Photo: Dan Frommer, Business Insider
I’ve spent a week with the beta version of iOS 5 on my iPhone 4.Bottom line: I still think it’s awesome. And still the best mobile OS around by a longshot.
But that doesn’t mean it’s without flaws. Apple neglected to announce several features we were hoping for such as voice control and better multitasking.
The following is everything I like (and don’t like) about iOS so far.
Notifications are the best thing to happen to iOS since copy/paste. One of my biggest reasons for jailbreaking my iPhone was to stop those annoying badges from popping up. The new notifications are unobtrusive and functional. And I love that you can open directly into Twitter, SMS, etc. directly from the lock screen.
Unfortunately, all those great notifications come at a cost: battery life. Before loading the beta, I was able to get more than a day's use out of my iPhone 4. Now I'm lucky to have a 30% charge by 6 p.m. Since iOS 5 is still in better, there's a good chance power management will get better before the final release.
Right now there are only two widgets available in iOS 5's Notification centre: Weather and Stocks. Both are made by Apple, and are relatively useful. But I hope Apple allows third parties to start adding widgets here too.
I've been downloading apps from the App Store since it first launched in 2008. Over the years I've amassed hundreds tied to my account. Most have been forgotten or deleted. Now iOS 5 (actually, iOS 4.3, too) gives me iCloud access to every app I've ever downloaded in one list.
There are some reports that you can even download apps that have since been removed from the App Store, but I have yet to get that to work.
I absolutely love that I can back up my phone's settings to iCloud without plugging it in to my computer. Anyone who has synced with iTunes after a long hiatus knows it can take 20 minutes or more to get everything synced up.
That's no longer a problem. I can sync everything over Wi-Fi with the tap of a button.
One problem, though: It's supposed to backup automatically when charging and connected to Wi-Fi, but that's not working for me.
I only know one other person who has the iOS 5 beta right now, so I have limited experience using iMessage. But if it works like it should, I feel pretty luck to have a bunch of friends and family with iPhones. Say goodbye to my unlimited texting plan.
I've had a horrible time getting a bunch of my apps to play nice with iOS 5. Dropbox crashes whenever I try to upload files. Tiny Wings chokes. (Don't judge me). This won't be a problem for the average Joe once iOS 5 officially launches as developers will be able to tweak their apps before then.
I love tweeting links to articles I read. But since I do most of my reading on my iPad, I tend to skip that because it's a pain to copy the link, open twitter, paste, and tweet. With iOS 5's built-in Twitter integration I can share without leaving Safari.
On the other hand, I don't see myself using it as much for photos and video. I still prefer Instagram and YouTube.
I still think Instapaper is superior to Apple's new offline Reader. Not necessarily because of function, but because of design. Instapaper looks and feels better than Reader, and there's no way I'm going to stop using it.
If you are relatively new to iOS, you won't notice a huge difference in iOS 5. It's not the drastic change many were predicting. It's evolutionary, not revolutionary. Still, I think iOS 5 is the best mobile OS by a longshot.
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