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iPhone

iOS 5: First impressions

Well, after the issues of getting the iOS update onto my iPhone 3GS, was it worth the struggle?
Along with some cool extras the are the inevitable missing features and application errors. Pus some odd behaviour.
General Improvement:
Firstly, I think I am finding that the new iOS 5 is more responsive, faster, than iOS 4.3.5. This often happens with a major update as the incremental fixes tend to make the code less tight and prone to a stickiness that causes a small but noticeable reduction in performance.
General Problems:
I have noticed that occasionally the screen goes black and then comes back again. I’ll see if this disappears with application updates. It does not occur on any of the system pages. Similarly, some Apps (most noticeable in the new Facebook) are occasionally unresponsive to swipes , although taps are fine.
Folders:
Ok, annoying small thing. None of my Apps were in folders so I had pages…


And pages…


Of Apps to organise.
Email Accounts:
The first thing I noticed was that all of my email accounts did not have passwords associated with them.


I had to add the Inbound password.


And, where appropriate, when sending for the first time, the outbound password.


When you get them correct (hurrumph) then you get some nice animated ticked.


Oddly, all other account details were remembered.
Inbuilt Dictionary:
The iOS has previously had a nice spell checker but now it has a Dictionary too. The different is that now you can call up a word definition, as well as correct misspellings.
Highlighting a word brings up more options in iOS 5. This includes a right arrow:

And the new “Suggest…“, which replaces the “Replace…” option.


Clicking the arrow can give access to more options (see below about mail) and always includes the new “Define” option.


And here we have the definition provided for HTML.


Email:
some nice feature improvements here. We have the addition of somle minor HTML elements in email composing.
As can be seen with the screenshot above you can elect to use bold, underline, italic or increase and decrease the indentation. The indentations are called “Quote level“, and that is how it is rendered. No bullets or numbered lists or text resizing (yet). I feel a Feature Request coming on.
Let’s add some bold…


And some indentation, sorry, quote levels


And we have a pretty good start for HTML mail.


Nice but still needs more work.
Notifications:
This is the change most were waiting for. Google had been able to boast a pretty good notification system on Android for some time. This update brings iOS more in line and takes away one of the main reasons a number of users end up jail breaking there iPhones.
You can now enjoy lock screen notifications for almost all applications. Email, games, SMS, iMessage, Facebook, Twitter can all send notice to the Notification Centre.
The default for most items is for the items to use the new scroll section at the top of the screen. Obviously, calls are an excepts they popover, as they used, any running App.
Setup any Apps notifications as you wish. They don’t need to be shown at all if you wish. You’ll still see the badges if you want.


You can choose how much information appears in Notification Centre, how it interacts with running apps (Alert Style)…


… and whether it appears on the lock screen.


The Notification Centre can be reached by a simple swipe down from the top. You can choose the order items appear in, but it doesn’t bother me so i simply scroll up and down. Click an item and you’re whooshed off directly to that item in the appropriate App.


Lock screen notifications are nice and simple too. Here’s a reminder…


Slide the micro icon to the right and you can unlock the phone and go directly to that App.


Nice example of an email notification.


Reminders:
Here we start to see the limitations of what Apple have allowed.
As one of the images above shows, you can add time based reminders on the iPhone 3GS but the nice new location based reminders are limited to the new hardware. Dunno why. Still, may be useful instead of calendar entries. Actually, aren’t these just calendars, without the location information?
iMessage:
This seems a bit twee to me, an tempt to undermine Gtalk and BBM? If you try to send an SMS to a iMessage enabled iOS 5 device, the system checks and sends an message instead. The “message” box changes to “iMessage” and the colour scheme changes from green to blue.
Yet to play with this properly.


Twitter
Integration for Twitter has arrived! I’ll comment more fully on this as I notice it but Safari is the first benefactor. Select the Tweet option and you’re prompted to enter your details.


All simple enough.
Safari:
No tab browsing or four-finger-swipe on the iPhone 3GS. But we do get “Reader” and “Reading List…“.


The first is supposed to remove adverts, the second saves the page to be read later, possibly offline.


There is also the previously mentioned Twitter integration.
Camera:
You now get pinch zoom and guides (rule of thirds) to help crate that perfect image. It might be a mirage but to me the clarity of the images appears to have mysteriously improved too.
The big thing for me is access to the camera without unlocking the iPhone. Double click the home button and an extra icon next to unlock appears, the camera.


Now you can snap away!
If you check the Camera Roll then all you see are the photos taken during that session, not the rest of the photos.


…or videos.


Also, the only action available is to delete a photo.
iCloud:
This is a big topic so I’ll cover it separately. I will say though that sharing/backing up my photos over the air just seems to make sense.
I also like the idea of backing up the iPhone to the iCloud. Free storage is 5GB.
Conclusion:
I’m sure I haven’t found all the tweaks and pokes in the new iOS but i am impressed. Disappointed because functions like location based reminders should be available in all GPS enabled devices, not limited to newer devices.
I also have little fingers so four-finger-swipe to change tabs in Safari. Did I say tabs? Sorry, pages, as tabs aren’t available.
Overall I am impressed though.
References:
Apple iOS 5

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About harlekwinblog

Thoughts of an idle mind. IT professional, specialising in Linux and Security. Hopefully Ethical Hacker and Performance Tuning too. Many other thoughts to be registered though…

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