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Posts tagged with "ios5review"

iOS 5: Reminders

 

With iOS 5, Apple has decided to tackle the to-do and reminder app market by offering its own solution that’s tightly integrated with iCloud, calendars, and Address Book. Reminders, a new system app in iOS 5, allows users to easily and quickly jot down their to-dos and organize them in “lists” that are stored and backed up to the cloud in real-time. Reminders are constantly pushed across devices and the web on iCloud.com, and they come with a series of options to give them date-based alarms, a location, or notes.

Reminders is a straightforward app that can’t be compared to more complex to-do and project management solutions like OmniFocus or Things, but it doesn’t need to achieve or aspire to such complexity as it’s a utility aimed at making it extremely simple to quickly create a reminder, and forget about the existence of the app itself. You won’t spend time “tweaking” or “customizing” Reminders; you can’t assign “tags” to to-dos and move them around between folders. The app has got a single theme (as per Apple’s recent skeuomorphic trends, the app resembles an old leather-bound agenda with the heavy use of textures) and two functionalities besides reminder creation: lists and search. Read more


iOS 5: Twitter Integration

With iOS 5, Apple is officially acknowledging the existence of external social networks besides Ping and Apple ID (one of the authentication options for iOS 5’s iMessage) and the result is direct Twitter support, unveiled after much speculation at the WWDC in June, and now available inside Apple’s Settings app. Twitter integration in iOS 5, however, goes beyond a couple of preferences and options to tweak – it’s a systemwide framework that will allow developers to build “official” Twitter support in their apps, as well as let users forget about having to log in with Twitter every time they want to try a new Twitter app.

Twitter is expecting a massive growth in the upcoming months thanks to integration with Apple’s devices, and rightfully so: with the new Twitter preference panel available in iOS 5’s Settings, users are able to sign in once with their Twitter account, and use that “single sign-on” to authorize other apps downloaded from the App Store to access their Twitter credentials. With this method, not only is Apple giving users support for Twitter at a system level, they’re also leveraging iOS technologies to make the experience of downloading and configuring Twitter apps (admittedly, quite many) as frictionless as possible. Read more


Apple Releases iPhoto 9.2 with Photo Stream Support

Apple today released a new version of its desktop photo management and editing software, iPhoto 9.2. The update, available now, brings a number of bug fixes and improvements to iPhoto, but more importantly it brings full compatibility with iCloud’s Photo Stream for iOS devices, Macs and PCs. Photo Stream is a new service that enables users to store their last 1,000 photos in the cloud, and have them automatically pushed to all devices configured with iCloud. Photo Stream stores new photos for 30 days, and it’s not possible to edit photos stored in Photo Stream. iCloud’s Photo Stream is a continuously updated “album” with all your most recent photos, which doesn’t need to be synced or manually copied to a Mac.

From the changelog:

iPhoto 9.2 supports compatibility with iCloud and iOS 5. This update also addresses minor stability, performance and compatibility issues, including:

Left and right swipe gestures can now be used to navigate between photos in Magnify (1-up) view

Previously imported photos are now displayed in a separate section of the Import window

Book/calendar themes and card categories can now be selected using a pop-up menu in the carousel view

Resolves an issue that could cause some pages of books to print incorrectly

Rebuilding a library now correctly preserves saved slideshows and books

With the new iPhoto, users can enable Photo Stream directly in the app’s Preferences. Photo Stream can automatically fetch photos from the cloud, but there are two additional options to automatically import photos in Events, Photos, Faces and Places, and send all new photos from a Mac to iCloud. If Photo Stream photos are set to be automatically imported in Events, iPhoto will create single Photo Stream events as shown in the screenshot below; alternatively, users can also browse all photos in the Photos tab. Additionally, iPhoto will recognize Photo Stream items that have been already imported, and ask the user to edit the imported version upon trying to hit Edit in Photo Stream.

Photo Stream is located in iPhoto’s sidebar, and it offers the same set of controls of any album view. Users can play a slideshow of Photo Stream photos, zoom in/out, search, pinch to zoom, and quick look items by hitting the spacebar. An info panel on the right reveals additional metadata of a photo, such as location, size, file format and camera. Photo Stream items can be manually dragged out of iPhoto and onto the Finder – OS X will preserve the original file name, size, and metadata when copying photos from Photo Stream.

In my tests, iPhoto 9.2 has been fairly reliable at fetching photos and screenshots taken from an iPhone or iPad. On my home network, a photo snapped with an iPhone 4 (weighing 2 MB or less) would take around 20 seconds to appear on my Mac’s iPhoto; I assume on faster Internet connections an iPhone would take less to upload a new photo to iCloud, and even less seconds to push a photo back to the Mac.

iPhoto 9.2 is available now on Software Update. The new version is expected to be available shortly on the Mac App Store as well. You can find more iOS 5 coverage here. Read more


iOS 5: Notification Center

 

Notification Center is one of the key features of iOS 5, one that will profoundly change the way iPhone and iPad users approach the incoming stream of data and notifications on mobile devices. There is no doubt Notification Center is among the most anticipated new functionalities to land on iOS, but before we delve deeper into its advantages over the old notification system of iOS 4.x and its (very few) shortcomings, here’s a bit of background history that should better put Notification Center into context.

Looking at Notification Center now – and playing with it for at least a day – it’s clear the system is indisputably better than what we used to have on our devices in the pre-iOS 5 era. Criticized both by the tech press and average users alike, the old notifications had, really, one main problem: they became annoying with time. And by “became” I mean that they began to show their utter nature of a system built for non-connected applications as soon as the App Store turned into a platform for the always-on individual who’s constantly connected, even when he plays Angry Birds or is eating a new meal at a restaurant a friend suggested.

The old notifications were built for a different set of apps. Read more


iWork for iOS Updated with iCloud Integration

The iWork apps for iOS, available for the iPhone and iPad at $9.99 on the App Store, have been updated today with iCloud integration, which will allow users to store their documents in the cloud, and have changes pushed instantly to all their devices, as well as the iWork document interface on iCloud.com. You can find the updated versions of Pages, Numbers and Keynote in the App Store now.

I have been testing iCloud support in iWork for iOS in the weeks prior to iCloud’s launch, and it works flawlessly. As Apple demoed at WWDC in June, you can create a document on Pages for iPhone and that document will be stored in iCloud and pushed to other devices; as you start editing the document, changes will also be pushed to the cloud, and back to the devices configured with your iCloud account that have iWork installed. Unfortunately Apple isn’t providing a new version of iWork for OS X with iCloud support built-in, but users can visit iCloud.com to download and upload documents created with iWork on iOS. iCloud integration works with the folder-based system that was introduced in iWork for iOS earlier this year: you can create folders, and manage documents inside them.

iCloud makes it easy to move Pages, Keynote, and Numbers documents between your computer and your iOS devices. Just sign in to icloud.com/iwork in any modern web browser, and all your iWork for iOS documents will be there — complete with your most recent edits. Click a document to download it in iWork ’09, Microsoft Office, or PDF format. You can also drag and drop any iWork ’09 or Microsoft Office document from your computer into one of the iWork apps on icloud.com, and it automatically appears on all your iOS devices, ready for you to review, edit, or present.

Full changelogs below. Pages also received support for dictation through iOS 5 and iPhone 4S.

Keynote

  • Automatically store your presentations in iCloud and keep them up to date across all your iOS devices.
  • Download your presentations to a Mac or PC at icloud.com/iwork as Keynote ’09, PowerPoint, or PDF files.
  • Drag and drop Keynote ’09 or PowerPoint presentations to icloud.com from your Mac or PC to have them automatically appear on your iOS devices.
  • Use AirPlay to present wirelessly via Apple TV. Navigate slides, view presenter notes, and use the laser pointer while presenting from your iOS device.
  • New builds and transitions including Anvil, Blinds, Color Panes, Comet, Confetti, Diffuse, and Sparkle.
  • Advanced presentation controls including looped slideshows and autoplay.
  • Support for slide-to-slide hyperlinks.
  • Improved compatibility with Microsoft PowerPoint and Keynote ’09.
  • Includes improved support for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean language input.

Pages

  • Automatically store your documents in iCloud and keep them up to date across all your iOS devices.
  • Download your documents to a Mac or PC at icloud.com/iwork as Pages ’09, Word, or PDF files.
  • Drag and drop Pages ’09, Word, or plain text documents to icloud.com from your Mac or PC to have them automatically appear on your iOS devices.
  • Use your voice to create and edit Pages documents with dictation in iOS 5 on your iPhone 4S.
  • Create footnotes and endnotes in your documents.
  • View improved word counts with character, paragraph, and page counts.
  • Improved compatibility with Microsoft Word and Pages ’09.
  • Includes improved support for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean language input.

Numbers

  • Automatically store your spreadsheets in iCloud and keep them up to date across all your iOS devices.
  • Download your spreadsheets to a Mac or PC at icloud.com/iwork as Numbers ’09, Excel, or PDF files.
  • Drag and drop Numbers ’09, Excel, or CSV files to icloud.com from your Mac or PC to have them automatically appear on your iOS devices.
  • Use sliders, steppers, and pop-ups to easily enter data and explore results.
  • Use Merge Cells to format your tables.
  • Hide and show rows and columns.
  • Improved compatibility with Microsoft Excel and Numbers ’09.
  • Includes improved support for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean language input.

Thoughts On iOS 5

iOS 5, the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch released today, comes with more than 1,500 new developer APIs and over 200 new user features. In our iOS 5 coverage, we have chosen to focus on the key functionalities of the OS, while leaving room for the most visible subtle improvements that have made it through Apple’s new release as well.

On a simple checklist, iOS 5 is the widest, most extensive software update ever released by Apple for mobile devices since the original iPhone OS in 2007. Not even iPhone OS 3.2, then iOS, which shipped with the iPad in 2010 could claim to have the same amount of new technology, user interface, APIs, cloud features and overall reassessment of the platform that iOS 5 presents today. But in the past four years, we’ve come to learn a new Apple product – be it a device or a major software update – isn’t strictly about the number of new functionalities a user can spot, or the APIs a developer can implement in his code. Those things certainly contribute to the concept of “major release” by adding their sheer number of updates – they just don’t form the full picture.

In iOS 5, the 200 new features Apple’s Senior VP of iOS Software Scott Forstall announced at WWDC in June are the consequence of an operating system completely re-imagined around speed, efficiency and interconnectedness. These three principles, intrinsic foundation of Apple’s vision for iOS going forward, define iOS’ independency as a platform, and ecosystem.

A key term in Apple’s iOS 5 parlance is “quick”. In iOS 5, you can quickly tweet thanks to systemwide Twitter integration; create a new to-do from the Reminders app; activate the Camera from the Lock Screen; even access all your missed notifications with a single swipe on any screen. Speed is key to iOS 5: as Apple devices gain faster processors and more RAM, an OS that’s equally responsive and lets you perform common tasks in seconds is functional to the user experience. A device can get an infinite amount of hardware upgrades, but an OS that’s not meant for speed will never feel fast when it comes down to regular usage. Luckily, that’s not the case with iOS 5.

Alongside speed, Apple focused on making iOS a modern operating system that doesn’t require a PC to accomplish certain goals or perform functionalities usually associated to desktop computers. At WWDC, Forstall said they looked in every corner of the OS, and asked themselves how they could make iOS better by adding new powerful functionality, while keeping it fast and intuitive.

“There is a feature for everyone out there”.

So, for instance, iOS 5 gained the capability of managing calendars directly on the device: users can now add, rename, and delete calendars, as well as view event attachments and share calendars with friends and family through iCloud. Previously, a Mac or PC was required to do this. Looking at the various apps that come bundled with iOS, it’s clear Apple’s intention was to add functionalities in a way that wouldn’t compromise the overall experience’s ease of use. Safari received a substantial update, adding tabs on the iPad for better web browsing and Reading List to save webpages for later; Mail can now compose rich text styles and indent/outdent lines in a message; with iCloud documents & data for developers, Apple has paved the path towards a massive increase of apps that will be able to effortlessly push documents across iOS devices. A first example of this can be observed in Apple’s mobile iWork suite, which comes with iCloud support out of the box. There’s more: iOS devices can now sync wirelessly to iTunes, and they support over-the-air (OTA) software updates, meaning you’ll be able to download and install iOS 5.1 when it comes out directly from your iPhone or iPad. Users who sign up for iCloud can buy new storage (for a price) on device, choose which app libraries to back up to the cloud, and set up a new device without needing to activate it through iTunes on a Mac or PC. iOS 5 now lets you delete songs manually from the Music app, change a device’s name without iTunes, and even edit photos. On top of these new options, iOS 5 devices automatically back up and share the most recent photos with each other through iCloud’s Photo Stream, and it’s now possible to create and manage photo albums without having to switch to iPhoto on a Mac.

What’s worth noting about iOS 5 – basic concepts and 200 new features aside – is that while a general trend on desktop operating systems seems to be a heavy focus on removing functionalities, iOS keeps adding new ones. In fact, if you take Lion into consideration, iOS 5 is where Apple keeps adding features to the checklist, whereas Mac users have been found lamenting the removal of several of their favorite features on the latest OS X upgrade.

And, really, the reason is extremely simple: iOS is a different paradigm, one that gave Apple a fresh start four years ago and that is still allowing the company to experiment. The checklist doesn’t matter when an OS that keeps gaining features still doesn’t feel like it should be simplified.

If anything, iPhone and iPad users will start asking for more tomorrow.

What’s even more obvious to me is that iOS is starting to feel like a “connected OS” in its fifth version. Apple is “cutting the cord” under the large “PC Free” marketing umbrella that defines iOS’ independency from desktop computers, and for the first time iPhones and iPads are acting as devices fully aware of each other’s apps and data. The emblem of this renewed interconnectedness is iCloud: Apple’s new cloud service enables apps to push documents back and forth between devices, and it allows iPhones and iPads to manage their own cloud storage and the data that gets backed up to the cloud. Photo Stream connects a device’s recent photos with others’ camera rolls, and iTunes in the Cloud makes sure new and past purchases are immediately pushed on all your devices and always available for re-download, respectively.

For the first time in years, using and installing new apps doesn’t feel like adding new data silos to a confined environment. There’s still a long road to iOS apps’ full capability of “talking” to each other, but with iCloud now up and running, the task doesn’t seem as complex as it did yesterday.

iOS will never be “complete”.

In his WWDC keynote in June, Steve Jobs said: “You know, if the hardware is the brain and the sinew of our products, the software in them is their soul”. In Apple’s vision, a modern software – the “soul” of a device – is able to evolve and fit to the circumstances and change its behavior accordingly to new user requests, the app market, and third-party developers. The flexibility of iOS – and the reason Apple doesn’t care about legacy software as much as other companies do – can be easily spotted looking back at the original iPhone, or the first version of the App Store from 2008. iPhone OS was never “done”. The App Store itself was never 100% complete – the Store is just a showcase for an ever-changing landscape of mobile applications built on top of new technologies offered to developers. Yet sometimes those developers come up with new solutions to existing problems and better ways to improve the functionalities Apple gave them out of the box.

iOS, the App Store, the mobile ecosystem, the cloud, third-party developers – they’re all connected and, at the same time, independent from each other in a way that ensures evolution is consistent, but resilient.

That’s why iOS 5 is both a milestone and a starting point: it sets a new standard for developers who are now given access to thousands of new APIs, but it still lacks some functionalities that many will begin requesting tomorrow and, probably, Apple will deliver at its next WWDC keynote. You will hear about things such as better podcast and document management, streaming of music and movies through iCloud, iChat for iOS and Notification Center widgets throughout the next year. It’s just the way the iOS ecosystem works: as new technology comes around and it’s adopted by the users and developers, it’s time to start wondering about what’s next. About the direction the ecosystem needs to take to be stable, flourish, allure third-party app makers and, more importantly, evolve.

Today, there’s iOS 5. It’s fast, efficient and connected in a way that iOS 4 never was, and perhaps didn’t need to be – because it was too soon. As Apple begins to roll out its iCloud services and developers start writing new software that takes advantage of modern APIs and technologies, the next few months will prepare the road that will lead us to the introduction of iOS 6 next year. At the same time, users will get accustomed to the new functionalities of iOS 5, and a new breed of quick, productive and connected applications will rise on the App Store, eventually finding its way back to the Mac as it’s always done in the past years.

iOS 5: it just works - and now it does more.


Apple Releases OS X 10.7.2

As part of this week’s iOS 5 and iCloud rollout, Apple has released OS X 10.7.2, an update for OS X Lion users that brings full iCloud compatibility to the Mac, as well as various new features and bug fixes.

From the changelog:

The 10.7.2 update is recommended for all OS X Lion users and includes general operating system fixes that improve the stability, compatibility, and security of your Mac. It also includes support for iCloud, a breakthrough set of free cloud services that automatically and wirelessly store your content on iCloud and push it to all of your devices.

Getting started with iCloud is easy. After installing the update, OS X will automatically present an iCloud setup panel. Simply enter an existing Apple ID or create a new one and then follow the on screen instructions. To learn more about iCloud visit http://www.apple.com/icloud.

With 10.7.2, Apple is now allowing Lion machines to integrate with iCloud for email, calendars, contacts, Safari bookmarks and Reading List; these items will automatically be stored in the cloud, and pushed across all your devices. As Apple previous detailed in the iCloud transition Q&A, some features of the old MobileMe service have been maintained in iCloud, such as Back to My Mac (remote access to a Mac from another Mac on the Internet) and Find My Mac, a new feature integrated with Find My iPhone that will allow Mac users to find a missing Mac by locating it on a map through iCloud.com or the Find My iPhone app. Find My Mac works similarly to its iOS counterpart in that owners of a stolen or missing Mac can locate it, track it, and send messages to the Mac’s screen remotely. It’s also possible to lock a Mac and remotely wipe it. Read more


Apple Releases iOS 5 [Direct Links]

Apple today released iOS 5, a major update for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch that adds over 200 new user features including Notification Center, iMessage, iCloud support and PC Free. iOS 5 is now available for download in iTunes; to install the new software on your iOS device, connect it to iTunes via USB and “Check for Updates” in the device’s info screen.

Originally previewed and seeded to developers at WWDC in June, iOS 5 is a major update that enables developers to implement thousands of new APIs to take advantage of Apple’s latest technologies in their apps. Apple has already started approving third-party apps built for iOS 5, with several of them available in the App Store today. iOS 5 introduces new functionalities like Notification Center, a new systemwide interface for keeping track of missed notifications; iMessage, a free text messaging solution for iOS 5 users; Twitter integration built into Safari, Photos, YouTube and Maps; iCloud, a new cloud service that automatically stores your content and wirelessly pushes it to all your devices, including Macs and PCs. iCloud, expected to roll out today as well, will allow users to keep their contacts, calendars, bookmarks, mail, notes and more in sync across multiple devices; the service is integrated into iOS apps and comes with a web counterpart available at iCloud.com.

Other features of iOS 5 include Mail and Safari improvements, a new camera button in the Lock Screen, AirPlay Mirroring to an Apple TV and a systemwide split keyboard to make it easier to type on the iPad.

For a complete overview of the new features of iOS 5, iCloud and editorial pieces on today’s software updates, visit this page on MacStories.

iOS 5 direct download links: