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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. We break down the key highlights and add some information on each below. Further updates regarding these latest developments from Apple are available through the official Apple website.
Notification Center – You get all kinds of notifications on your iOS device: new email, texts, friend requests, and more. With Notification Center, you can keep track of them all in one convenient location. Just swipe down from the top of any screen to enter Notification Center. Choose which notifications you want to see. Even see a stock ticker and the current weather. New notifications appear briefly at the top of your screen, without interrupting what you’re doing. And the Lock screen displays notifications so you can act on them with just a swipe. Notification Center is the best way to stay on top of your life’s breaking news.
Newsstand – Read all about it. All in one place. iOS 5 organizes your magazine and newspaper app subscriptions in Newsstand: a folder that lets you access your favorite publications quickly and easily. There’s also a new place on the App Store just for newspaper and magazine subscriptions. And you can get to it straight from Newsstand. New purchases go directly to your Newsstand folder. Then, as new issues become available, Newsstand automatically updates them in the background — complete with the latest covers. It’s kind of like having the paper delivered to your front door. Only better.
Reminders – Next time you think to yourself, “Don’t forget to…,” just pull out your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch and jot it down. Reminders lets you organize your life in to-do lists — complete with due dates and locations. Say you need to remember to pick up milk during your next grocery trip. Since Reminders can be location based, you’ll get an alert as soon as you pull into the supermarket parking lot. Reminders also works with iCal, Outlook, and iCloud, so changes you make update automatically on all your devices and calendars.
Twitter – iOS 5 makes it even easier to tweet from your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Sign in once in Settings, and suddenly you can tweet directly from Safari, Photos, Camera, YouTube, or Maps. Want to mention or @reply to a friend? Contacts applies your friends’ Twitter usernames and profile pictures. So you can start typing a name and iOS 5 does the rest. You can even add a location to any tweet, no matter which app you’re tweeting from.
Camera – Since your iPhone is always with you, it’s often the best way to capture those unexpected moments. That’s why you’ll love the new camera features in iOS 5. You can open the Camera app right from the Lock screen. Use grid lines, pinch-to-zoom gestures, and single-tap focus and exposure locks to compose a picture on the fly. Then press the volume-up button to snap your photo in the nick of time. If you have Photo Stream enabled in iCloud, your photos automatically download to all your other devices.
iMessage – 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.
Photos – Turn your snapshots into frame-worthy photos in just a few taps. Crop, rotate, enhance, and remove red-eye without leaving the Photos app. Even organize your photos in albums — right on your device. With iCloud, you can push new photos to all your iOS devices. So if you’re taking photos on your iPhone, iCloud automatically sends copies to your iPad, where you can quickly touch them up before showing them off.
Safari – iOS 5 brings even more web-browsing features to iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. Safari Reader displays web articles sans ads or clutter so you can read without distractions. Reading List lets you save interesting articles to peruse later, while iCloud keeps your list updated across all your devices. On iPad, tabbed browsing helps you keep track of multiple web pages and switch between them with ease. And iOS 5 improves Safari performance on all your iOS devices.
PC Free – With iOS 5, you no longer need a computer to own an iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. Activate and set up your device wirelessly, right out of the box. Download free iOS software updates directly on your device. Do more with your apps — like editing your photos or adding new email folders — on your device, without the need for a Mac or PC. And back up and restore your device automatically using iCloud.
Wi-Fi Sync – Wirelessly sync your iOS device to your Mac or PC over a shared Wi-Fi connection. Every time you connect your iOS device to a power source (say, overnight for charging), it automatically syncs and backs up any new content to iTunes. So you always have your movies, TV shows, home videos, and photo albums everywhere you want them.
AirPlay Mirroring – Wow your audience in the board room, classroom, or living room. AirPlay now supports video mirroring. Which means you can wirelessly — and securely — stream whatever’s on your iPad 2 to your HDTV via Apple TV. Everyone in the room sees exactly what’s on your iPad display up there on the big screen — even when you rotate iPad from portrait to landscape or zoom in and out on photos.2