Apple Unveils iOS 5

CUPERTINO, Calif. — Apple unveiled iOS 5 today showcasing new features for the company’s iPhone 4, iPad and iPod Touch wireless devices.

Apple senior vice president Scott Forstall made the announcements at the company's 2011 Worldwide Developers Conference.

Among the most notable developments is a new WiFi feature that allows iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices to be activated, synced and updated via a wireless connection, ending the need to be connected to a computer. Up until now a user had to run iTunes in order to sync and backup data or download and install system updates."

iOS 5 also introduced a new messaging app called iMessage that sends encrypted texts, photos, videos, contacts, and allows for group messaging to all iOS devices over both WiFi and 3G networks.

iMessage includes new features like delivery receipts, read receipts, and indicaties when contacts are typing back to the user.

The new system now includes a single source “Notification Center” that replaces the current system of pop-up menus, badge icons and sounds. The center can be accessed from any screen by swiping a finger downward. Once notifications are read they can be cleared by hitting the "x" button on the list.

A Newsstand feature brings together magazine subscriptions into a central place with a  bookshelf app icon. Once an item is bought it’s delivered in the background, eliminating the need to manually grab them.

Users can now post photos to Twitter without leaving the image gallery or camera application and be able to tweet directly from YouTube, Safari and Maps. The app will be integrated with the user's contact list.

The Safari web browser gets a reader feature that puts poorly-formatted pages into an RSS-like view. Users can also email the entire text of a story from Safari, bookmarks can be added to a "reading list" and the iPad gets tabbed browsing.

Multiple lists with dates for each event and categorized reminders by location are now available with a Reminders app. Reminders can sync on iCal on the Mac with CalDAV and on Windows with MS Exchange.

A Camera shortcut in iOS 5 will now immediately launch the camera, even bypassing the lock code. In addiiton, the volume control can be used to snap photos. The app also includes grid lines, pinch to zoom, and the ability to change the exposure and add granular controls. New editing functions now allow cropping, rotation red eye reduction.

The iOS5 Mail app adds rich text formatting, indent, the ability to drag addresses between to, cc and bcc lines and flagging of messages. Search within messages has been added in addition to the “from,” “to” and “subject” lines.

The Game Center app is getting more social allowing users to share member photos, see friends of friends, recommend friends and games and compare themselves against friends using achievement points. Game Center also offers built-in support for turn-based games.

These announcements are part of 200 promised features that will also include AirPlay mirroring to TVs, Wi-Fi iTunes sync, multitouch gestures to flick between apps, a new iPad Music app, personal dictionary support, hourly weather forecasts, typing shortcuts, alternate routes in maps, voiceover options, wireless sync for exchange tasks, FaceTime mid-call invitation alerts, improved FaceTime video quality, mass configuration, real-time stock quotes, custom vibration patterns, accessible input for mobility, improved offline support in Mail, voiceover item chooser, an option to speak text, the ability to set tones for voicemail, mail and calendar alerts.