iOS 5 – first impressions

Strangely, the iCloud side of things seem to be my favorite features. I’m sure I would be a huge fan of the previous purchases IF us unfortunate people in the UK could actually access our past TV shows (will we ever be able to??).

So, 5GB of free iCloud space, a free email address and awesome synchronising. It would be nice if all my calendar events now didn’t occur three times for every occurrence, but iCloud seems to have been to keen to merge all my already-linked calendars.

Anyway, being able to download one app update at the same time as another app update is installing is an awesome timesaver and the notifications area is fairly cool. It does feel a lot more slick, but guess what? Not a fan of newsstand. I though I would be, but all it seems to be is a homescreen folder that just has bookshelves instead, specifically for magazine/newspaper apps.  Overall, not as impressed as I though I would be, but my first impressions could have been tinted by the nine hours of hell needing to be justified by something that would need to be little short of 100%-awesome, which did not happen. Instead, it was something 100%-meh,-it’s-got-some-cool-features-but-I-could-probably-live-without-this.-Though-iCloud-is-pretty-neat.

post-Apple iPhone 5 Event

Firstly, it’s not the iPhone 5, it’s the ‘4S’ 😛


The keynote was presented by Tim Cook (amongst the usual Apple folk such as Scott Forstall) completely without Steve Jobs. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen how Tim did with presenting it, but from some videos of him and phone carriers answering questions, he seemed to be the usual “seem as if you’re answering the question, but really completely avoiding it” sort of person.

At long last, iOS has been given a specific release date. Before they announced it, I tweeted:

I’m hoping that they release iOS 5, or at least give us a launch date that’s soon.

Lo and behold, they announced a release data that isn’t too far away. Next Wednesday (the 12th October) to be specific.

After recapping everything that the majority of people following the keynote already knew, they got round to announcing the next iPhone, the iPhone 4S (released on October 14th in Apple’s usual launch countries.).

At last, an iPhone with 64GB of storage. Some people say this is a bit silly given that iOS 5 is rather heavily cloud based, but I personally like having my data physically with me (for various reasons, such as current internet connection speeds are not fast enough for the cloud to be as on-demand as a physical copy is). So, three tiers of iPhone 4S, being:

  • 16GB for $199
  • 32GB for $299
  • 64GB for $399
On the specs side, it has a dual core A5 processor, a dual core graphics chip, an 8MP camera (that can shoot 1080p HD video), has two antennas and is a ‘world phone’.
There’s also this improved voice command integration with Siri (which seems to be exclusive to the 4S). Not many real people seem to be too impressed withthis. Nor should they be, other phones have had usable voice command capabilities for ages. Even my Qtek 9100 from 2006 allowed me to record a voice command that it could then later match to complete a task. Sure, Siri is more modern than that, but it’s not really too impressive.
Also announced was the next iPod Touch, which seems to be pretty much the same, there’s just a white version as well (and apparently a lower price, but I don’t remember the previous $ price).
That’s pretty much all the main stuff… There was some greeting card stuff, but very few people seemed to be excited by the prospect 😛

World Wide Developers Conference 2011 – Apple keynote

So, Mac sales are up. Hardly surprising, but good news nonetheless.
Mac OS X Lion:
-over 250 new features
Consisting of multi-touch gestures. I’m pretty sure these already existed. Maybe they just improved them. Oh, it’s the ‘physical realism’ that’s new…
Full screen applications. We already know about this from the original keynote about Lion. Apple basically explains how it will be easily for developers to incorporate it into their apps. Apple has also made ‘a number’ of their apps work full screen as well (Safari, iMovie etc.). The transition to full screen is pretty neat.
Photo Booth has some face detection stuff (and full screen).
Mission Control. Again, we’ve all heard about it. It sounds rather like the Windows 7 window features.
The Mac App Store. Apparently it’s the number one channel for buying software. I find that rather surprising… Anyway, in-app purchases and push notifications are now available. I really don’t like the way iOS is invading the desktop. And there’s the big app page view we all saw before that even has folders. Apart from the icons looking like they have more freedom than a little black square, it’s pretty much identical.
Resume. A pretty cool feature. Imagine the iOS multi-tasking, but when you close it; it still picks up where you left off.
Auto Save. Most of us are probably familiar with computer issues that result in you losing your work. Well, Lion saves it automatically. I guess that will be handy in the most part, but sometimes I want the older version of a document, say, one that hasn’t bee edited to death. Well, Apple seem to have noticed this, as you can turn it off (but that could end in tears) or revert it to how it was when you opened it. Document duplication is actually a handy feature. Going back to my point about wanting to go back, it can restore previous versions, but only delta version (I guess so you don’t have an auto save for every new character you type).
AirDrop. We’ve all been there. Well, at least I have. Rushing around with memory that aren’t formatted for the other person’s system (e.g. NTFS on Linux), rushing back, changing everything… you get the picture. Well, AirDrop allows you to wirelessly share files to nearby users. Kind of like DropBox, but as its P2P, it’ll be faster. Oh, and there’s no setup. Imagine the iOS Wi-Fi connection thing but without the wep keys etc.
Mail. It looks new. Pretty nice looking to be honest. The searching has improved and it has the iOS Mail-style conversation feature.
The Price. Well, for all those big features, also including a Windows Migration assistant and FaceTime built in (amongst other things), it’s pretty cheap. Well, there are no discs. Only available through the Mac App Store for just $29.99 (probably also £29.99 since Apple don’t know how to convert currency for us British… :/ ). At least it’s only a 4GB download. Maybe it’s just a huge patch unlike the seven-or-so-GB Snow Leopard disc. Just circle the whole of July on your calendars.

iOS 5 time! Here’s… Scott! Facts and figures time:
-Over 200,000,000 iOS device sold to date
-Apparently it’s the number one mobile operating system with more than 44% of the market. I’m not doubting that, but I’m pretty sure Google were happy with some recent Android figures. Oh yeah, those were just US. Maybe Google were aware of the other less impressive figures. (Apple’s claim was based on Comscore’s figures for April. Oh, and Android was second.)
-Over 25,000,000 iPads sold in the fourteen months it’s been available. Scott claims they’ve created a whole new category of device. Pretty sure that MS were in the tablet game about a decade ago, amongst others.
Then there are the iTunes and co figures. In the millions and billions… Apple is enjoying a few more exclamation marks when announcing how much has been paid out to developers ($2,500,000,000). Interesting they didn’t show how much developers didn’t get due to Apple’s rather large cut. Also, 225,000,000 iTunes accounts with credit cards and one-click purchasing. I’m surprised there are that many who put faith in their hand wandering across iTunes.

Alerts. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who finds notifications popping up right in the middle of the screen annoying. Introducing Notification Centre. All notifications are now in one place, accessed by swiping down from the top menu (the same style SBSettings users probably use). It looks and sounds rather like the Android notification area. If you’re in an app that doesn’t show the top status bar, a notification bar peeks in from the top. There are also notifications on the lock screen. Not surprising that this seems rather like some features available from Cydia, as apparently Apple hired the guy who made them.
Newsstand. Future Publishing, National Geographic, The Telegraph, The New York Time, Bloomberg… I could go on. Imagine the iBooks bookshelf. Now imagine that, but in the style of a home screen folder. New issues get downloaded automatically in the background and it just looks really really nice. I’m starting to want to update… (see my iOS dilemma post two posts ago).
Twitter. Well, looks like the rumours were right. Humorously, the account used for the demo was @forstall, who still hasn’t tweeted (he did demo a tweet though. The interface looked really nice, a floating bubble above the keyboard.). You can also tweet articles from Safari and location from Maps.
Safari. Another impressive statistic. Apparently 64% of all mobile web browsing is done through safari. It’s easy to see why. Given that there isn’t really a way to make the Opera Mini app (or others) your default iOS browser, you’re rather stuck with it. Not that that’s a bad thing. It does have its shortcomings, but it’s bearable to use. Safari Reader allows you to read just the text of a news story in the browser. I’m guessing advertisers aren’t going to be too happy. Also announced was ‘tabbed browsing’. I’m pretty sure the 8-tab-limit feature has been available in Safari for quite some time. Well, they demonstrate iPad tabbed browsing, which looks pretty much like Safari for Desktop tabbed browsing. Oh, and you can use ‘Tweet Sheet’ to tweet bits like links from in Safari.
To-do lists. I’ve been using a to do list in my pocket since way back when I was using Windows Mobile 2003 on a Dell Axim pocket PC. Anyway, it syncs through iCal (even though WinMo tasks synced through active sync and WinMo Device Centre…). Well, I guess it’s a welcome addition fro those who don’t stray off the Apple path.
Camera. There’s now a lock screen shortcut! I do welcome this feature. With the HTC Wizard you just pressed the camera button and you were there instantly. With iOS, you side, you type in your pass code, you quit the app you were in, you navigate to the camera icon on the home screen and then you’re ready. Not sure how they’re going to deal with speed vs. security (pass code entering or strangers taking thousands of photos). Just read that photos can be taken without entering it (so they went for speed), but previous photos can’t be viewed. At least they think of everything, unlike some other companies I could mention. Another camera feature I’m really excited about is the volume up button is now the shutter button (not sure if it’s replaced it or is a toggle feature. I’m guessing it only functions as it from the lock screen camera feature). As I mentioned above about just pressing a button on the HTC Wizard (a feature I sorely miss on the Touch Pro2. The only button you can assign is holding down the green phone button). At least people don’t need to buy a new iDevice to use the button feature. There’s also photo editing availability right after capturing (in the Camera+ style), which I guess is a lot faster than loading Photoshop Express.
Mail. As I’m about 23 minutes behind typing this (in correlation to the live event0 I’ll quickly blast through the new Mail features: Indentation control, rich-text formatting, draggable addresses, search entire messages, flag messages and S/MIME.
Dictionary: A bit like the iBooks dictionary, you can now use a dictionary on any word in any app (including App Store ones).
Keyboard. Most people I know seem to go ‘urgh’ when I show them a picture of an innovative thumb keyboard (half the keys on one side of the screen, the other half on the other side). Well, you can now turn the iPad keyboard into one. Just hold down on it with your thumbs and drag up, splitting it in half.
PC Free. So, you’ve bought a new iDevice. You tear it out of the packaging (keeping the packaging intact to display to people :P) and… now you have to spend ten minutes with iTunes at a computer setting it up and registering it. No more! Switch on the device the first time and its slide to set up with a pleasant ‘Welcome’. Also, software updates over the air. At long last. Pity that wasn’t available on iOS 4, as if I want this, I’m going to have to wipe my iPod, losing all App Data (even though there’s the iCloud stuff, read on for that). This all seems to be more like a proper operating system in its own right, hence the ‘cut the cord’ pun.
Game Centre. Well, Apple boasts that they have 50 million Game Centre users, whereas Xbox Live has just 30 million. Well, you can’t exactly play a plethora of amazing 3d (models), current, popular and real games on and iDevice, can you? Who’s laughing now, Apple? Well, you can now purchase and download games from directly in Game Centre, so it’s a bit more akin to Xbox live and PSN, but the games still aren’t as great (mainly because they can’t. The PS3 may have low specs, but it’s dedicated to gaming, so don’t expect to be able to play GTA 4 on your iDevice anytime soon. Gangstar (awful draw distance and memory) and Chinatown Wars will have to be enough). (Had a technological hitch that cost ten minutes, so I’m having to get more to the point).
iMessage. You know all those AdMob ads for turning you iPod into an iPhone? Well, now you can message between all iDevices with iOS 5! You can send text, pictures, and videos. There’s also AirPlay mirroring for iPad, so you can do the whole HDMI presentation feature, but without the cable.
You can also sync your iTunes library over Wi-Fi as well! This really does sound like every reason people jailbreak has been brought to iOS…
As I suspected, it’s available for the devices mentioned in a previous post (iPhone 3Gs and 4, iPod touch 3rd and 4th generation, iPad and iPad 2) and will be available for the public this autumn (fall).
iCloud. Steve starts talking about how the computer was always the hub for everything (like I said in the ‘My opinion on Google music’ post). Then the syncing problem. It sounds like, despite Apple having not changed until today, that they were aware of all the issues we had. The ‘hub’ label is moving from your computer to the cloud. I personally don’t like cloud computing as an idea (with somebody else having all your data in some unknown place), but if this simplifies iLife (not the suite, the living the Apple life). Content now gets wirelessly pushed to your device. MobileMe is now iCloud; it’s all wireless and cloud-y. However, ‘MobileMe’ no longer exists. Pity, as I was planning on getting it soon. iCloud won’t have adverts… yet it’s free! (well, the three main apps at least). iBooks now works better wirelessly, content is backed up every day and when you get a new device, you just type in your ID and everything is accessible. The iDocs suite (launched for pocket iOS devices last week but been available on the iPad for quite some time) is now in the cloud and it all works across iDevices, Macs and PCs. There’s also PhotoStream (photos are kept in the cloud for 30 days) but stored permanently on your device if you put it on it.
And now, something I am so glad of that it deserves a whole new paragraph, “anything I’ve bought [in iTunes] I can now download to any of my devices at no additional charge.” At last! No more paying for TV shows, Music and Movies again and again because they were lost in sync! (Can be pushed to up to 10 devices, but hey, it’s a free service.) You get 5GB of storage space free (but music and photos don’t count as part of the 5GB limit, probably because apple makes money from the iTunes sales t be able to afford it…). iCloud runs on iOS 4.3 Beta.
One more thing: From what it seems, music you have that hasn’t been purchased via iTunes gets just the same ‘privileges’ as stuff that has. Sounds like Google Music…
The End, at last. No iPhone 5, as expected. Apologies for the formatting and spacing being everywhere, but I have been running this to a tight schedule from type to ‘print’ as I wanted it to be up as soon as possible, not weeks later.


UPDATE on iTunes past purchase restrictions:

As before, you can re-obtain apps (as it assumes it’s an update) and books. In the US and the UK (amongst, many other countries, I’m sure, but haven’t heard any reports on) you can re-obtain music for free. In the US only (it seems) you can re-obtain TV shows. Real pain for those of us in the rest of the world 😦