iOS 5: Five things to expect

October 4, 2011

The iPhone may be the most anticipated part of Apple’s show today, but the company is also expected to officially roll out its next operating system, iOS 5. Here are five features to expect from the new operating system, many of which Apple revealed in June’s keynote at WWDC.

Notifications: Taking a leaf out of Android’s book, Apple is introducing a centralized notifications center to iOS that shows all e-mails, unread messages, calendar appointments and reminders in one pane.

iMessage: Apple is also taking on BlackBerry Messenger — and every other messaging app out there — with iMessage, which will be available to all iOS 5 users. The service also has group messaging and let users send photo and video messages, as well as location and contact information.

PC Free: Cut the cord? Finally. Apple is switching to over-the-air updates, getting rid of a minor but persistent annoyance that will save a ton of time, since users won’t be looking for that elusive white cord every time they want to update their device.

Reminders: A built-in to-do list on the iPhone and iPad. Reminders will also work with iCal, Outlook and iCloud to make sure updates get pushed to all devices. Reminders can show up as a list or in calendar mode.

Assistant: The piece de resistance of the new operating system hasn’t been announced by the company yet. The scuttlebutt, however, is that the voice navigation app will let users tell the phone to “send a text message to John” and then dictate the message. 9 to 5 Mac reports that it will also be able to send location-based notifications — e.g. “remind me to x when I get home” — and understand natural language, such as a person asking for directions.

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Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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