After 128 days, 7 Beta releases, and 1 gold master, it’s finally arrived. iOS 5 has just been released to everyone (or at least, everyone with a compatible iOS device).
For those who hadn’t finagled their way into the developer Beta’s: 1) you’re a more patient human than I could ever hope to be, and 2) you’re in for a treat. This is the biggest update iOS has seen since the addition of the App Store, and it’s jam-packed full of good stuff.
The iOS 5 update is compatible with the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 (GSM and CDMA), iPod touch 3rd/4th generation, and the iPad/iPad 2. It’ll also come preloaded on the 4S, of course, when that device launches later this week.
It’s been a while since iOS 5 was announced to the world, so here’s a quick recap of some of the biggest features:
- iCloud: Apple’s cloud-based content/data syncing service. Backs up your content, photos, etc. in the cloud for safe keeping, provides one-click access to redownloading all the apps you’ve ever purchased, etc.
- iMessage: Apple’s free iOS-to-iOS messaging solution. SMS dies today.
- Notification Center: Apple has completely overhauled their old, antiquated alerts system. You now drag down from the top of the screen to see a drawer with all notifications.
- Newstand: Bundles all of your e-magazine/newspaper subscriptions into one smart folder
- Reminders: a new to-do/reminder system, complete with location-based alerts
- Twitter Integration
- Much improved Camera UX (You can access the camera with a double tap of the home button on the homescreen, and use the volume up key to take a photo)
- Crazy simple photo editing (Cropping, rotating, red-eye reduction) within the Photo app
- Over-the-air updates and PC-less device activation
Downloading the update is pretty simple: just plug in, pop into iTunes, tap on your device’s name in the left-hand navigation, and click the “Update” button found on the page that pops up. If you’re not seeing the update, give it a few minutes — the servers are getting hammered pretty hard right now.