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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  • myxiplx - Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - link

    Just a note, my 3GS is far more responsive since installing IOS 5 than it's been for years. It's not just application launch times, popups, and notifications are a lot snappier, there's a definite reduction in the lag that's been creeping up over the last year.
  • lurker22 - Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - link

    Wow, I have found it lags a bit more than ios4
  • kmmatney - Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - link

    I'm still running iOS 4.0 (can't upgrade easily due to jailbreak for tethering) and its not all that bad once you disable Spotlight search. I'm hoping they have an untethered Jailbreak for iOS 5 soon, though.
  • lurker22 - Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - link


    Surprised you missed this large flaw. iPads will not receive iMessages sent to your cellular number, just iMessages sent to the email addresses setup in the iMessage account.

    This is a huge flaw. What has already happened to me is people using their iPads have missed messages for many hours since they were addressed to the cell number and this then isn't devlivered to the iPads.

    Why would apple miss this huge functionality gap? It means now I have to remember to send iMessages to email addresses to be sure the person will see it in a timely fashion.
  • Aikouka - Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - link

    That explains why I never saw any of the "iMessages" that a friend sent me the other day. I was wondering why they didn't show up when I poked around the Messaging app on my iPad. I assumed all you had to do was sign into the same iMessage account to share everything.
  • Brian Klug - Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - link

    That's all you have to do for things to work, however there's a catch that I mention - both devices have to be configured to have the same iMessage "Caller ID." This is why the default Caller ID is set to the iMessage "Apple ID" email account, and also the other catch is that your sender has to then be talking with that contact.

  • windywoo - Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - link

    If Apple is just now implementing features that have been around on other phones why do their products always get such high scores in reviews? Why is it acceptable for Apple to trail in features while Android handsets will be marked down if there happens to be a flicker in the animations? Don't tell me it's because Apple does it so much better because that's subjective at best, and to my mind dishonest.
    All the features implemented here fix major usability flaws in iOS that really contradict the general view that Apple's products are the easiest to use, but for some reason Apple has got a pass from reviewers like some favoured, hobbit haired child.
    I would like to see fewer double standards. We are talking about a capitalist, profit driven corporation, I think they can stand to be handled a little less gently.
  • lurker22 - Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - link

    Here's why
  • windywoo - Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - link

    That article is a prime example of what I'm talking about. Subjectives passed off as objectives. Until recently the android browser was ahead in any benchmarks yet he claims it's slow. And in any case, Android gives a choice of browser if there are any rendering errors. Safari is not without its own flaws, and when it does go wrong you're stuck, because Apple doesn't allow other browsers.

    He finds Widgets useless, but doesn't appreciate that other people might not and Android allows them the freedom to spend battery juice on trinkets like live wallpaper if they so choose. Why is it that Apple users always consider it an advantage to have Apple make decisions for them and will pay over the odds to be nannied?

    The market argument is almost entirely irrelevant. Let's leave aside the fact that he can't have looked very closely if he thinks there is no software on the Android market, the same argument used to be addressed at Macs. Apple fans would claim then that the quantity didn't matter so long as the major functions were there. Apps are a con anyway. If consumers weren't so gullible, many of them could be written as web apps, making platform irrelevant. But consumers are dumb. They like being fed nuggets of code like junk food.

    He lists the good things at the end so why does he consider them less important than what he sees as faults? The answer is of course, fawning subservience to the mighty Apple.
  • Phynaz - Tuesday, October 18, 2011 - link

    Who told you Apple doesn't allow other browsers. I've tried at least three alternatives, and my current browser is Atomic.

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