iOS 5 – It’s the Little Things You’ll LovePosted: August 23, 2011
For the past month or so I’ve been testing iOS 5 and I’ve found a few new features that I want to talk about Features that make life easier. Features that change the way we think, the way we do business, the way we… Ok, none of the features really change lives but I like them a lot. I’m not going to go into detail about the big changes because you can find them talked about anywhere. You can go to Apple.com/iOS5 to get a rundown of all the major improvements (200+) but here’s the quick list; iCloud, iMessage, Reminders (with geofencing), OTA updates, Twitter integration,wireless sync, quick camera access, updated notification system, photo editing, Safari reading list, AirPlay mirroring, Newsstand, Mail and much more behind the scenes.
What I want to do here is point out a few of the little (teeny tiny) things that might go unnoticed or might be overshadowed by all the big shiny changes in iOS 5 for the iPhone.
1.) Keyboard Shortcuts
WTG, OMW, STFU, LOL (you get the idea) can now be assigned a “Phrase.” You can pick and choose whatever shortcut you want and assign a specific phrase to it. As you type a text message or email or pretty much anything, the shortcut you type will expand into the word or phrase that you assigned. For example you can assign “On my way” to OMW or “way to go” for WTG. If you’re not intending to use that shortcut (or you just want to keep the abbreviated
hipster version) you can click the “x” to ignore the phrase just like cancelling an auto correction. Pretty cool!
2.) Text Messaging
While typing a new message, you’re no longer limited to half of the screen to scroll through old messages. You may never have even noticed this in the past but if you’re typing a text message in iOS4 or iOS3, you only have half the screen to look back at that specific conversation. The keyboard takes up the other half. Now you can be half way through a message and realize you need to look back to be sure you’re
keeping your lie straight spelling the name of your friends new dog correctly and have more room to do it. It’s a little thing (see the title) but it makes much more sense. Also, the text message “send” button is now green and the iMessage “send” button is blue.
3.) Updated Dock/Radio/Bluetooth/Aux Support
Blame it on Apple or blame it on the manufacturer, it really doesn’t matter anymore. When iOS4 was released certain car stereos and docks stopped working correctly or stopped working at all via USB. You may have had to get a firmware update or you may have been out of luck. For example Liz’ 2011 Mitsubishi Outlander only works with iOS3… While I was under the impression that this was a licensing issue with the manufacturer it appears that Apple has done something to fix this. Our Outlander now sees and controls the phone via USB like I would have expected all along. Bluetooth gets an upgrade as well. Bluetooth connections now send song titles and album information to the receiver. At the time of writing this it’s not perfect but it’s a pretty awesome feature. Also when you’re listening to audio through an auxiliary port and you get a phone call, the audio starts up again even if you’ve unplugged the auxiliary connection. In iOS4 the audio only starts again if you use a bluetooth headset or if you never unplug the Aux output during the call.
4.) Photo Albums
This is one of those features I can’t believe it’s taken this long to implement. You can now assign pictures from your Camera Roll to Photo Albums that you create on your phone. How many times have you wanted to group or classify your camera roll pictures right on your phone? Yes you can import them to your computer, remove them from your camera roll and sync them back through iTunes but this is easier. Wait… That actually sounds like a nice clean process that I should be doing.
5.) Home Button Double Tap “Fix”
This actually does fall in line with the newly implemented feature for quickly accessing the camera but it’s also a “fix” in my opinion. In iOS 5 you can access the camera without unlocking the phone. You just double tap the home button while your phone is locked or sleeping and a little camera icon shows up in the bottom right hand corner along with the audio play controls you’re used to seeing. The “fix” I’m referring to is the fact that double tapping the home button actually works. If you do this in iOS4 you have to tap 3 times. One tap to wake up the phone and two more taps to access the play/pause/skip controls of whatever audio is playing. Sure you might think that this isn’t such a big deal but… well… it kind of isn’t but I was pleasantly surprised! It’s the little things that I love.
All in all iOS 5 is not revolutionary. It’s an evolution of an already rock solid mobile operating system. In some ways (some more obvious than others) it incorporates features that Android users have been using for some time now. The biggest example of this is the newly designed notification center, which I have to say is pretty awesome. I’d like to see a few things added but to be fair this is still in beta and there’s time for Apple to add things before it’s released. Here’s hoping that Apple sneaks in a few gems such as voice control and a few extra widgets other than stocks and weather. I would personally love to control Bluetooth,WiFi, Airplane mode, etc. from the swipe-down notification center…