My iOS 4 wish list: How does iOS 5 stack up?

Looking back over some old posts on this blog, it occurred to me that almost exactly a year ago I made a post of my 5 most-wanted features for the forthcoming release of iOS 4 that I didn’t expect to get in that release.

Now, with iOS 5’s key new features announced and the first beta in developer’s hands, I figured now was a good time to revisit that wish list and see just how many of those abstract wishes have become a reality.

1. Safari Reader for Mobile Safari

Oh yes, Apple came right out with that one and brought Safari Reader compatibility to the iPhone and iPad. Although since I made that original post a year ago I have gotten quite used to using Reeder combined with Instapaper for reading longer articles on the go, it will nevertheless be pretty nice to instantly switch a webpage to Reader mode without having to bounce it into Instapaper first.

2. Wish List support for the iTunes, App and iBook Stores

There’s sadly no sign of this yet, although the new ability to download already purchased items to your phone is a (admittedly very small) step in the right direction.

3. A photo slideshow for when the iPhone is charging

No sign of this yet either; although now I have an iPad I seem to be missing this feature less. It would be nice, though.

4. Live app icons

Although we haven’t got this as such, the widgets in the notification pulldown show that Apple are at least thinking of alternative ways of providing information.

5. More wireless integration with MobileMe

Technically, we didn’t get this. But only because Apple have decided to shut down MobileMe and replace it with iCloud, which will allow for wireless backups of iDevices, and, more importantly, allow all apps to sync data wirelessly between devices. The examples Apple showed at the WWDC Keynote were simply files syncing across devices and the desktop in the iOS/OS X versions of the iWork apps, but they also announced the ability for developers to access this data sharing – meaning it should soon be theoretically possible for, say, Angry Birds to sync game progress between two different devices, and maybe even the desktop version of the app as well.

It does potentially sound a death knell for apps which charge for the privilege of syncing between devices, such as the to-do app I’ve recently started using that wants £11.99 a year to keep my data in sync between the iPhone and iPad versions. When the iCloud is offering this sort of service for free, people won’t like paying for it to be done through a third party (and potentially less reliable) server, unless that syncing services offers something above and beyond what the Apple’s cloud service can offer. Perhaps a to-do app is a bad example, however, as the new Reminders app included with iOS 5 will probably kill off all but the most advanced to-do and reminder apps in the App Store.

With iOS 5, iCloud and OS X 10.7 ‘Lion’ all coming in the next few months, I’d say the future is looking pretty rosy.



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