With the beginning of September just around the corner, there are tons of rumors about the iPhone 5 and the new iPods buzzing around the internet. However, until the word is out, these are all pure rumor and speculation. For many people, the idea of the new Apple operating system, iOS 5, is much more exciting due to the fact that not everyone adopts the new iPhone or iPod immediately after they come out. Generally everyone does benefit from the new software, and this new version is looking like a major overhaul. This article will go over some of the major new features that will be available. Though Apple quotes over 200 changes, there are only a handful of changes that you will notice immediately. 

Real Notifications Arrive

One of the most noticeable ways iOS5 will change the iOS system is through the new Notification Center. In its current form, the notification system in iOS is still behind its competitors, although it seems to get the job done. It is a bit cumbersome and can certainly be inconvenient when you are multitasking on your phone. This new system borrows heavily from Android, but as with everything Apple does, they will take it and tweak it, and ultimately make it a smoother and better experience for the end user. Instead of having notices pop up like they do now, the new Notification Center is located at the top of the screen, and with a swipe down it will bring all your new notifications into view. When they are first coming in, the top bar will only give you a preview, but it will not interrupt what you are currently doing. This is much more elegant, and since it will be accessible in all applications, it will be much more convenient for managing incoming items. Additionally, the new notification system will utilize the lock screen more heavily which is a feature that is currently not available on competitors’ phones. Simply tap the sleep/wake button and it will show you your notifications, and you can either swipe to delete them, or swipe across to directly access them. This removes the step of unlocking and then traveling to the app where the notification came from. Overall, this new system will make using your iPhone, iPad, or iPod a much more intuitive and pleasurable experience. You can even add different things like weather and stocks to the notification bar, so your important information is only a quick swipe away.

iMessage is the new BBM

Integrated into the new notification system is Apples brand new messaging application known as iMessage. Until now, Blackberry users have always bragged and boasted about their Blackberry Messenger service, and how you can message other users for free and you can keep in contact even internationally. With iMessage, Apple answers back and brings in their own version of Apple only messaging. Due to the fact that there is already a large Apple cult, this new exclusive Apple messenger will only increase the frenzy, and there is a very solid chance that iMessage becomes the new Blackberry Messenger. The new messaging system is much more advanced than SMS and it allows sharing of location, pictures, videos, as well as the ability to see if the other person has read your message or is typing back a response. This brings messaging to as close to a desktop version as possible. With iMessage, it will bring Apple into a new age of popularity, and chances are it will deal a serious blow to the popularity of Blackberry. 


The Photos application is another area that Apple is overhauling, and they're doing it the way they do each update. They simply improve bit by bit on what they already have, and introduce features that maybe you don't think about every day, but soon won't be able to live without. With Photos, this involves introducing many new features that allow you to be tethered less and less to your computer. Before, you had to sync your iPhone photos to your computer in order to do any editing, but now there are many simple edits available directly on the phone. This includes red eye correction, cropping, rotating, and even auto-enhance which automatically adjusts the light levels for you. These are the features that most users go to the computer for, and many people don't think about not being able to do it right on your iPhone. However, now that you have it, it's going to be hard to imagine a life where you regularly sync in order to fix such small things on a photo. In addition to those editing features, Apple has also boosted the Camera application. You can now access the camera directly from the lock screen, and you can use the volume up button as the shutter button. This is perfect for quick snapshots, and catching a picture right in time. The app itself also has auto exposure, one tap to focus, and a grid to frame your picture perfectly. All these features will bring out the creative photographer in everyone!

Features of Apple iOS5
Credit: Apple Inc.

Reminders, Twitter, Newsstand, and Safari

The last few main features that Apple is advertising for the new OS are Reminders, Twitter integration, Newsstand, and Safari. All of these are relatively minor improvement but will certainly come in useful in a variety of situations. For one, Safari raises the mobile browser bar by adding tabbed browsing, the ability to save websites to read later, and RSS feeder read built in. While there certainly are some current browsers that offer these features, the fact that this is made by Apple and completely built in the operating system will undoubtedly make Safari the browser to beat. Twitter integration for Twitter users will be certainly welcome, though not revolutionary. Many apps already allowed access to Twitter, so the full integration will be just a slightly more convenient option. Reminders is actually an extremely cool new feature, and it will allow you to create Reminders and To-Do lists by location. This is phenomenal and it can change the way that we currently operate. Imagine you set a to-do to pick up milk, and tell it to remind you when you leave work! If used regularly, it will be a new tool that will be hard to ever live without again. The last big feature is Newsstand. This is big breakthrough for the tablet market and licensed reading content, but it's too early to tell how successful it will be. While it is tempting and may bring more newspaper and magazine readers to the iPad, it remains to see whether the price points and the content are compelling enough to bring in readers for their old methods.

Wrap Up!

Those are the main features of iOS5, and they promise to be good ones. There are tons of other tweaks, and many that we won't even see. For instance, many software updates from Apple somehow extend battery life for your device, which is always welcome. If not, however, you can always check out this article on how to increase your battery life without waiting for the update! As mentioned above, Apple generally releases this software around the end of the first week of September, so keep your ears open for event announcements, and get ready to revamp your iOS device with these incredible new features! Also, keep your eye out for an iPhone 5 announcement; this media event is by far the most likely place that it will happen! As always, Apple will put together a presentation, and release software that will alter the way we interact with the world.