Apple's most enhanced mobile operating system -- iOS 5 -- is finally available to consumers, along with the near-mythical iPhone 4S. The new OS (operating system) boasts 200 new features for the company's range of mobile devices, and so far the reviews have been mostly positive. However, consumers' rush to acquire the new smartphone did lead to some glitches, such as cancelled software updates.
The latest iPhone comes with an 8-megapixel LED-flash rear-facing camera with 1080p high-definition video recording; an integrated A5 dual-core processor (previously only found in the iPad 2); iOS 5; iCloud (a cloud-based storage, streaming and notification service); and Siri, an enhanced voice assistant to support the user.
However, there are a few tricks you will need to know if you want to have a rich user experience with the promising new smartphone. Let's have a look.
Apple's iOS 5 has introduced an improved Notification Center, so now you don't have to pause or stop any activity on the smartphone if you want to check the display to see if you have received any new messages. Now, you only need to run your finger down from the top of the screen to reach the Notification Center. You can even customize the Notification Center by doing this: Tap Settings > Notifications -- and then arrange the notifications any way you want. New notifications can be accessed from and attended to directly from the lock screen.
Also, iOS 5 lets you assign custom alerts with different sounds for new mails, sent mails and calendar alerts. You can also make the phone's LED flash light up when you receive a message, call or alert. Simply go to Settings > General > Accessibility. You can also tap a certain pattern on the screen, and your phone will vibrate in that definite pattern whenever you get a call, message or e-mail.
In addition, the Assistive Touch option can be put to use, by swiping from side to side to turn off the screen.
You can now do a lot more with the newly improved Safari browser, as Apple has finally decided to take the product seriously and compete with the likes of Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. The company has introduced the tabbed-browsing concept, which lets you save articles to read later on, including the option to read them on any of your other iOS-run devices. The Safari Reader also removes unnecessary ads. In addition, a user can set Safari to toggle between private and general browsing modes -- the former does not compile a history of browser activity.
Among other new features introduced by Apple in iOS 5 is iMessage -- a groundbreaking feature. The company's new free text-messaging service is similar to the BlackBerry Messenger service. Apple now lets you send unlimited texts to anyone with an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. You just need to send a new text and add him or her to the service. Next, you will need to click on the green bubble on the screen with your contact's name, and when it turns blue, you can iMessage him or her. Note that this service is only available for iOS 5 users.
In terms of other customization features, you can turn off the preview of received text messages or emails on the lock screen. To do it, go to Settings > Notifications, and turn it off for both messages and e-mail.
Who doesn't like gaming? Games are easily accessible at the App Store. The Game Center app has evolved from what it used to be during the days of iOS 4. Gamers will now be able to do more things on a smartphone than ever before, including uploading profile pictures, finding friends and checking out friends' high scores.
If you like experimental keyboards, you will definitely need to check out iOS 5's split/undockable keyboards that are bound to be fun on an iPad. You will get to split the keyboard in half and move it up or down the screen. What's more, this works in both portrait and landscape mode. However, note that when you split the keyboard, the keys will become smaller and, very slightly, transparent, when undocked.
Did you know that you can also use your headset to control your shutter release? This exciting new feature makes your headset a remote control for taking pictures, by triggering the shutter release. To be precise, it is the volume key that lets you do the trick. And this certainly is one of the cooler tricks that iOS 5 offers.
Apple has also introduced the possibility of viewing alternate routes on Google Maps via iOS 5. Previously, this feature was available only on the desktop version of Google Maps. Just tap the number of the routes (Route 1, Route 2, etc.) to toggle between them.
Twitter integration is something Apple fans had been wanting for a very long time, and now it's finally here. The Cupertino, Calif.-based company has decided to integrate Twitter with almost every app so that users can make the most of social networking. You can now upload locations, movies, photos and Web pages.
Check out the video.