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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  • lurker22 - Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - link

    I disagree. Anecdotal reports better antennae reception in the 4s over the 4. Also the internals are almost completely different between the 4 and the 4s.
  • Andrew Rockefeller - Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - link

    ...but then again, I come here for the info that I don't/can't get elsewhere. Is there really any need for yet another review on a spec bump? What magical new insight could be added to the dearth of info already available??
  • uhuznaa - Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - link

    Well, reliable comparisons of battery life and antenna performance would be good start.
  • LordSojar - Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - link

    It's the Android notification system we've had for years with a few minor tweaks. Wow, Apple sure is revolutionary.

    Why isn't Google suing them again? Oh right, because Google aren't a**holes... my bad.
  • uhuznaa - Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - link

    I thought Android was "open" and even GPL/Apache licensed? Hard to sue anyone doing what the license allows them to do, really.
  • lurker22 - Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - link

    Oh please just stop already it's getting old.
  • name99 - Thursday, October 20, 2011 - link

    "Why isn't Google suing them again? Oh right, because Google aren't a**holes... my bad."

    Presumably because Google don't have a patent on the idea. Why not?
    Maybe there is prior art? Maybe Google just didn't get a patent?

    Either way, throwing out random statements as you are doing is not informative. The law has its flaws, but it's not just a popularity contest. If you have something useful to say about the legal issues go right ahead, but what you have said is not helpful, implying as it does that Google would never sue over patents. To take an example, if someone started copying pagerank or the adwords system, I expect Google would be suing them the next day.
  • Yann Bodson - Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - link

    The music app new design is inspired by the old Braun vinyl players.
  • cjs150 - Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - link

    There is a lot to admire about the new OS, and to be fair to Apple, the iPhone has been the class of the field since it first came out.

    Problem is that the field has raised their game. The rest of the field has no hang ups about making sure their phone works well with lots of software not just "Apple approved" products - particularly Microsoft products (I am not going to start on the Flash argument - lets just say it is an example of the closed universe that Apple wants).

    Simple fact is the overwhelming majority of businesses run Microsoft products and in particular Outlook and exchange servers. If Anandtech cannot the iOS 5 calender to work with Outlook consistently what hope is there for the rest of us.

    Great as a home phone, fantastic for kids. No better than B+ for business

    More positively I really like the Apple philosphy of getting all their mobile products working the same way, there will be loads of people with mobile phones and iPads and an MP3 player of some sort. I would take issue with the idea that make OS upgrades "PC free" is a novel concept. The iPad 2 probably has more processing power than the office machine I used 7 years ago, so the concept that freeing updates from the PC is revolutionary is feeble. The real question is why did it take so long to achieve such an obvious step.
  • steven75 - Monday, October 31, 2011 - link

    Funny because many of here at this Exchange shop use iPhones with our work email just fine, calendar and all. In fact, it works quite nicely.

    We have our choice of company phones and it's extremely rare for anyone to pick anything but an iPhone. I'm sure that would be different if it didn't play so nicely with Exchange.

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