Apple will release its latest, most advanced, mobile operating system, iOS 5 on October 12 [Update: It’s available right now].
Current iOS owners will be able to download the free upgrade via the iTunes Store, by connecting to their Mac or PC and following instructions on the iTunes site. Once completed, users will never have to plug into their computers again, as one of the key features of iOS 5 is device independence, meaning no more tethering to a desktop for updates. In addition to this, the upgrade will bring 200 new features and updates to devices running the latest platform.
As Apple execs highlighted at the company’s press conference last week, a select group of these improvements stick out among the rest. With the new iMessage, users will be able to instant message – déjà BBM – friends with devices running the latest OS, in addition they will be able to recognize when a message is delivered and read. Notification alerts will appear differently, with users having to swipe down from the top of the screen to view them, an action identical to the setup on Android.
For those looking for social integration, Twitter is deeply incorporated in the OS, allowing users to share pictures right from Photos. A newsstand has also been added, supporting background downloading and offering manageable subscription options within the hub. The $24.99 – a – year iTunes Match service, which scans your music library, adding some goodies from iTunes and uploading anything that isn’t already in iTunes, will also be available through the upgrade to iOS 5. The camera app, Game Center, Mail and Safari browser have all received a face-lift as well from the update, providing users greater ease when using such functions.
The new operating system will be the first platform to run Apple’s new cloud infrastructure, iCloud. Once plugged into a power source, iCloud syncs all documents, apps, calendars, mail, contacts, photos and music to all of the user’s remaining iOS devices. A free service, with users getting an initial 5GB of space, iCloud offers customers the option of more storage, but for a price. Upgrades to 10, 20 and 50GB will be available for $20, $40 and $100 per year, respectively.
This will be the first product launch from the Cupertino company since the passing of its CEO Steve Jobs. The iOS 5 update will be compatible with the iPad and iPad 2, along with the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S and iPod touch. Check back here for a first-look review of what Apple’s latest operating system really looks like.