As the entire tech world should know, today was the kickoff of Apple’s WWDC event. iOS 5 is one of the major pieces of Apple’s post-PC movement and a lot of the hype for this event was drawn solely because of it. iOS 5 will bring 200 new features for users, of which only a few were shown, and 1,500 new APIs for developers. Most iOS users have a lot to say about the archaic notifications system and the overall sterility of the platform. Thankfully, Apple has heard the cries and looks to shape things up with iMessaging, Notifications Center, iCloud, and some serious Twitter integration. Everything is going to be quicker, simpler, and more effective. Hit the break for all the details!
Have you ever asked your buddy why he/she is still rocking that fossil BlackBerry phone from 2 years ago? 99% of them will say “BBM”. BlackBerry Messaging is the single feature that is keeping the BlackBerry brand still popular amongst the text messaging crowd; it simply handles instant messaging a lot better than Android, iOS, or webOS currently do. Apple looks to change this with iMessaging, which is essentially an Applefied version of BBM. All iOS devices, meaning iPod Touches, iPads, and iPhones, can use iMessaging. iMessaging will allow group chat, messaging of photos, videos, and contacts, and comes with delivery and read receipts. Even more excitingly, it’ll have an indicator to show you that the other person is currently writing a message to you. With over 200 Million iOS devices swimming around out there, we’re sure most, if not all of your friends will be using it. It should be big, especially for those of us who use iPads but not iPhones.
Ah yes, those dreaded notifications that piss everyone off. I’m sure many of you have been caught playing Infinity Blade while a pointless message pops up telling you CNN posted a new article in their application. Excruciatingly, the notification will freeze the game, and in some instances, cause it to crash if the developer didn’t optimize the code for that scenario. It pisses me off, and it pisses everyone else off. Apple finally looks to alleviate the non-sensical headaches with Notification Center. Notification Center works just like the notifications bar on Android (enter angry Android fans who says Apple copies everything), except in a more polished and refined manner. Simply pull the bar down and you will have access to your missed phone calls, text messages, e-mails, Facebook messages, and updates from your applications. Alongside the notification is an X button where you can erase the notification from existence and cast it off into the ether. It’s simple, sweet, and elegant.
Apple is also adding notifications right smack dab onto the lock screen; a feature that many of us expected to be shown. Notifications will be displayed on the lock screen where you can simply swipe the bar to the right and be taken right to that notification. Other enhancements include music controls and even a button to fire up the camera right from the lock screen. The camera app can be accessed even if you have a passcode set, but Apple guarantees the rest of the phone will be on lock down until the passcode is entered. Not relating to notifications in any way, the volume up button will act as a dedicated camera shutter key. Pretty handy.
Probably the main star of the show was iCloud. It’s been heavily rumored for the past few months and it’s definitely Apple’s way to further solidify this mobile post-PC age. Without going into too much detail, “iCloud stores all of your content in the cloud and wirelessly pushes it to all your device. It automatically uploads it, stores it, and pushes it to all your devices.” Pretty self explanatory. If you download an Application or Song, it’ll be automatically pushed to all of your devices. Everything from your Books, Settings, Contacts, Word Documents and E-Mails will be wirelessly pushed and saved in the cloud. Calendar, E-Mail, and Contact syncing to the cloud is free for the first 5 Gigabytes.
Twitter is now fully integrated into nearly every part of iOS. A lot of iOS applications will have built-in Twitter login and will allow you to easily share all of your stuff with your friends on Twitter, whether it’s your current location or a photo you just took of a dog chasing its’ tail.
This isn’t everything that was announced at WWDC pertaining to iOS, just the important stuff. Honestly, iOS 5 isn’t ground breaking and will not change the overall look and functionality of iOS 4 much at all. However, these are still welcomed additions to iOS and we’re excited to try them out… when it drops later this Fall. Yep, iOS 5 isn’t coming out until this Fall. On the bright side, that’s probably the same time we will see a new iPhone come out, but for the next few months, you’ll still be on iOS 4.