Event Coverage

WWDC 2011: iOS 5, OS X Lion & iCloud

By Alvin Soon & Seow Tein Hee - 7 Jun 2011

Other iOS 5 Features and Specific iPad Upgrades

Other iOS 5 Features

What we've highlighted in the previous page are the features that we believe will make an impact for iOS users, but it's only part of the ten features that were showcased during WWDC 2011. iOS 5 will also include improvements in its Mail, Safari and Game Center, with a few minor additions to the user interface. Here's a brief breakdown of the remaining features that were demonstrated earlier on:


Following its iBook concept, Newsstand aims to create a direct channel for papers and magazines to be distributed on the iOS platform. This will work in tandem with the App Store to pull subscription based titles into the Newsstand app. As such, any updates to your subscribed titles will also be reflected in the app. This means data will be pushed and tallied to determine if there's an update available, and if so, background downloads will be performed. Will it affect the overall battery mileage for your iOS devices? We sincerely hope not.

Who knows, you might get our latest issue of HWM on Apple's Newsstand in the near future.


Apple's web browser gets a few updates on its own, such as a Reader feature that realigns web pages into a more readable format. This includes changes to the font size and fits contents to page, minus the ads and side bars, making it easier on the eyes. A Reading List, which acts like the Read It Later App, saves web pages and syncs it across various iOS devices. As such, you can look through the articles at a later time, and even read it off a separate device from where you originally saved it from. And for iPad users, Tabbed Browsing will be implemented on iOS 5. This was bound to happen, given how Google Android 3.0's web browser has introduced this feature from the very beginning.

Web pages are now reformatted to present a page that displays the content you want to read, without the ads, side bars and any other clutter.


Mail is one of the most used applications, so it's no surprise that Apple will be enhancing its features in iOS 5. Rich text formatting is introduced, allowing users to bold, italics and underline their text. Message flagging is also introduced, though one has to remember that this is also a feature that's already seen on Google Android with its Starred label and Windows Phone 7 and its various flag labels. All in all, the new updates for Mail won't put you in awe, but ultimately, still useful.

Mail gets rich text formatting as part of the incremental updates in iOS 5.

Game Center

Game Center, which was introduced last year, showcased how serious Apple is in the mobile gaming arena. Bringing iOS gamers under one portal, Game Center is now looking towards more features such as achievement points and recommended games and friends within the Game Center. In doing so, you can also purchase games within Game Center directly and bypass the App Store process.

Achievement points and friends recommendations are added to the community aspect of Game Center.


iPad Specific Updates

Like its previous iOS iterations, there are some slight modifications for the iPad, and in particular, here's two that stands out for the larger tablet.

Split Keyboard

If you're used to the full-sized keyboard in landscape orientation, the split keyboard in iOS 5 might take some getting used to.

While most of us have gotten used to typing with the iPad in a landscape orientation, Apple will be providing a new input option on the portrait orientation in the form of a split keyboard. Considering how much wider the iPad is compared to the iPhone or iPod touch, it makes sense to split the keyboard across the screens and let your thumbs do the typing. Presonally, we prefer the landscape orientation, but our opinion might change once we adapt to the new split keyboard.

Multitasking Gestures

A few months ago, developers were given a sneak peek at how multi-touch gestures work on the iPad. This feature will be officially introduced in iOS 5, such as a four or five fingers swipe up to reveal the multitasking bar, or a quick swipe to the left or right to alternate between running apps, and a pinch on the screen to make your way back to the Home screen.

Multi-touch gestures, which were previewed in the earlier developer builds of iOS 4.3, will be official in iOS 5.


iOS 5 Availability and Compatibility

How soon will you see the iOS 5 update? Apple has announced it will be available in fall 2011. Based on what we've also heard about the iPhone 5's expected shipping date sometime in September, the timing is perfect for the concurrent launch of Apple's mobile hardware and software.

Existing iPhone, iPad and iPod touch users will also get the iOS 5 update during that period, with the following models confirmed for the upgrade:

  • iPhone 4
  • iPhone 3GS
  • iPad 2
  • iPad
  • iPod touch (fourth generation) and iPod touch (third generation)

iOS devices that will receive the iOS 5 updates. From left: iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod touch 3rd generation, iPod touch 4th generation, iPad and iPad 2.

In its press statement, Apple did state that some features may not be available on all products. This could be a reference to how the iPad features aren't available on the iPhone and iPod portfolio. Or, in the worst case scenario, we might  see some features missing from the earlier iOS devices.

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