Apple has dropped a ton of new software at this year’s Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC), including a major update to its mobile operating system with iOS 5, which includes integration with Apple’s new cloud service and features a brand new messaging system.
It’s hard to determine exactly what new feature of iOS 5 marks the biggest announcement. With over 200 new features and updates, there’s a lot to choose from and pore over.
One standout update is the remodeled notification system in iOS 5. Notifications will be collected in the Notification Center, which users will access by swiping down from the top of their device. While the update is appreciated, and some iOS users have clamored for a new approach to notifications, many have also jabbed at Apple considering the extreme similarity between its new approach and the setup used by Android.
The Notification Center will feature weather and stocks at the top of the screen, and other notifications like call and SMS alerts under that.
Apple’s new hub for newspapers and magazines will be accessible via the App Store in iOS 5. Newsstand will support background downloading and manage user?s various subscriptions over the service.
Users can sign in to Twitter once on their iOS 5 device, then have full access and the ability to tweet across all Twitter-enabled apps on the device.
Several updates have been made to iOS 5’s built in web-browser, Safari. Firstly, it will feature the all new Safari Reader, which will present just a website’s images and text to allow for a more peaceful web-browsing experience. Safari in iOS 5 will also support tabbed browsing, and a Reading List feature to view articles at a later point across other iOS 5 devices.
Apple’s answer to the popularity of the BlackBerry Messenger service has come in the form of iMessage, which will work exclusively on iOS 5 devices. Users on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch running iOS 5 will be able to send each other messages and media over a Wi-Fi or 3G connection. Like BBM, there will be delivery and read receipts.
This could be the biggest news of the day from Apple: a new collection of cloud-based services for iOS 5 devices under the moniker iCloud. iCloud takes the old MobileMe services like mail, calendar, and contacts, revamps them, and adds a ton of other features and functionality. iCloud will also backup purchased music, books, and apps automatically, manages uploaded photos with a Photo Stream service, and provides users with 5 GB of space to use for extra document backup and storage.
These are just some of the features of iCloud, which will be thoroughly integrated in iOS 5.
The list above just features the primary highlights. The update to iOS 5 also includes a new Reminders app, enhancements to mail and airplay, and camera updates, such as turning the volume up button into a shutter, the ability to take photos from the lock-screen, and some in-context photo editing capabilities like crop, rotate, and enhance.