With over two hundred new features included in the latest iOS update, it’s worth spending a little time getting to know the software.
First, there are a few pundits out there who believe that iOS 5 is specifically designed to deliver a killing blow to the Blackberry. For example, Apple’s new iMessage doesn’t do quite everything Blackberry Messenger does, but iMessage does it through the existing text messaging system, rather than relegating that service to a separate application. Additionally, rather than requiring users to undertake the tedious process of exchanging PINs, iMessage automatically detects whether correspondents are using the service and will then default to the messenger app. iOS 5 has likewise included the customized keyboard shortcuts already available on the Blackberry, although as Jason Gilbert of HuffPost has noted, it’s best to lock up your device when you’re not using it, lest those shortcuts be used for evil.
The good folks at Lifehacker helpfully compiled a list of key features in the iOS 5 update. For instance, the annoying iOS notification system has at long last been cleaned up and streamlined, allowing notifications to appear in the status bar rather than pop up in the middle of whatever you happen to be doing at the time. iCloud also made its long-awaited debut, untethering your various Apple devices and replacing the defunct MobileMe. Like the clouds in this picture near our home base of Durango, Colorado, cloud storage is spreading wide and far.
Unfortunately, iTunes Match won’t be available for a little while longer, but wireless syncing will finally allow you to update your devices by plugging them into any old outlet rather than to your desktop.
There are other new features added to the iOS 5 update – Newsstand, Reminders, et cetera – but what’s specific to the iPad 2 is the arsenal of new multi-touch gestures that allow for easier use. While they sound suspiciously like gymnastics moves with high degrees of difficulty, the four-and-five finger pinch, or the four-and-five finger swipe (horizontal and vertical) will allow for a much more seamless user experience, once you get the hang of them. And if you can’t get the hang of them, the AssistiveTouch feature provides an access overlay with a single tap of a finger.