After giving us a look at OS X 10.7 Lion in its WWDC keynote today, Apple turned to what is seen as the more important of its OS platforms at the moment: iOS. 

iOS 4 is still a perfectly usable smartphone and tablet operating system today, but advances made by both Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 have made it look a little long in the tooth. With iOS 5, Apple must both keep pace with its competitors advances and outmaneuver them in other areas. 

First, let's talk availability and system requirements: iOS 5 will be available after Lion, at some unspecified date this fall. Apple didn't talk at all about a new iPhone onstage (meaning that, as the rumor mill has long suggested, we probably won't see a new iPhone this summer), so it's uncertain whether iOS 5 will show up along with revised hardware, or whether it will be used to help modernize the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS that Apple is currently selling.

That leads us to system requirements, where the news is happier: iOS 5 will support all the same devices that iOS 4.3 does, meaning that the iPhone 3GS, the iPhone 4 (both GSM and CDMA), the 3rd and 4th generation iPod Touch, the iPad and iPad 2, and the new Apple TV will all get iOS 5 when it comes out. Apple didn't say whether any major features would be left out for older devices - the iPhone 3G, as you may remember, didn't get multitasking or Home screen wallpaper support with the iOS 4 update, and it took a significant speed hit as well - but the speed (and, perhaps more importantly, the RAM) gap between the current crop of iOS devices and the previous generation isn't as wide as that between the 3GS and the 3G.

We'll most likely see some features excluded from older devices just because they're older devices (as we did when the Find My iPhone app was made available free of charge), but none of the iOS 5 features Apple talked about today seem like anything that older hardware will be technically unable to handle.

Now, on to the features: as with OS X, Apple is advertising a hyperbolic number of new features (200) in iOS 5, but they chose to focus on ten of them. Continue reading for a brief overview and analysis of those features.

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  • synaesthetic - Monday, June 6, 2011 - link

    With wifi and Dropbox I haven't actually connected my Glacier to my laptop in months. Not since I first rooted it and loaded the sdcard with my tunes.
  • Impulses - Tuesday, June 7, 2011 - link

    Well, it's not a bad list of updates and new features, but just about every single one of them has been copied from Android / WebOS or an existing app/service (even if it was a jailbreak/Cydia app)... I kind of expected something more revolutionary from Apple and a big software-focused launch, even if it was just their own unique take on something already implemented elsewhere.

    As it is, much of the new stuff is implemented almost exactly the same way it's been done elsewhere... Only difference is that it's all bundled in w/the OS instead of maybe needing a couple separate app to get the same functionality (I'm sure the developers of Read It Later and others aren't particularly thrilled!). The cloud stuff is probably the most unique or centralized, particularly w/regards to iTunes, even tho their comparison to Amazon's pricing was somewhat disingenuous.

    Amazon's MP3 Android app allows streaming from the cloud to any device, something it doesn't seem Apple's gonna be doing (RIP Lala :-/ ), and Apple neglects to mention you get 5GB for free (and 20GB for the price of any album right now, or $20 in the future, there's more tiers than the $50 tier that Apple singles out). They do lack the track matching tho. I've got around 200 ripped CDs and even in FLAC it's not more than 40GB, in VBR MP3 it's likely less than 15GB.

    They could still surprise people w/the hardware end of their next release tho, since they've pushed it back until Fall and all... And they pretty much know what all the Android manufacturers are doing for the rest of the year (and WP7 or HP aren't moving any faster). Either way the improvements on iOS 5 are gonna be a hit w/existing iPhone users for sure, I'm not sure it'll win them any more tho... But they've got plenty of time to hype up every last bit of it before it launches, heh.
  • Ikefu - Tuesday, June 7, 2011 - link

    Every last thing here is an attempt to steal something someone else is already doing and call it "new and innovative". Stealing BlackBerry messenger, Xbox Live, Android/BB mail and notifications, etc. They are all very welcome updates but hardly innovative.

    I hereby dub iOS 5 the "ME TOO!" update.

    PS I also object to calling the iPhone a gaming device. Its cool and I have an iTouch 4 with some games on it, but until it gets a thumbstick and input buttons it will never be a gaming device in my book.
  • xype - Tuesday, June 7, 2011 - link

    "I hereby dub iOS 5 the "ME TOO!" update."

    Did you dub Android the "ME TOO!" OS, too, when it came out? :)
  • erple2 - Tuesday, June 7, 2011 - link

    Yes, but I also dubbed the first Apple phone as "me too" based on my experience with a Treo and blackberry.

    When does the madness end? It can't.
  • Griswold - Tuesday, June 7, 2011 - link

    Why, because Apple invented mobile OS'? Newsflash, there have been mobile OS' long before Apple turned into a smartphone company.
  • Shadowmaster625 - Tuesday, June 7, 2011 - link

    Since when is an ipad capable of playing videos? It still cannot play xvid/divx files in an avi container, right? And even if it could, I cant load them onto it because it doesnt have a freakin usb port. And how are you supposed to download youtube videos? Is there a downloadhelper app that actually works? Will there ever ever be one? And no I am not converting a video just to watch it on an ipad. Anyone who does that ought to give all their money and their house to apple and go jump off a cliff because they are retarded.
  • Ozymandias# - Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - link

    Well... Ever since there are at least 10 video players capable of doing that in the App Store. And if you want to download youtube videos, there are apps that can do that as well.

    And as far as loading your videos, you can use DropBox, or a dozen other similar apps, or iTunes, or iCloud when it will be released.

    But I don't even do that. I prefer to stream the videos from my PC with AirVideo. It's easier.

    Please check before trashing a whole platform you have obviouly never even tried.
  • linlijunoo - Tuesday, June 7, 2011 - link

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  • jdonker - Wednesday, June 8, 2011 - link

    Until Apple give in and incorporate flash compatability into their devices the iphone, ipod touch and ipad will all be inferior browsing devices.

    Fix this first!

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