Apple just made iOS 5 available to iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users. iOS 5 is a massive upgrade for Apple’s mobile operating system, adding a ton of new features and enhancements to the already solid iOS.
I have been using iOS 5 since it arrived in beta early this summer. Over the past four months, I’ve watched it mature. The final release is one of Apple’s most polished yet. Building on the foundation of iOS 4 and iOS 4.2, iOS 5 feels like a fully-rounded product.
For end users, many of the new features are bundled under the hood. The basic user interface is the same, but some aspects have been refined and reconfigured.
The biggest new feature is the notification system. Apple has taken some cues from Android and delivered a notification system that should leave users frustrated with the old system satisfied. Furthermore, Apple has made sensible refinements to the way notifications are delivered and how they appear while users are in other apps.
Twitter is now integrated into iOS 5 at the system level. You can install the app directly from the Settings panel and send tweets from within apps like Maps, Photos and Safari.
Apple has also released iMessage, which is a lot like the popular RIM service BlackBerry Messenger for iOS users. This allows users to send MMS-style messages to other iOS users using their email address. It’s what other group text message services have been using for several years, but this time it is integrated directly into iOS.
The process of taking and editing photos also got a major overhaul. Not only can users now access the camera button directly from the lock screen (and take pictures using the volume buttons), the photo-editing capabilities within the app are simply fantastic. Cropping, rotating and removing red eye is easy to do from a phone or iPad. Edited photos can then be easily tweeted, emailed, sent via text or shared on iMessages.
A must-have for all iPad, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and iPod touch users, iOS 5 delivers on its promises to bring a more robust experience. Will you be downloading it today? Let us know in the comments.