Apple Previews iOS 5 with Notification Center, OTA Updates, Wi-Fi iTunes Syncing, More

Wow. That was a crazy WWDC keynote with a ton of announcements and new features in iOS 5. What will be new in iOS 5, you ask? Here’s the hit list (you can read Apple’s complete press release here and see a video about iOS 5 here):

Notification Center

Notifications will be consolidated and accessible in a single area that can be accessed by swiping down from the status bar. They won’t be obtrusive anymore and will slide down from the status bar as they arrive without interrupting what you’re currently doing. Hurrah!

“PC Free”

New iOS devices will no longer need a computer to be activated or get firmware updates, which will all be possible via Wi-Fi or 3G in iOS 5.

Sync with iTunes via Wi-Fi

iOS device owners can go truly wireless with this one. iOS devices will automatically sync with your iTunes library over Wi-Fi automatically.


This is a new messaging app for all iOS devices that looks a lot like the current Messages app for the iPhone. It will let iOS device owners send text, picture and video messages to each other over Wi-Fi and 3G. Messages will be pushed to all iOS devices a user owns and will offer delivery and read receipts as well as real-time typing indication.

Twitter integration

As rumored, Twitter will be integrated into iOS and easily accessible for sharing within Photos, Camera, Safari, YouTube, and Maps. Contacts can also be updated with Twitter handles automatically.

Camera enhancements

The Camera app will not escape unscathed, getting a lock screen shortcut for quicker access and the ability to use the volume up button to activate the shutter (I wonder how developer tap tap tap feels now about Apple’s decision to remove Camera+ from the App Store last year over this feature). Also, photos editing will be possible with cropping, rotating, and red eye reduction.

New apps: Reminders and Newsstand

Reminders will be a to do list app with geolocation capabilities to trigger reminders based on your location. Newsstand is an iBooks equivalent for magazines and newspapers.

Other new features are as follows:

  • Game Center, now with the ability to add photos to your profile, purchase new games from within the Game Center app and easier ways to find friends and new games;
  • Mail enhancements which include the ability to compose messages using draggable addresses, and a new formatting bar with bold, italics, underline and indention controls;
  • AirPlay® Mirroring to wirelessly display everything you do on your iPad 2 right on your HDTV through Apple TV®; and
  • a system-wide split keyboard to make it even easier to type on your iPad.

Apple did not announce a specific availability date, stating that iOS 5 will be released for all compatible devices in the fall. A seed will be available for iOS developers today. Compatible devices include the iPhone 3Gs, iPhone 5, 3rd- and 4th-generation iPod touch, iPad, and iPad 2.

If you want to watch the keynote yourself, Apple is now streaming it here.