(Photos property of the Wired Gadget Lab)
By Andrew Liszewski
If you aren’t holed up in a log cabin without internet access today, and have at least a passing interest in technology, you’re probably already aware that Apple’s 2001 WWDC keynote just wrapped up. And while we don’t cover software that often, we do like it when firmware updates make an existing device even better. And the new iOS 5 looks to do just that. The biggest update, that users will be able to get their hands on later this year, is a completely revamped notification system. Current iPhone users know that getting a txt message or notification in the middle of playing a game or watching a movie can be rather annoying and jarring. But under iOS 5 those notifications will make a subtle appearance at the top of your screen, allowing you to see more on a central Notification Screen page with a swipe, or just ignore them and they’ll disappear momentarily.
Twitter is also now tightly integrated into iOS, allowing you to sign in on the Settings page (independently of the official Twitter app) so that you can post content from various iOS apps without having to jump around or copy and paste items. And speaking of apps, Safari is now getting tabbed navigation which is an extremely welcome addition. And the simple Camera app now seems a lot more like the third-party Camera+ with AE/AF lock, basic photo editing like cropping, rotating and red-eye reduction, pinch to zoom on the viewfinder and FINALLY, using the Volume+ hardware button as a shutter. Sorry, Red Pop…
Other updates that caught our eye include a new split keyboard for the iPad that makes it easier to thumb type when holding the device in two hands. Reminders which lets you create lists and to-dos which will probably see Simplenote’s popularity drop dramatically. And a new iMessage app that uses Apple’s new messaging service so it works between all iOS devices including the iPad and the iPod Touch. Like BBM it also provides delivery and read receipts, real-time ‘typing’ updates, group messages and of course the ability to share multimedia content like photos. And last but certainly not least, updating and syncing will finally be facilitated over wi-fi if you don’t want to keep tethering your device to your PC, or don’t have one to tether to in the first place.