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
Comments Locked


View All Comments

  • name99 - Wednesday, October 19, 2011 - link

    Unfortunately, iMessage still isn’t a clean break since it’s limited to the confines of iDevices (and not even the desktop, yet), and it’s no way to make friends to tell people they’ll need at least an iPod Touch to text you.

    It's worth remembering that Apple also did not say, on day one, that FaceTime would be available on desktops. In fact they announced
    - FaceTime for Phones in June 2010.
    - FaceTime for iPods in Sept 2010.
    - FaceTime for Macs in Oct 2010.

    I'd say, given the FaceTime experience, there is no reason to assume iMessage for Macs won't appear as soon as Apple feels the time is appropriate. (Who knows when that will be, but it will probably be thrown into, to spice up some Mac related announcements, rather than just appearing silently in OSX update 10.7.3).

    The limitation to the Apple world may be a bigger hassle longterm, at least in terms of wanting to avoid SMS charges. I guess if you have lots of non-Apple using friends, you need to stick with Viber and suchlike.

    The REAL attack on the telcos comes when
    - FaceTime offers a voice-only mode AND
    - Apple offers VoIP transport to foreign numbers (like Skype does)
    My guess is Apple has plans for both of these, but they'll be introduced at the point where the Telcos no longer have the power to screw Apple over (which Apple probably feels requires a larger critical mass of customers than they have today).
  • alpha754293 - Thursday, October 20, 2011 - link

    How does the new iOS affect battery life?
  • techloverLA - Thursday, October 20, 2011 - link


    I own a Mac that recently got the iCloud upgrade. I turned it on and registered a new .me ID just to try it out for fun. Later when I turned it off, it gave me the message that "turning off iCloud will delete all iCloud data from the Mac. User can still access iCloud data with other iDevices." That scared me a bit, as I thought all my calendar/contacts on my Mac will get deleted. I logged on to and found nothing has been sync'd, so I went ahead and turned iCloud off. Nothing happened to my existing data on Mac. However this makes me wonder, does turning off iCloud wipe off data from the advices? I don't own an iPhone, but am considering one. However I don't want to have to delete data from my device should I choose not to use iCloud. Do you find that true in your test? Thanks.
  • RosiePerkins - Friday, October 21, 2011 - link

    I think that if you are so pedantic as to worry about mising calls constantly. Or enough to be thrown by the fact there is no 'repetitive and annoying' alerts, then you should either get into a habit of constantly checking your phone. Which you would be if people were ringing you so often that you always miss calls or text messages.

    You're being rather lazy by expecting a feature in an already highly advanced phone to compensate for you not wanting to hit the wake button. If you are then unsatisfied with the way you have to wake your iPhone now and then maybe you should reconsider ever having it leave your person. This way there is no need for features that would cause stress for every one else around you.
  • IndyJaws - Saturday, October 22, 2011 - link

    Thank you for one one of the most thorough recaps/reviews I've seen on iOS 5 - excellent work!

    One thing I'll share with others at the risk of looking stupid...I couldn't figure out why iTunes kept launching on my 2 computers for no reason at all (phone was not connected at the time). I'd shut it down and it'd start back up, seemingly randomly, from time to time. Silly me, I had iTunes configured to sync to iCloud, but to still launch iTunes when the iPhone was connected. So...the wireless sync would kick in (at intervals much more frequently than I would have expected), causing iTunes to launch. Clearing that checkbox fixed the issue. Just an FYI in case anyone else runs into the same issue - I'm sure there are others, but not willing to admit it!
  • mashimaroo - Tuesday, November 1, 2011 - link

    Mirroring in the iphone 4s and ios5 makes doing presentations on my iphone so much easier. I can simply connect it with a vga connector or a/v connector to my aaxa p4 pico projector and im good to go. I can use whatever docs goodreader or keynote. i can even play games with it and stop staring at my tiny phone screen.

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now