Safari, iMessage, Wi-Fi Sync, Keyboard Shortcuts, Over-the-air Updates
6. Improved Safari
Safari gets a facelift with iOS 5, with the most obvious aesthetic change from a new Reader option on the address bar. Pressing it will give you the same article sans the clutter (read: no ads), so that you can focus on what matters most, which is the text.
Also new is Reading List; this gives you the option to save the web page you’re visiting for viewing at a later time when you have the opportunity to read through it in detail.
And for iPad users, you’ll also enjoy tabbed browsing with iOS 5. Apple isn't exactly a trendsetter here, since the feature has already been seen on other platforms such as Google’s Android Honeycomb tablets. Still, it is a feature that is much appreciated for those who surf multiple pages on-the-move.
Integrated deep within iOS 5’s messaging app, iMessage makes it easy for iOS users to simply send an instant message using the device's data connectivity without going into a separate app. But more importantly, if you own both an iPhone and an iPad, iMessage gives you the option to reply to other iOS users on their iPhones with the use of your iPad.
And how do you differentiate between a normal text message, against an iMessage? Simply look at the color code on your contact and the send button. Green indicates that you are sending a cellular text message to your contact, and if your contact is currently logged onto iMessage, you’ll see both the contact and send buttons turning blue.
What’s our opinion of iMessage? It could take a while, but iOS users will probably favor this over the current instant messaging favorite, WhatsApp. While WhatsApp is a cross-platform messaging service that spans RIM’s BlackBerry OS, Microsoft Windows Phone and even Symbian, would it still be as viable when it loses a huge chunk of users to iMessage? Probably not.
8. iTunes Wi-Fi Sync
Goodbye wires. Well, not exactly. Your new iPhone will be physically connected to the charger via the USB cable. But ultimately, the real benefit of iTunes Wi-Fi Sync comes from the fact that you can just leave your iPhone or iPad anywhere (for example, on the kitchen counter top), and yet constantly connected and synchronized with iTunes on your desktop.
And that’s what really matters to us – keeping our desks clear of unsightly wires connecting devices all over the place.
9. Keyboard Shortcuts
If you’re as nitpicky as we are when it comes to getting words such as “tomorrow” fully spelled out, but finding yourself short on time, keyboard shortcuts (think of it as text expansion) is a much welcomed addition.
Long words that are time-consuming to fully type out are now given an option to be displayed by simply typing the abbreviation associated with it. You’ll still need to assign the specific shortcuts to the actual words, and this is an exercise that will require much effort during the initial stages.
But take heed: this won’t save you from amusing (and sometimes awkward) text messages thanks to the autocomplete function on iOS. That is more of a user problem for not checking through your messages.
10. Over-the-air Updates
In line with its wireless concept, iOS 5 has introduced over-the-air updates; more importantly, these are delta updates. That means, update file sizes will be drastically reduced, and you'll be notified (via a badge on the Settings app) when there's a new update.
If you’ve experienced the horror of seeing your iTunes downloading an update file that has a file size of a few hundred megabytes, you’ll understand the significance of this new feature.