The stiff competition provided to Apple’s iPhone by companies like Android is causing the company to give its mobile operating system, iOS, a much-needed massive overhaul. From new notifications to new ways to communicate, some of the new features in iOS 5 are simply show-stoppers.
The Notification Center
Apple has increasingly come under fire for its limited and simplistic notification. While competitors like Android have sophisticated pull-down menus that contain a list of notifications, Apple employs a very simple pop-up message that displays the notification (or a full text message) to the user upon receipt.
That standard was good enough when the iPhone first debuted, however it simply is no longer adequate to communicate the nature of in-game notifications, received emails and messages, and social networking updates. Beginning with iOS 5, the company will transition to a notification center that groups all unread notifications into a single application. On the home screen, those notifications will be displayed in a list format on top of the user’s wallpaper, rather than in a bright blue pop-up box.
Rumors had long circulated that one of two things was coming to the iPhone: a way to use BlackBerry Messenger, or a competing service that made BBM look like a prehistoric artifact. As it turns out, the latter information was more accurate. With iMessage, Apple is giving iPhone users their very own BBM-style messaging service that improves upon the competitor’s product.
iOS 5 users will be able to use iMessage to communicate with other iOS users over WiFi or 3G connections, and they’ll be able to send pictures and videos as well as text. One huge perk is that a user can start an iMessage conversation on their iPhone and then continue the conversation on their iPod Touch or iPad. Each conversation syncs between every iOS-enabled device. As an added benefit, iMessage users can even see when their friends are typing a message in reply to their own.
Android users have long been able to integrate social networking services like Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr into their smartphone’s daily operation. Now, that same functionality has arrived for iPhone users who can find deep Twitter integration across the entire operating system.
This means users can immediately send photos, videos, and selected text directly to twitter from the phone’s native interface. The Twitter application itself ties into this integration, opening new ways for users to write and submit tweets from areas as diverse as Safari, the iPod music player, or even a game the user is playing.
The beneficial improvements of iOS 5 are too numerous to list and detail in just one article, but these are the headline-making improvements that iPhone users will be raving about for at least the next few months. iOS 5 is a bold step in the right direction for Apple’s mobile devices.
Filed Under: General