iOS 5 is here

Lex Friedman
13 October, 2011
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Apple today released iOS 5 in Australia, its hotly anticipated upgrade to the operating system that powers the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

First previewed at June’s Worldwide Developers Conference, iOS 5 arrives promising users more than 200 new features and enhancements. The update’s most exciting features probably depend upon which iOS user you talk to, but long-time iPhone and iPad owners are likely looking forward to the significantly revamped notifications system that iOS 5 promises.

Under iOS 5, alerts no longer pop up the familiar, interruptive blue box; now, they float across the top of the screen as fleeting banners instead. And Notification Center – accessible with a single swipe straight down from the top of your iOS device – gathers all the alerts you receive so that you needn’t fear missing one. The lock screen shows alerts since you last locked your device, too.

As for new features, iOS 5 introduces iMessage, an SMS/MMS alternative. Built into the existing Messages app, iMessage lets you send text, image and video messages to other iOS device owners. Messages sent via iMessage won’t count against your texting plan; as a result, iPad and iPod touch owners can get in on the messaging action.

A new app, Reminders, brings a built-in to-do list manager to iOS devices. Reminders triggers time- and location-based alerts to remind you of tasks you need to complete. iOS 5’s Newsstand feature promises to assemble all your digital magazine and newspaper subscriptions in a single folder permanently installed on your home screen; apps that take advantage of Newsstand will be able to update themselves in the background, delivering new issues to your iPhone or iPad. iOS 5 also integrates the Twitter microblogging service throughout the system, making it easier to do things like post a picture you’ve shot with your iPhone’s camera directly from the Camera app.

Existing apps see significant upgrades in iOS 5, too. The mobile version of Safari adopts the Reading List and Reader features found in the OS X version of the web browser; iPad users will get to enjoy tabbed browsing as well. Assorted Mail improvements include rich-text editing and full-text search. The Camera app adds the ability to launch the camera from the lock screen, built-in photo editing features and the option to use the Volume Up button as a shutter control. Even Game Center undergoes a modest face lift aimed at making it easier to find new friends and games and compare your scores to those of your buddies.

This version of iOS also has its head in the clouds. The update introduces a number of changes aimed at cutting the cord between your iOS device and your computer. You can now set up your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch on the device itself without any intervention from a Mac or PC, while Wi-Fi syncing will let you connect to iTunes without a USB cable. Once iOS 5 is installed, you’ve even be able to wirelessly download future operating system updates. iOS 5 also adds support for iCloud, Apple’s re-branded sync and backup service that also launches Wednesday.

Upgrading to iOS 5

The update requires iTunes 10.5, which Apple released in Australia yesterday.

iOS 5 is compatible with the iPhone 3GS, 4, and 4S; the third- and fourth-generation iPod touch; and any iPad. To install it, you’ll just connect your iOS device to iTunes and – if not prompted to upgrade straight away – click on the Check For Updates button.

Look out for our complete guide to upgrading to iOS 5 here on the Macworld Australia site. We’ll also take a deeper look at many of the top changes to the operating system throughout the rest of this week.


4 people were compelled to have their say. We encourage you to do the same..

  1. Paul Keefe says:

    Like millions of others, I eagerly awaited the release of iOS 5, and probably like millions of others, I am very disappointed with it.

    Apart from the 5 hours I spent downloading & upgrading all of my devices, it just “doesn’t work”.

    In the past 12 months I have purchased the following from Apple:
    iMac 27″ Quad Core
    iPhone 3GS
    iPhone 4
    iPad 2
    Time Capsule 1Tb
    Apple TV x 2
    MacBook Pro 15″
    and all the software & accessories you could possibly think of – I was converted, but only to a point.

    I still preferred Microsoft Office, and when Office 2011 for Mac was released, I also purchased the software x 2, and now today, under iOS 5, it is completely useless, and so will a lot of other software be that way because Apple gave the impression everything would work.

    Not A Happy Apple here.

  2. Graham says:

    I share Pauls’ disappointment with iOS5, while the download an install went smoothly, it is complex to set up and actually get working. This is after the mess made by Lion upgrades too.

    My love of all things Apple has taken a bit of a hammering.

  3. Rod Martin says:

    Concerning iCloud, and MobileMe turning off June2012 I’m pretty darn annoyed with Apple.

    As I have an iPhone 3g it won’t work with the new Apple iCloud service (can’t run ios 5), and the existing MobileMe turns off in June2012, so wireless syncing of Calendars, Contacts etc. will cease for me come June next year.

    I think this is pretty unreasonable of Apple and I suspect a lot of iPhone 3g users will launch a class action against Apple to keep MobileMe running for several more years, or build it into iCloud (this legal action has often been successful in the past!).

    New iPhone 3g models only stopped selling in mid 2009 so by June 2012 the 3g model will only be 3 years old. Three years is too soon for Apple to just decide that the model is obsolete (to encourage us to fork out another $800 dollars for a new iPhone??). I never replace any gadget in less than 10 years if it is still working (I can’t afford to).

    I’m understanding that new features won’t run on 3g models but MobileMe is an important feature working just fine and wouldn’t otherwise stop working in June2012 except when Apple just turns it off.

    I guess I will have to look at Google which supplies a free wireless syncing service compatible with all iPhone models.

    Also there is no indication from Apple whether turning iCloud on right now (on my iMac running Lion) will interfere with my current usage of MobileMe and syncing to my iPhone.

    Really discourages me from ever buying an iPhone again (too vapourware-ish).

  4. Chris Lamb says:

    Very happy with the iOS5 upgrade as I am with Lion
    I do not have a problem with Mobileme turning off in 2012 I still haves one device that I cannot upgrade to Lion but will be doing it before that date

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