Multitouch Updates

iOS 5 brings a pretty decent list of user experience changes with it. On the more minor side are things like being able to delete individual calls from the iPhone’s recent calls list instead of clearing the entire list and now being able to make FaceTime calls without a SIM card inserted. A bigger one is being able to use your iDevice while it is plugged in and syncing to the computer - gone are the days of waiting 15 minutes for the backup to complete and the changes to reconcile before you could call or text someone.

The iPad has gotten a few more meaningful UX updates than the smaller devices. The integration of more gesture-based computing models is pretty evident throughout the entire OS, not just the multitouch gestures highlighted in the settings (iPad 2 only, sorry early adopters!) The multitouch ones use four or five fingers - swipe up to see the multitasking bar (read: task manager), swipe down again to get rid of it, swipe right or left to switch between various apps, pinch to return to the home screen. You can find swipe-based gestures in other places too: the mail app, for example. In portrait mode, swipe left to bring up the inbox sidebar. In Calendar, swipe left or right to change months. In the “Now Playing” part of the music app, swipe right or left on the album art to change songs. The gestures are all pretty well integrated and make it such that you can basically avoid touching the home button at all. A big benefit of avoiding the home button is switching between apps is now a much quicker affair, taking another step towards embracing productivity on the iPad.

Keyboard Updates

The iPad now has a new split keyboard option - pull the keyboard apart or swipe it upwards, and the entire thing splits in two. It’s meant to be like a QWERTY thumb keyboard split for each hand, like a UMPC (if anyone else remembers those). It’s useful for when you’re standing up and have nothing to support the iPad on when you’re trying to type. In addition, it’s now possible to undock the standard QWERTY keyboard and move it up or down the screen. I’ve personally never been inclined to make use of the undocked keyboard, but I’m sure there is a use case in which it makes sense. 

AirPlay Mirroring Music and Mail
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  • willstay - Monday, October 24, 2011 - link

    Exactly. Few of my friends complain that if they miss that email chirp, and that email notifications do not show upfront, they are going to have to actually run the email app to see if there are new emails (or remember unread counter from previous).

    LED notification is better suited for this kind of notification. Unfortunately my phone doesn't have one but comes with amoled screen and there I found free app that actually displays contact pic of person I missed call/text/email/yahoo/viber/whatsapp from. A quick glance from afar and I know if I missed anything.
  • steven75 - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    While I sympathize with your issue, I've been an iPhone user since 2007 and not even a single time has this been a problem for me.

    The fact is, my phone lives in my pocket even while at home. If I'm the shower, the phone is on the counter in the bathroom, usually because I'm listening to music or a podcast on it.
  • sigmatau - Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - link

    I for one will never, ever install one more piece of Apple software on my "PC". They can thank itunes (and quicktime) for that. Buggy, almost malware-like acting crap.
  • Stuka87 - Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - link

    Go away troll. If you don't care for Apple, don't bother commenting on an Apple article.
  • The0ne - Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - link

    I totally agree with you. What we need is segregation, a separation of Windows and Mac users. Screw the Linux users cause really they suck anyways. I'll go as far as to suggest we segregate idiots from average to knowledgeable users as well. All future reviews and articles should specify exactly what type of users should be allow. We all know people don't cross-platform use PCs, less know about them and the apps.

    Doing it this way it would be way way more fair. I'm serious, lets do it!
  • sigmatau - Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - link

    LOL why? Maybe they will rethink their magic and make it more magical! I'm so glad to get rid of my 3gs for a GS2.

    I've owned computers for almost 20 years. In all that time, I have never, ever used software that blatently prevented simple common sense functions. I guess it is Apples form of computer DRM.
  • simi13 - Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - link

    I only use iTunes for music, on Windows.
  • Shadowmaster625 - Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - link

    Well... itunes is pretty godawful.
  • Bansaku - Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - link

    Uhm, I have been using iTunes, Safari, Quicktime and Software update in Windows since XP, and have found it to be 100% stable, NO bugs, and works like it does on my iMac. I call BS, Troll!
  • anubis44 - Saturday, October 22, 2011 - link

    MobiusStrip, your point is well-taken. It would be nice for Apple to make incessant missed call bitching an option, but I take issue with your attitude. Only an a$$hole needs other people and machines to prod them in the a$$ every 5 minutes to do things. Try taking responsibility and check your godam phone for messages after your shower/bubble bath/whatever. No wonder the Chinese are leaving the West in their dust. With such lazy a$$holes like you being broadly representative of our spoiled, self-entitled civilization. Try being pro-active and less reactive in your life and you'll see amazing things happen before you know it.

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