Apple launches iOS5

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Introducing iOS5

Apple launched its latest mobile operating system yesterday; iOS5 contains over 200 new features for iPad, iPhone or iPod touch users.

One of the new features is Notification Centre, which displays new email, texts, friend requests and more in one convenient location. This Android-style notification system is visible in a panel that slides down from the top of the screen or appears on the lock screen for easy viewing.

Reminders allows users the chance to set reminders on their iOS5 device, either in the traditional method or with the use of location-based reminders. Location-based reminders, displayed when a device enters or leaves a particular area, makes the reminder more useful and is less likely to be forgotten.

iMessage, Apple's latest messaging protocol, allows iOS5 devices to message another for free using a Wi-Fi or 3G connection. Integrated into the current messaging system, the software automatically recognises if the recipient is running iOS5. If not, a traditional SMS or MMS is sent, reducing the amount of separate messaging tools. iMessage also offers secure encryption, read receipts and video and picture messaging.

The inclusion of iMessage is worrying news for BlackBerry owner RIM which continues to lose market share to Apple and smartphones with Google's Android OS. BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), which currently offers a similar service to iMessage, has been troubled with recent technical issues reducing confidence in the phone manufacturer's reliability.

Other interesting features of iOS5 include location-sharing application Find My Friends and iCloud that allows users to effortlessly synchronize all of their devices over the web and enables all iOS5 devices to operate independently of a PC or Mac.

Smartphone Competition

The release of iOS5 has created widespread excitement towards Apple products in the run up to the launch of the iPhone 4S later this week.

Many of the features available with iOS5 are not innovations within the market; the base ideas are similar to those offered by other smartphone manufacturers but with an Apple twist.

Tom Glass, creative director at theEword, said: "iOS5 introduces many new features for Apple, but they are not particularly innovative within the smartphone market. However, iOS5 does create a friendlier interface for users, easier connectivity and useful applications that can be integrated into everyday life, directly increasing competition with the likes of Android".