but that always-on processing stops it being a serious photographic tool.

    1. chr0m4t1c


      You think the iPhone is the second best *camera* on the market? I can think of a great many better cameras from Canon and Nikon (to name two manufacturers) that are a lot better.

      A camera phone is no better at being a serious photographic tool than my mum's Micra is at being a racing car. Sure, if you put it in the right hands you'll get some decent and even surprising results from time to time, but in no way is it a serious tool.

  12. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Apple to buy Twitter?

    Would seem almost logical from integrating the service so deeply into the OS and presumably providing the necessary data snooping services twats want - share pics and thick URLs. Maintain the web site and shutdown third party clients as part of a two-tier system which will make money buy selling hardware - twats who want to tweet from their phone will have to buy an Apple phone.

    1. Jolyon


      Was my first thought.

      Otherwise it seems like an odd move with Twitter being less used than other social media (although perhaps there's a strong Twitter / iOS correlation).

      What are the potential benefits for Apple in buying or strongly linking themselves to Twitter? More ways to push the networks into the background?

      1. Charlie Clark Silver badge


        I think the benefit would be getting a service the fanbois like to use already rather than having to build it and convince them to switch. Then aggregate and mine the personal information people are only too happy to provide for all its worth - the fanboi social graph can probably be turned straight into sales opportunities.. Apple has the cash to buy Twitter straight from the VCs but might want to wait until it becomes clear that an IPO is never going to happen. Wouldn't surprise me if equity hasn't already been obtained to avoid a potentially expensive bidding war. Faecesbook frozen out for obvious reasons - more difficult to own the data exclusively and probably too expensive to be worth it.

  13. paul 97


    Another version not compatible with all Apple devices (iPhone 2G , iPhone 3G and early touches) - fragmentation , fragmentation , fragmentation.

    No , its not a major problem. Just like androids different versions are only a minor issue.

    1. mrh2


      Actually it's just obsolescence, the original iPhone and the 3G ran like pigs aftter one of the more recent iOS updates. Not forcing this update on them is an act of mercy,

      Not quite the same as having handsets shipping with differing versions and being left out of updates until cellcos add their crud.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Down

      Troll or Numbnut

      As you will be well aware, Apple support devices that are 2yo+, instantly... Yes amazing, you try getting many Android devices to update via the manufacturers/carriers a year after purchase. Of course you could root your device, and go to some website somewhere, where you don't know the originator of the file, and how stable it is, and connect it to your PC to update it (what? you mean when it is an android it is not a problem to have to do connected upgrades, but it s stupid that fanbois have to do it).

      Oh and don't forget that Google is now locking you out of the ability to upgrade your device with latest versions even via the mod route, well for now anyway.

  14. Tim Walker


    One big question which springs to mind, and which I probably know the answer to before it reaches the keyboard: will the iMessage system be open to non-Apple devices?

    If (in all probability) it's a "niet": I think I'll stick with WhatsApp. Time will tell, though...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      It will probably work like facetime...

      All other phones with a front facing camera can do video calls with each other. With an iPhone, you need another iPhone to video call.

      Probably means that they wont be able to send texts to anyone else without this version of iPhone either.

      Can you turn off sending read receipts? I always have them off with emails. Currently I can ignore texts from work and say I didn't check my phone till later in the day.

    2. Chris 3
      Thumb Up

      From what I can tell...;

      ... from the iOS screenshots I've seen, it *appears* that the messaging will work intelligently - if you send a message to an iOS device it goes as an iMessage, for other mobiles it goes as an SMS - there's a preference that lets you select which options are available.

  15. StooMonster

    One bit of Microsoft like confusion that needs fixing

    Why is there iChat and FaceTime on desktop and now FaceTime, iMessage and classic SMS/MMS messaging on iOS.

    They should combine these ... And on the other hand, isn't it about time iTunes was split up?

  16. David Cantrell

    Pointless title, which must contain letters and/or digits.

    I give this a big fat "meh".

    Notifications? palmos had this a decade and more ago, and its lack on current iDevices is a terrible bug.

    Newsstand? why?

    Twitter? what, and why?

    Safari? ooh, a browser update! ground-breaking!

    Reminders? oh, is this the to-do list that should have been there since version 1? and again, palmos had it a squillion years ago.

    Camera? meh

    Mail? bet it's still shit

    Game centre? pointless, still shit

    iMessage? not standards compliant, therefore pointless

    So about the only useful feature is the ability to sync without tethering, but i'm not sure i really trust apple's "cloud" with my data - this is the big reason that I didn't buy an Android phone. Wireless syncing done properly would sync to *my* other devices, and to no other devices.

    1. uhuznaa

      WiFi sync

      "So about the only useful feature is the ability to sync without tethering, but i'm not sure i really trust apple's "cloud" with my data - this is the big reason that I didn't buy an Android phone. Wireless syncing done properly would sync to *my* other devices, and to no other devices."

      If you would look at the beta you would see that the iCloud is optional and WiFi syncing to your computer (in the same network, no idea if this works over VPN too) works fine without it. Doesn't seem at all as if Apple is trying to force you into their cloud.

      1. David Cantrell

        Pointless title, which must contain letters and/or digits.

        Only a cretin installs beta versions of operating systems, and doubly so on devices as important as his phone

  17. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Up


    I assume iMessage will replace the existing Messages app, so it integrates with the SMS/MMS system if conversing with a non-iOS customer? And it'll also talk nicely with Apple Messenger, Yahoo Messenger, Skype, Google Talk, Blackberry Messenger and flying pigs.

    [note to mod - thanks for fixing the thumbs-up and sad-face anti-aliasing, that was driving me nuts!]

  18. hexx


    i don't get this... so they have FaceTime, they have iChat and now iMessages, why???? why not have one simple app which handles all this? let's say iChat (you use your @me address the same way as you will in iMessage and FaceTime). What's the point, am i missing something here?

  19. uhuznaa

    iMessage, FaceTime, iChat...

    Yeah, this is a hell of a mess. iMessage seems to be a nice toy to text others also using an iThing, but apart from that it's fairly useless. Very much like Facetime.

    Some cleaning up would be very nice here.

  20. This post has been deleted by its author

  21. Neur0mancer

    Killer app

    It seems that Apple have finally figured why young people have Blackberries - BBM.

    Imessage will offer a strong incentive for people to not get BBs just for chatting. Chat on iphones, which is currently only via third party apps, arent nearly as good as bbm.

  22. Duncan Budd 1

    Newsstand - end of single publication apps?

    I hope that when newsstand is available they don't ban apps, or at least new apps, that only provide access to one publication (like The Economist?) as I seem to remember they did with radio apps...


  23. Jeckle

    What's the point...

    of a lock screen, since you can do just about everything from it. Isn't the point of a lock screen to prevent you from inadvertantly taking a photo for example in a place where they have expressly asked you not to. But mr security guard you can't take my iPhone away I will certainly die without it and it took the photo of your super secret installation accidentally. I would delete it but Apple certainly has a copy of it by now or its stored somewhere secret on the phone so it wouldn't help. BTW have they fixed the problem where the latest SMS is displayed for all at the boardroom table to see even though the screen is locked.

  24. John 62

    2 points

    i) Granted I put formatting in work emails, but I don't use my phone for work emails. Generally email should be plain text, so I don't really care about email formatting.

    ii) No iPhone 3G love? :'(

    1. OrsonX

      3G Love

      You're joking right? I just downgraded* from 4.2.1 to 3.2.1 as I couldn't cope with the lag any longer...., I imagine the revolutionary(/s) new "messenger" features, etc. in iOS 5 would slow it down to a dead stop.

      *this was actually trivial to do! Just Option click in iTunes and instal a different version (all readily available to download online)

      Loudhailer icon, as there is no Love icon, or indeed 3G Love icon

  25. PeterGriffin

    Will iOS5 Bluetooth photos?

    My only question and the issue which causes me the most grief during the working day - will iOS 5 allow the phone owner to Bluetooth photos from the phone to a kiosk for printing? Trying to explain to an irate user their super amazing phone is incapable of this seemingly simple task....

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