Apple released their latest and grandest operating system for their iDevices, the iOS 5 on 12th October 2011. I’ve had it installed on my iPhone and iPad 2 for a week now so I thought I’d share my views of it so far.
My verdict: It ROCKS!
The new notification center is definitely well executed. Although it takes a leaf out of the Android playbook, its execution in iOS 5 is so much more refined. There fact that there is a good amount of configurability available for it is also a plus point.
iMessage is another tasty morsel. Is it better than 3rd party apps like WhatsApp Messenger or Kik Messenger? Not really, but it is the simplest, considered that it is built into the OS. The keyboard display has also been tweaked so that it disappears when you scroll up to look at an earlier part of a conversation.
Synching your iPhone through WiFi is not exactly walk in the park, but once you get the hang of it, it works like a charm. No more cables for me!
Tabbed browsing in Safari is a long awaited feature and well implemented. On the iPad, the split keyboard takes a little getting used to, but is a boon for browsing in landscape.
And you can now delete calls from your Call List, unlike before where you can only clear the entire list. Useful for those people who frequently make incognito calls (wink wink).
You can also designate your own custom SMS tone (previously you can only do that for ringtones). Mine is now set to the famous Wilhelm scream.
Getting to the camera from the lock screen isn’t as fast as I’d hope it would be; you have to double-press the home button before the camera button appears. But using the volume up button as the shutter key is a much welcomed addition after years of fiddling with its on screen counterpart. The photo editing features are minimal but the cropping tool is very useful.
I haven’t played around with Twitter integration yet and don’t really see myself using it very much.
Overall, iOS 5 feels faster, snappier, and more user friendly. Too bad you’d need to upgrade to the iPhone 4S in order to fully appreciate iOS 5, i.e. the Siri voice recognition feature. But those not willing to upgrade to the 4S can try Vlingo or Dragon Dictation for the voice recognition needs.
A short video on iOS 5: