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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.

It's a nice feature, and it works fairly well, although it's sometimes a bit delayed. The current implementation is a bit limited. You can't just pick an arbitrary address from, say, the Maps app; any address you pick has to be in your Contacts. Just add the local supermarket to your contacts list and you can remind yourself about groceries to purchase when you get there. It's a simple workaround, and the core functionality works well enough.

Reminders are also automatically synced to other iOS devices, and on the iPad, the date view shows the calendar and reminders side by side, which is an effective usage of the iPad's larger screen.

Autocompletion

Apple's iOS 5 features Autocompletion, which can be modified under Settings > General > Keyboard, under the Shortcuts section. This preset is included as an example: If you type omw and hit the spacebar, "On my way!" automatically propagates. I think this is a great idea and a big time-saver. I set my email to be autocompleted if I enter a series of @-signs -- two for my work email account, three for my home account, etc.

Setting up autocompletions is great for responding to common email messages. It's no longer a hassle typing out: "Dear Android fan, I understand your enthusiasm for your choice of platform; that is why choice exists! Enjoy your phone, as I'm sure there are many lovely features and reasons you bought it. P.S. Uncalled for attack on my lineage was not appreciated. Cheers! Michael deAgonia." Thanks to autocorrect, now all I have to type is "Ugh."

Smaller changes

The new operating systems also features a variety of less obvious, but still important, tweaks and additions, including these:

• You can now manage Apple's wireless network hardware from the iPhone and iPad. Select Settings > WiFi > choose wireless network, scroll to the bottom and tap "manage network." This will bring you to the App Store to download an AirPort Utility, which you can use to modify your Airport hardware. It continues the whole "cutting the cord" theme Apple is pushing.

• There are new vibration patterns in iOS 5, including "heartbeat" (the one I use), "SOS" and "symphony." You can even customize your own vibration pattern. To activate custom vibrations, go to Settings > Accessibility and turn on Custom Vibrations. To actually edit these custom vibrations, you have to go to Settings > Sounds and scroll to the bottom section called Vibration Patterns.

• There are also new sounds -- and for the first time you can customize them. (You can also edit custom gestures, which can be enabled under Settings > General > Accessibility > AssistiveTouch Custom gestures.)

 

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