Apple's iOS 5 mobile operating system, available to download now, is speedy and includes iCloud, so you can access all your information anywhere - but does it live up to the hype? T3 finds out...
On the announcement of the Apple iOS 5 beta release date, we promised an extended iOS 5 review and here it is. Chris Barraclough has been living with iOS 5 on the iPad 2 for a few days - you may also want to check out our Apple iPhone 4S review - and despite the error 3200 download problems earlier last week, iOS 5 is Apple's best OS to date.
This fifth iteration by Apple boasts over 200 tweaks, making it the slickest version yet. We tried iOS 5 out on a brand new iPad 2 – thankfully skipping the troubles of downloading the update.
Apple iOS 5: iCloud
The notion of cloud computing is still a mystery to many and we were pretty sceptical as to how Apple, the maestros of uncomplicated explanation, would decipher this one for the mainstream. But therein lies the genius, you don't have to understand how iCloud works to get it working or benefit from it. You just need to enter your Apple ID and start using your Apple kit.
Best of all is the iPad's newfound independence, as you can set it up and perform updates without hooking up to a computer, and back up your files using the new iCloud service. Anything that makes life easier gets a huge thumbs up from us. It's just a shame that Siri isn't supported on the iPad yet. Finally there's the new iCloud service, which allows you to back up and recover your data. We've had a few phones end up in pints of lager or in pieces on the pavement, so we'll definitely be making full use of this. The generous 5GB of space will take a while to fill up.
Apple iOS 5 : Features
At long last Apple has produced a notification service to rival Android's. We're not sure why it's taken this long but it's a welcome addition. Simply flick the top edge of the display and the shiny new menu appears, compiling your mail, messages and reminders into one handy list. It's a perfect way to stay organised if your schedule's as ridiculous as ours. It's customisable too, so you can choose exactly what you want to appear. We'd recommend turning off Facebook notifications, unless you enjoy hearing about your mate's recommendations for farming simulation games.
The iMessage service is a quick and cost-free way of contacting fellow Apple fans. Your brief notes pop up in their Messages app, just like a text message – except these bad boys are coloured blue. It's kind of hard to get excited about yet another messaging service, especially when we get 500,000 free texts a month on our phone contract, but it's there if you need it.
You also get integrated Twitter support in your phonebook, so you can tweet a message to a friend by scrolling to their entry. We love the way you can tweet a photo as soon as you take it, without messing around on the website. And if your photography skills are as useless as ours, you'll appreciate the option to crop and perform basic editing on your shots before saving them or posting them online.
Apple iOS 5: The rest
Best of all is the iPad's newfound independence with iOS5. Our opinions on iTunes are mixed at best, so being able to set up your iPhone or iPad without connecting to your damn computer is a massive plus. You can also perform updates through the device itself, yet another area where Android was schooling iOS before.
Apple iOS 5: Verdict
While Apple disappointed by not giving the world and iPHone 5, or iPad 3 for that matter, it has done the next best thing with iOS 5. Slicker, packed with innovative features and, of course, free. There are plenty of other changes, but they're more fun if you discover them yourself. By the time you read this the download issues will hopefully be resolved, so check it out and get ready to love your Apple devices all over again.
Apple iOS 5 Availability: Out now
Apple iOS 5 Price: Free download