iOS 5 is presently going through Beta stages and has reached the seventh round of beta testing. The iOS 5 operating system is expected to power iPhone 5 and iPad 2. With iOS 5 nearing the end of the testing cycle, the announcement of its release is imminent.

Officially Apple App Store consists of more than 425,000 third-party apps. And more than 90,000 apps were specifically made for iPad to take full advantage of the large touch screen display. In less than three years consumers have downloaded more than 14 billion apps from App Store. There are incredible travel apps, addictive games and great entertainment titles and business apps for consumers. As of now there are more than 225 million accounts, and one click purchasing makes it really convenient for consumers. The upcoming iOS 5 is expected to stand tall on the accomplishments of previous versions.

iOS 5 has more than 1500 new APIs for developers, while for users there are more than 200 new features. There are several enhancements in iOS 5 from previous version which were never seen before. Apple’s Web site has listed iOS 5 compatible devices as iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPod touch 3rd generation, iPod touch 4th generation, iPad and iPad 2.

As iOS 5 has gone from Beta 1 to Beta 7, close to 200 new features have been unveiled, giving a hint to what is expected to be featured in iOS 5 that will power iPhone 5 and other devices. A few of the features have already been mentioned by Apple.

Here is a look at the compiled list of 40 features expected to make it into iOS 5.

1) Notification Center:
The biggest feature in iOS 5 is the Notification Center similar to one found in Android. During WWDC, Apple revealed that they pushed more than 100 billion push notifications in iOS 5 enabled devices, without any glitches. The users can get to notification center by just swiping the finger down from top and access the entire notifications store in one place. Weather and stock updates are found in the new notification center. Notifications just appear like nice animation on top of screen, alerting users without interrupting any work and then it just disappears. To get to any notifications in the locked screen users just have to slide their finger across it. It takes you directly to the app that sent the notification. Notifications sorted by app and time make it more convenient and there is a notification option to choose for each app.

2) Newstand:
Reading newspapers and magazines will become more convenient with the introduction of Newstand. Apple has added subscriptions to get access to all the new issues. Most of the major newspapers and magazines have signed up to support subscriptions. iOS 5 organises your magazine and newspaper app subscriptions in Newsstand: a folder that lets you access your favourite publications quickly and easily. And the additional background download feature helps users to get access to subscription offline.

3) iMessage:
This option is very similar to BlackBerry Messenger. The new messaging service allows iOS 5 users to send unlimited text messages via Wi-Fi or 3G from the device.

4) Reminders:
One new application in iOS 5 is Reminders, a location-based organization tool that aims to offer improved to-do lists that are compatible with iCal, Outlook and iCloud. Tapping the plus in the upper right of the screen allows users to add items to a to-do list. Once a reminder is created, custom options are available, including location awareness, and whether to alert the user when they arrive or when they leave.

5) Twitter Integration:
With a single sign-in it allows a multitude of apps to make use of your Twitter credentials. That includes the Camera and Photos programs, finally letting you tweet images out directly from your galleries.

6) Camera:
The new operating system gives access to camera button right on your lock screen. Just double tap the home screen button and you can open the camera from the lock screen. New in-device editing options which include cropping, rotation, red-eye reduction, and a one-click enhance option have been added. Pictures can be taken using shutter button, while camera grids are available for easier and more precise photography. A pinch-to-zoom gesture along with single-tap focus and exposure reveals camera roll by swiping left and organize photos and possible panorama functionality during public release.

7) Photos:
Now the users can crop, rotate, enhance and remove red-eye without leaving the Photos app. And there is Photo Stream which is part of iCloud which sends photos to all the iOS devices automatically. Moreover photos can be organized in camera roll and multiple photo albums can now be created on the iOS device. Enhanced colour tones of photos and the option to crop photo are not available on 3GS. Also rotate photos. You'll be able to post a photo to Twitter directly from the media gallery app.

8) Safari:
Now Safari Reader will display web articles without ads (accessible via a button next to the address bar), reading list saves interesting articles and iCloud keeps your list updated across all your devices. There is new tabbed browsing option in iPad to switch between WebPages. There is a “Private Browsing” option similar to Firefox and Incognito on Chrome. Also Wesbsite specific date can be deleted.

9) PC Free:
The users don’t have to tether to a computer anymore. Just activate and set up the device wirelessly and syncing will be wireless too. Backup and restore the device automatically using iCloud.

10) Mail:
There is rich text formatting support with (Bold, Italics, Underline etc), improved offline support and indentation control. Address fields can be dragged and rearranged and the mail sidebar can be swiped in or out. You can search within an email, flag emails and mark more than one email as read. S/MIME security is also available.

11) Calendar:
The iPad has received “Year View” option whereas “Week View” is available for iPhone and iPod touch. Switching to Japanese or Buddhist calendars option is available. You can add, rename and delete calendars directly from your device. And view event attachments without leaving the Calendar app. iCloud lets you share calendars with friends and family, and it keeps your events in sync on all your devices.

12) Game Center:
In Game Center the users can add a profile picture and other features like friend recommendations, game recommendations, view friends of friends lists, integrated App Store functionality for purchasing new apps, achievement points and play turn-based games with other iOS users.

13) Wi-Fi Sync:
Wirelessly sync your iOS device to your Mac or PC over a shared Wi-Fi connection. WiFi Sync feature eliminates the need of a USB cable to Sync your iDevice with iTunes on your computer. However, it is recommended that you perform your initial sync via cable after restoring your device. You have to connect your iDevice via USB to iTunes and check the box that says “Sync over Wi-Fi connection” under---- Summary > Options.

14) Multitasking Gestures for iPad:
Multitasking gestures require you to use 4 to 5 fingers. Users can swipe up to reveal the multitasking bar, swipe left or right to switch between apps that are open and pinch to return to the home screen.

15) AirPlay Mirroring for iPad 2:
One of the most exciting features of iOS 5 is the ability to mirror the iPad 2 screen on a high definition TV via an Apple TV. When it is enabled, you can see everything that you see on your iPad 2 on the TV, including videos, games, documents etc, all in real time. The HDMI Adapter is no longer required as everything can be transferred wirelessly. Also mirror iPhone 4 on Apple TV.

16) iPad Split Keyboard:
The typing method will bring a split keyboard to the iPad, aiding those that desire thumb typing when using their iPad with two hands. This will make the iPad easier to use while standing or sitting somewhere other than at a table or desk. The previous version iPad only had QWERTY typing which needed be done while placing the device on the table.

17) LED flash for calls and alerts:
One of the favorite features of Blackberry users is the blinking light that lets them know when they have a message or something to check on their phone. The LED flash will notify you when you have an alert of a call.

18) Macro shortcuts /Typing Shortcuts:
This new feature allows users to automatically type frequently used information by typing a short abbreviation. Text macros can automatically turn “ttyl” into “talk to you later” or whatever you want and the sound options have been expanded. You can find this feature under Settings > General > Keyboard. (Change OMG to OH MY GOSH)

19) FaceTime Over 3G:
FaceTime now works over 3G, but carriers will be able to choose if they allow it or not. And the quality of FaceTime has been improved.

20) Custom Vibrations:
The custom vibration feature allows you to assign unique vibration patterns to people in contacts. It can identify difference between different alerts with customer patterns. You can find this feature under Settings > Sounds > Vibration.

21) Photo Stream:
The users can take photo on an iOS device or import a photo from their digital camera to their computer, and iCloud automatically sends a copy of the photo over any available Wi-Fi network (or Ethernet) to the Photos app on your iOS devices, iPhoto on your Mac, the Pictures Library on your PC, and the Photo Stream album on your Apple TV. Friends and family can view from any device they are using. The Photo Stream album holds a rolling collection of your last 1000 photos while iCloud stores new photos for 30 days giving you more time to import the photos from the device.

22) Weather Forecasts:
Weather forecasts are updated on hourly basis. Weather app automatically determines your location and alerts you.

23) Deleting songs and playlists without using iTunes are possible now, just swipe to delete them.

24) Emoji emoticons:
Although Emoji keyboard was avaialble in iOS 4, it didn't work like normal keyboard. Either third party Emoji apps from App Store needed to be downloaded to access it or use emotions via the clunky Japanese Romaji keyboard. However in iOS 5 you don't need to worry about the hassles faced before, as it is now a standard international keyboard accessible in an app. You can find this feature under General > Keyboard > International Keyboards and tap Add New Keyboard.

25) Personal Dictionary:
Personal Dictionary in iOS 5 helps you avoid future auto-correct mishaps by adding slang, acronyms, and other unrecognized words to your device's dictionary. There is a video below.

26) Over the air updates:
n simple terms, rather than plugging the smartphone into a computer to update its operating system, users can do so wirelessly over the Web. In other words, new iOS versions are pushed directly over the cellular network without any need for iTunes synchronization. There's no need for a pesky USB cable or computer running iTunes. The app updates will take place over the air and there is no need for the device to be plugged into the computer. OTA updates are available through WiFi and 3G network.

27) View used space:
It will be easy to see how many Mb/Gb apps take up. Usage settings now show how much space an app takes, so you can delete the big app which consumes space and which you are not going to use. This feature is found under Settings -> General -> Usage.

28) Locate Alternate Routes in Maps:
One of the many new features of iOS 5 is that Google Maps has been updated to display multiple route directions. Previously, this was not possible.

29) Delta Software updates: From iOS 5 forward, 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.

30) YouTube: YouTube on iOS 5 will now stream high definition (HD) video over 3G. You can only get high quality video over YouTube if you are on WiFi. Youtube videos can be played via the Double tap on home button when locked. Titles scroll on the screen. Also the users can tweet video from YouTube.

31) Backup: Now it is possible to back up homscreen layout, app data, purchased music, apps and books on iCloud and also schedule daily OTA iCloud backup.

32) Background Tasks:
Users can use the device while it’s syncing with a Mac or PC and even links can be opened in the background.

33) Apps:
Apps can be downloaded on two or more iOS devices using the same Apple ID and multiple apps can be installed at the same time. Delete specific apps based on saved games and saved data. There is an option available to turn on or off icon badges. Moreover, you can delete apps while downloading or while they are still being installed. Also videos in apps and websites are enabled for AirPlay by default.

34) 1080p video playback in iPad 2

35) Voice Commands and VoiceOver:
There are VoiceOver item chooser and Arabic language support in VoiceOver. Users will have the privilege to have their iOS device “Speak Text” that you highlight.

36) Music: The iPod application is separated into two apps for music and video. Tapping and holding on a song title gives you a description bubble. There is improved sound check for music and also “Group by Album Artist” option for music is also available. Swipe to next song in music app for iPad and the iPod app is renamed to Music with new icon. Also the Music app has a ‘Store’ button that takes you to iTunes Store.

37) Social Networking Integration: Facebook, Flickr, Linkedln and MySpace. However twitter is integrated throughout the OS.

38) Support for all third party TV-out cables (This one feature is yet to be confirmed)

39) 4G/LTE: The iOS 5 beta stages reveals that Apple is prepping for 4G network for the upcoming device, which would most probably be iPhone 5.

40) Earthquake Notification for Japanese users: iOS 5 users in Japan can turn on early earthquake notifications at the very bottom of the iOS 5 Notification Center settings pane. Apple’s built-in earthquake notification system will be a nice replacement for those in Japan who rely on earthquake warning applications from the App Store such as Yurekuru Call.