After reviewing material from the WWDC 2011 Conference and many new features and updates (covered in a moment) I decided to go through and purchase an Apple Developer Membership ($99 / year) which grants me access to the iOS 5 Beta (installing as I type). Is it worth essentially paying to get access to something buggy and early? Hell yes. Those notifications were just that annoying, plus I like shiny new things even if they have some rough patches. Will I take the opportunity to write some iOS code? Maybe. I have given Appcelerator a run through, maybe it’s improved since then.
Notifications are heavily revamped is iOS 5. All the alerts are centralized in one Notification Center with non-obtrusive alerts. No more crashing in the middle of Angry Birds because someone sent me a SMS message.
Deep Twitter Integration is coming to iOS 5. Do I really use Twitter that much? Probably not. But it’s nice to see a tight integration between various services and the core operating system. This gives hope to a centralized service protocol that can be used beyond Twitter and extended to any program or application that implements this.
Camera improved! Now you can use physical buttons to snap a picture. Great, but I would like to see this implemented in addition to the speed and responsiveness of QuickPix.
Wireless Sync has all sorts of advantages. Back with iOS 3 I was looking for a hack to enable syncing my iPod Touch without wires and it looks like it could be a reality. More testing will have to be done with iCloud and other services to see how that all plays out. As usual WWDC gives a picture, but we have to see how it actually tastes.
Other improvements were done to existing applications. Mail, Safari, and iCal all received additional spit and polish. You can check out the full list of features on Apple.com/iOS/iOS5.
Multi-touch gestures are coming to OS X with the new “Lion” release and a new “Mission Control” feature that looks to expand on Expose’s previous groundbreaking work.
Mac App Store is integrated with Lion as well. So much so that Lion itself will only be offered as an App Store download, instead of on disk like previous versions. The optical disk is dead in my opinion, and this view is further bolstered by the large uptick in streaming movies and TV shows and steady decline of physical sales. Apple itself appears to be betting the same way, having refused to support the Blu-Ray format.
Launchpad seems to be a full screen mess displaying all your applications. I prefer to use a bare-bone Dock and Alfred to manage apps. Granted I’m a keyboard power user, but this seems like a great way to clutter the screen.
Mail got an overhaul in Lion. Better UI, Preview integration, smarter searching (finally!), nice conversation view
Other features are listed in full on the 250+ new features page for Lion.