WWDC 2011: Apple takes other platforms' best services, makes them better with iOS 5

Apple revealed iOS 5 today and several of the top features are some of the best experiences from other platforms, made better, and rolled into one platform.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer

Apple rolled out iOS 5 today and showed off 10 new features that convinced me I am likely to add an iPhone back into my mobile phone collection later this fall. Apple is good at taking things others have and making them much better and we saw glimpses of this today with their notifications, OTA software updates, camera access from the lock screen, iMessage service and wireless media sync all taking what Android, Symbian, WP7, BlackBerry, and Zune all had individually.


Notifications was one of the major reasons I enjoy using Android devices over iOS devices and what Apple showed today is almost exactly what Android has with their pull down drawer user interface. Hey, if it works and is popular why not use it, right?

Over-the-air (OTA) software updates

Android has had this ability for quite some time and Nokia has had it forever and it is one reason I like the Android platform that lets me be PC free. We see that Apple is also going to just update what changes, like what Nokia does with its Symbian updates so you won't have to download hundreds of megabytes of data to update a few features.

Camera from lock screen

One of Windows Phone 7s coolest features is the ability to push the camera shutter button and launch the camera while the phone is in standby lock mode and start taking photos and then uploading them immediately to Facebook. Unfortunately, nearly all of the Windows Phone 7 manufacturers failed to deliver a decent camera to the platform so this feature is often overlooked and not emphasized.

Intra-operating system messaging system

BlackBerry fans swear by BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) and I honestly haven't use a BlackBerry enough myself to ever embrace it. However, it looks like Apple was able to bring that experience to the entire iOS family (iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad) with the same kind of performance (such as seeing someone is typing right as they are taking actions on their device). The issue with these types of services is that your friends and family all have to have a device with the same OS to take advantage of that and now that the entire iOS family will have that I think we may see mass defections from BlackBerry. And the more people that come to iOS, the more attractive such a service becomes.

Wireless media sync

The Zune platform, and in particular with the Zune HD device, is an amazing service that no one really knows about. Zune has had the ability to sync your media content wirelessly for a while now and it is very convenient to dock your Zune and have it synced up automatically.

I applaud Apple for taking all of these desired experiences from others, making them a bit better, and integrating them into a single platform and look forward to the next iPhone device.

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