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iOS 5 delivers 'a wealth of changes'

Michael deAgonia | Oct. 14, 2011
Four months after it was introduced at this year's Worldwide Developer's Conference, iOS 5 is finally available.

Another smart move by Apple is the inclusion of Twitter in various parts of the operating system. In the Twitter Settings, you can install the standard Twitter app (I prefer TweetBot) and set up your Twitter account. You can even press a button to update Twitter information for all of the contacts in your Contacts app, including profile pics.

Twitter has also been integrated in the built-in apps: From Safari, you can share URLs; from Photos and Camera Roll, you can tweet your photos; with YouTube you can tweet links to videos. (You share to Twitter by tapping on the respective Share buttons within each app.)

The Camera app got a few tweaks as well. First, access to the camera from the Lock Screen is faster: Press the Home Button twice and a camera icon appears next to Swipe to Unlock. Tap the icon and you're brought right into the app. In this mode, access to the Camera Roll, where previous pictures are stored, is restricted, but you can begin taking photos right away.

Using the Camera app, you'll see an obvious addition: the Options button, which allows you to turn on HDR photos and grid lines. Less obvious is that you can use the volume up button on the side of the iPhone as a shutter button, that you can pinch the screen to zoom in on a subject, that you can focus by tapping on the screen, and that you can initiate an auto-exposure and auto-focus lock by touching and holding a part of the picture.

The Camera Roll now has a more logical icon layout. With the Share button, you can share a photo or video via email, text message, tweet or print; assign it to a contact or a wallpaper; delete it or add it to a slideshow; and even push out over AirPlay -- a feature that was clumsily included in iOS 4.3 but is fixed here.

Apple has also added basic controls for editing photos. Tap Edit in the upper-right corner of the screen and you can crop or rotate an image; use Apple's enhancement tool, which is automatic, for better or worse (yes, you can shake the phone to undo any changes); and reduce red eye. Those basic editing functions should offer most of what the average iPhone user needs from a photo editor on the fly.


New to iOS 5 is the Reminders app, a straightforward time- and location-based notification system. From this app, you can create lists, add items to those lists, assign due dates, and check off completed items. Sounds simple? It is. The main attraction is the ability to set reminders based on when you leave or arrive at a specific location.


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