• Notification Center: Probably the most significant improvement to iOS. The notifications definitely remind you of Android, but are more informative and practical.
  • Lock Screen Notifications: Another feature “borrowed” from other platforms. Windows Mobile did this and so does Symbian, but again, Apple did it better.
  • Better Facetime and Over 3g!! Here is something I missed. iOS5 has enhanced video quality for Facetime calls and will now work on 3G and not just Wifi. Of course, with Microsoft having bought Skype, Apple realized they need to get with the times and offer 3G video calling.
  • iMessage: Free messaging for all 200 million iOS devices.
  • Reminders: A much needed task management system for iOS, Reminders is location sensitive and allows you to configure your reminders as you see fit. Well designed and thought out.
  • Twitter Integration: Twitter is now integrated across the entire iOS and enables you to tweet a photo, article or pretty much anything else that would be relevant for your Twitter followers. The Twitter integration also makes use of the new Twitter photo service, another interesting feature.
  • Camera: The enhancements to the camera app are huge. It is faster, includes Auto Focus, Auto Exposure, as well as the ability to open the camera from the Lock Screen.
  • Photo Editing: The new OS has the ability to perform basic photo editing on the device itself. It is basic but includes red eye removal, rotate photo, enhance photo, as well as crop photo. All works perfectly.
  • Safari Reader: A great new addition to Safari is the ability to view any article you are reading in a “Reader” environment. It basically presents the content in a cleaner and more readable way without the ads that appear on the site and all the clutter. Of course, you can also share the article on Twitter or email from within the reader.
  • PC Free: (NO USB Cable) There is nothing more frustrating than buying a shiny new iPhone or iPad and not being able to use until you connect it to iTunes. No longer, now you can activate and start using your iOS device without ever seeing a computer or USB cable. A much needed functionality.
  • Mail: The new Mail app has a whole bunch of new features, such as rich text formatting, dragging names within the various fields, searching the body of emails, and many more.
  • Wifi Sync: When you connect your iOS device to a power source to charge, it wirelessly syncs with the iTunes on your Wifi network. This is a HUGE improvement and something most iOS users have been waiting for for a long long time.
  • Accessibility: The new Accessibility options make it easier for the visually or hearing impaired to use their iOS device. The new features include custom vibrations, voice over improvements, as well as Led flash for incoming calls or messages.
  • Camera from Lock Screen: We mentioned this above as well, but you can now open your camera directly from the lock screen and with the new enhanced camera, the delay is minimal. iOS5 now enables you to minimize the photos you would have missed due to a slower load up time or less access to the camera app.
  • Pinch to Zoom: This is kind of obvious but with the new camera, you can pinch to zoom. Not much else to say.
  • Swipe Left on Camera to Open Photos: Again, a very obvious addition to the OS. Swipe left within the camera and open up the Camera Roll.
  • OTA Software Updates: Remember all those sleepless nights spent updating your iOS version? Well, now it is all over the air and you can enjoy a more seamless and hassle-free software upgrade process.
  • Delta Updates: Not only is updating your iOS version done wirelessly, from now on, you will not need to replace the whole OS but rather update the existing OS with the new features. This means the download and installation process should be significantly shorter.
  • Downloaded Apps: I actually noticed this new screen prior to updating to iOS5, so I am not sure if it is part of the OS or iCloud. Now you can access all the apps you downloaded from within the App Store on your device. That means you can always install any app you want from your libary onto your device and it means all your apps are not backed up, so they are save from deletion.
  • LED Flash: Part of the Accessibility options, you can now configure your phone to activate the LED flash on the back when a new message arrives. This is yet again, a feature found on other platforms, namely BlackBerry.
  • Videos App: I have to say, this was a little confusing before. If you have ever searched for videos on your iPhone, you surely did not understand why you had to open the iPod app. Now, the iPhone has a unique Videos app. Small but meaningful addition.
  • Weather per Location: Now the Weather app has hourly updates for your location and it appears on the notification screen (unless you remove it). This is a nice new feature that I will use regularly.
  • Background Sync: A few days ago, I tweeted something about iTunes taking forever to sync. Someone responded that they can call me and make the whole thing start again. iTunes sync used to make the device unusable until it completed the process, something that often took a long time. With iOS5, iTunes sync happens in the background and you can use the device while it syncs.
  • Space Usage: A nice new screen that enables you to see which apps are taking up the most amount of storage. You can also see certain files if they are supported by the OS.
  • Dictionary: An integrated dictionary, which enables you to define words in real time. Some claim this new feature will kill off many 3rd party dictionary apps.
  • Keyboard Customized Shortcuts: Yet another new feature buried deep in the OS, you can set certain shortcuts that when typed, will automatically complete the word. For example, type “TY” and the phone will then type “Thank you”. This is great for people that type long emails or documents on their iOS device.

iPad Features:

  • 1080p Playback: Of course, the iPad cannot play 1080p on the screen but you can now output the video to a larger screen.
  • Split Keyboard: A nice new addition to the iPad keyboard, which will enable you to type much easier with your thumbs.
  • Tabbed Browsing: Not sure why Apple could not include this on the iPhone as well, but now Safari has the full tabbed browsing experience we all know and love from the world of the desktop.
  • Airplay Mirroring (iPad 2): Anything and everything you do on your iPad 2 can now be mirrored onto an HDTV in the room. This includes rotations, genstures, and video content.
  • Swipe up for Multitasking Bar: A new and intuitive multitouch gesture enables you to swipe up with four fingers to reveal the multitasking bar.
  • Calendar Year View: In addition to the daily, weekly, and monthly views, you can now get a wider perspective on your calendar with the yearly view.
  • Enhanced Music App: A more designed and streamlined music app for iPad.