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iOS 5 Beta 5: The Future of the iPhone

ios 5.0Well, it’s almost time to go back to school and it looks like lucky students who’ve waited patiently may well just get their hands on the iPhone 5 before getting back to class. With the release of iOS 5 Beta 5, it looks like Apple is closer than ever to releasing the new generation of iPhone. If you’ll remember, the hold-up with iOS5 was the major reason for Apple to deviate from their typical summer release schedule for the new iPhone 5. So what’s going on with the 5th iPhone? Let’s see if we can’t break it down a little bit:

1) Jailbreaking:

Well, it only took two days, but iOS 5 has been successfully jailbroken. Now, granted, this is not a full jailbreak since iOS5 is still in Beta, so the phone needs to be tethered to a developer machine or else the jailbreak will not work. It is also not for the faint of heart, since the phone will not auto-update after being jailbroken, and can do all sorts of nasty things like lock up or permanently lose your data. Don’t try unless you are either really curious and really good with Apple products, or you’re a developer working on jailbroken apps. The good news is that once iOS5 hits the shelves, a fully operational jailbreak should be ready and waiting to go.

2) Looks Familiar:

Unless Apple is keeping developers in the dark in order to have a flashy last-minute reveal (not entirely to be ruled out, Apple has pulled zanier stunts), it looks like the look and feel of the new iOS will be the same as iOS 4. Not surprising, given that most of the updates seem to be more technical than flashy. Think of it as an evolution, not a revolution.

3) No Strings Attached:

Well, after who knows how many angry editorials and forum comments, Apple has finally introduced tetherless, or over-the-air (OTA) as it is commonly known, updating. Now iPhone users will be able to see when an update to iOS comes out and update their device with the touch of a button without having to connect to iTunes. In other words, the iPhone now has all the functionality of an Android device circa 3 years ago.

4) No Alarms and No Surprises:

I take my last comment back. With the introduction of a less intrusive alarm and alert panel that is swiped down fro the top of the screen, NOW the iPhone has all the functionality of an Android device circa 3 years ago. If you’ve ever used an Android device, this will be intimately familiar to you and should be a lot more user friendly than the old obnoxious notification system.

5) This One’s For the Birds:

Twitter, that almost but not quite ubiquitous social platform of dubious value, has gotten the nod of approval from Apple. In fact, it’s gotten a nod, a pat on the back, and a strong hearty handshake. Twitter is now being built into the very fabric of iOS 5, meaning that Twitter functionality will probably feature largely in every app released for iPhones and will be significantly more integrated than in current generations.

6) With Your Head On the Ground and Your Feet In the Clouds:

iCloud. Do we really need to say more? Apple’s foray into cloud computing has been thoroughly integrated into the iPhone and (one would assume) any new Apps built since iOS 5 was first announced. Apple HAS been nice enough to allow users to turn iCloud off, and decide which apps sync with the service, though unless the service somehow interferes with jailbroken devices I can’t think of any reason why iPhone owners would turn it off. BONUS: iCloud offers a free “Find My Phone” service, so if someone steals your phone and isn’t smart enough to turn it off or block transmissions until they can wipe it, you now have an easy way to recover it without paying for third party apps.