iOS 5At the WWDC Keynote today, Scott Forstall, Senior Vice President of iOS Software took the stage to introduce the latest version of Apple’s operating system for mobile devices to the world, putting an end and confirming recent rumors and speculations about iOS 5. Overall it was a great presentation, with many new and interesting features folks will be getting excited about.

iOS 5 will introduce:

Notification Center: an improved notification system is finally arriving on iOS! After years of requesting for one, iOS users finally have their wishes. The notification system looks great (reminiscent of Android’s own notification system) and is miles ahead of iOS’ current blue pop up box that users have been complaining about. It is definitely one of the most interesting features of iOS 5.

Newsstand: a new way for users to obtain subscriptions of magazines and newspapers without missing anything. It is also features an aesthetically pleasing bookshelf that users can read all their magazines and newspapers from. Users will be able to purchase content from a new section of the App Store just for subscription titles, with the most popular titles from all over the world available from the store. Titles are also automatically updated in the background, so all users need to do is enjoy the content.

Built-in Twitter integration: apps such as Photos, Camera, Safari, YouTube, and Maps will have integration with the micro-blogging service to let users easily share content with their friends through Tweets directly from the app itself. No more copying, switching to the Twitter app to paste and then returning to the previous app – do it from the same app itself. Great for Twitter users on who use iOS devices.

Safari: iOS’ default web browser has been improved, with new features like Safari Reader that hides everything away from the screen, making sites easy to read, a Reading List which lets you save sites to read later (and it’s synced to all your iOS devices) and tabbed browsing on the iPad.

Reminders: while there are already quite a number of apps available that do the job, Apple has introduced its own app for helping you get your life organized. Reminders lets you set tasks with time or location-based reminder alerts, priorities and due dates, so you can be alerted when you are in the vicinity of an area and/or the deadline is approaching. It will also sync with your appointments in iCal and Outlook automatically.

Camera: the Camera app is now accessible from the lockscreen. With the iPhone being touted as one of the most popular cameras in the world now, Apple has made it easier for users to pick up the device to take photographs. New features include the ability to use the Volume up button on the iPhone 4 to snap pictures, pinch to zoom to optimize portions of an image, and basic photograph editing/enhancement features available in the app itself.

Mail: the email client in iOS 5 has also been given a much needed update. It now supports rich-text formatting, indentation control, draggable addresses, flagging to mark messages as unread, a search that digs through entire contents of messages, and improved security. It will also support the use of the new inbuilt iOS dictionary.

Keyboard: on the iPad, the keyboard can now be split to enable thumb typing on the tablet. A great new feature for users who prefer to hold their tablets up with two hands instead of resting it on their laps – definitely a feature we did not see coming. Props to Apple for getting creative with its default keyboard.

PC Free: Apple is finally getting rid of the computer – now when you start up a brand new iOS device, you won’t need to plug it into a computer to sync with or to set up your account. You can do it all from the device itself. It looks like the iPad/iPhone/iPod touch can be completely independent from now on. Updates will also be performed OTA (over the air), and they will be delta updates which means you only download the features that your device uses. A good decision, seeing how most users are getting their data plans capped nowadays.

Game Center: download and purchase games directly from Game Center, Friend discovery, see the scores of your friends’ friends, friend recommendations and game recommendations – basically it’s becoming a lot more social, and support for turn-based games.

iMessage: a new, free messaging client for all iOS devices (think BBM but from Apple) that allows iOS users to communicate between themselves over 3G or WiFi. This gives WiFi-only iPod Touch and WiFi-only iPad users the chance to keep in touch without having to use a 3rd party messaging software on their device. Users will be able to send text messages, photos, videos, contacts, and even have group chats. There will be delivery reports, read receipts and real-time typing notification.

AirPlay: remember the iOS-HDMI cable introduced with the iPad 2? Well there’s going to be no more need for it in the future. AirPlay will also support mirroring in iOS 5, letting users output what’s on their devices on their TVs without using any cables.

Other features mentioned but not discussed elaborately: iTunes Tone Store, Smart Playlist sync from iTUnes, New iPad Music App, Option to speak text selected, VoiceOver item chooser, Mail improved offline support, Improved FaceTime video quality, Multitasking gestures, Alternate routes in Maps.

New developer tools include: Customize UI, improved PDF support, GL Kit, Storyboarding, Access to LED flash, Full page curl transition, Newsstand Kit, Data protection for Core Data, and much more.

iOS 5 will be seeded to developers starting today, while us regular folks will only get it in the fall. Check out the iOS 5 promo video. How many of you are excited about iOS 5?

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