Apple iOS 5 Features Attract Many, Huge Demand Hinders Servers

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Apple Inc. faced bogged down servers due to the overwhelming number of users trying to update their devices to the newest version of iOS 5. The early rush to upgrade resulted in glitches including hour-long waits and cancelled updates.

When users were trying to upgrade to the iOS 5, the servers came out with some error messages such as Error 3200 and Error 3004 that refers to iTunes not being able to connect with Apple's update server. Also certain users witnessed other problems such as failure to access iCloud.

Added to this, if the access is granted for upgrading to iOS 5, the users were seeing a download speed that takes about 15 minutes. The backup process also takes as much as three hours.

According to Tech observers, the internal error messages occurring in such a rollout have happened before, and users will be able to download the update after two or three days when the traffic accessing the servers comes down.

Here is a look at the main features of the iOS 5.

Notifications: The users can get to the notification center by just swiping their finger down from the top of the screen and access the entire notifications store in one place. In addition, users could view and attend any new notifications directly from the Lock Screen, making for quick and easy access.

iMessage: This is Apple's new free real-time text messaging service. Users can send and receive unlimited texts, photos and video messages with other iOS 5 users. This feature can also track messages with delivery and read receipts. It can send and receive group messages in a secure encryption environment, and it works over cellular network and Wi-Fi.

Newsstand: The feature automatically organizes magazine and newspaper subscriptions on the home screen. It displays the cover of the latest issue and automatically updates with latest issues through background downloads. Reminders: This is supported by geolocation feature. It is a location-based organization tool that aims to offer improved to-do lists that are compatible with iCal, Outlook and iCloud.

Twitter Integration: Apple brings built-in support for Twitter in iOS 5. After signing-in once in settings, the user can upload directly from Camera, Photos, Maps, Safari and YouTube. The user can also add location to any tweet, and can view Twitter profile pictures and user-names in contacts.

Camera: The user can double click the home button when the device is asleep to bring up a camera shortcut on iPhone 4S, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and iPod touch (4th generation). Pictures can be taken using the volume up button with optional grid lines to line up shots, pinch to zoom in the preview screen and swipe to camera roll from previous screen. Users can tap and hold to lock focus and exposure, iPad 2 and iPod touch (4th generation) only support exposure lock.

Photo Enhancements: This feature enables users to crop photos, enhance color tones, rotate, remove red-eye, photo stream, and organize photos within the albums. Without the photo editing software on a computer, the user could turn snapshots into frame-worthy photos in just a few taps.

Mail: Users can write in rich text, indent paragraphs, flag important messages, and search the archive in the body of messages. With iOS 5, users can search mail, conversations as well as drag and drop addresses, flag messages, mass mark messages as flagged, read or unread, and customize mail alert sounds. The mail enhancement uses S/MIME (Secure/Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions), which is a standard for public key encryption and signing of MIME data.

Calendar: In Calendar, it is easy to create, manage, and view events. iCloud syncs calendars to other devices, and even with select family and friends. The user gets more perspective on schedule with year view on iPad and week view on iPhone and iPod touch. The user has to tap for creating an event and has to drag adjust the time and duration.

Game Center: iOS is the world's most popular gaming platform. With iOS 5, users can get game face on with even more Game Center features. The user can post a profile picture, and meet the match with new friend recommendations based on the games he/she plays. New games can be discovered with custom game recommendations.

AirPlay Mirroring: AirPlay now supports video mirroring, which can wirelessly stream whatever is on the iPad 2 or iPhone 4S to HDTV via Apple TV. Even if the device is rotated from portrait to landscape or zoom in and out, it could be visible via Apple TV.

Multi-tasking Gestures for iPad: iOS 5 includes a few new moves and shortcuts to help users get around even quicker on the iPad. Using four or five fingers, swipe up to reveal the multitasking bar, pinch to return to the Home screen, and swipe left or right to switch between apps.

Setup Assistant: With this feature, users can setup, activate and configure their device. It even gives a choice to the user either to enable or disable the feature as part of the setup process. The user needs to decide whether or not to enable location services before the setup assistant continues. The user can always enable or disable location services from the Settings app.

OTA updates: For the Over-The-Air (OTA) Updates, there is no need for a computer and cord. The iOS 5 devices can now self-update the system software right on the device itself through Wi-Fi or 3G. Users don't have to download and install entire OS as delta software updates are enabled.

iCloud: iOS 5 will be the first platform to run on Apple's new cloud infrastructure called iCloud. iCloud is a free service and users get 5 GB by signing up, but users can buy more storage if they so choose. By plugging into a power source, iCloud automatically pushes all documents, apps, calendars, mail, contacts, photos, and music to all of the user's other iOS devices.

Keyboard Improvements: This feature will help the user split the keyboard for iPad. It has also improved auto-correction accuracy, improved Chinese and Japanese input, personal dictionary for auto-correction, new Emoji keyboard, and optional keyboard shortcuts for frequently used words.

Accessibility: iOS 5 comes with innovative new features that make it easier for people with mobility, hearing, vision, and cognitive disabilities to get the most from their iOS devices. The iOS 5 works with specialized hardware accessories. The LED flash and custom vibration settings let a user see and feel when someone's calling. And improvements to VoiceOver include custom element labeling.

Exchange ActiveSync Improvements: This is an XML-based protocol that communicates over HTTP (or HTTPS) designed for the synchronization of email, contacts, calendar, tasks and notes from a messaging server to a mobile device. As the iOS 5 comes with improvements in Exchange ActiveSync, the user can wirelessly sync tasks, mark messages as flagged, read or unread, and save a new contact from a GAL service. It also has an improved offline support.

Safari: This feature includes tabbed browsing in Safari, which is only for iPad, Safari reader similar to RSS reader, Safari reading list, which can be used for saving Web pages for offline reading, improved performance, private browsing, and Web site specific data can be deleted. Safari Reader displays Web articles sans ads or clutter so the user can read without distractions.

Wi-Fi Sync: Users could wirelessly sync their iOS device to Mac or PC over a shared Wi-Fi connection. Every time a user connects the iOS device to a power source, it automatically syncs and backs up any new content to iTunes.

Parental Controls: The new system has built-in parental controls to manage use of Safari, Camera, FaceTime, Game Center, Location Services, YouTube, the iTunes Store, the App Store, and more. Parents can also lock the settings so kids can't go in and change them later.

App Store: With thousands of apps in practically every category, the iOS is the platform for the world's largest collection of mobile apps. Apple gives third-party developers a rich set of tools and APIs, and they've created apps and games that redefine what a mobile device can do. Just browsing the App Store on iPhone can let you download them with a tap on the screen.

Safety: iOS is highly secure from the moment a user turns on the device. All apps run in a safe environment, so a Web site or app can't access data from other apps. iOS also supports encrypted network communication to protect the user's sensitive information. The user could set a passcode lock to prevent unauthorized access to the device and configure the device to delete all the data after too many unsuccessful passcode attempts. And in case a device is lost or stolen, 'Find My' device allows the user to locate it on a map and remotely delete all the data.

Additional Apps: iOS 5 also comes with a redesigned music app for iPad, hourly weather forecast, real-time stock quotes, more than 1,500 new developer APIs, and bug fixed. It has a silent switch, Arabic language support for VoiceOver, Assistive Touch Gestures, FaceTime over 3G, FaceTime without SIM card, social networking integration, and help center.

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