Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Now that iOS 5 is out, what do you think?

Author: Riley Alexander, MD, MBA

I was very happy to get iOS 5 on my iPhone earlier this week...even if it seemed like it took 4 hours to install. So far, it seems to be a very worthwhile and great update. I was concerned with the speed bump given to the iPhone 4S that my iPhone 4 may suffer, but so far it actually seems like my user experience is faster than it was before. A very good surprise indeed.

A few sure-fire reasons to update:
1) The new notifications system FINALLY replaces the antiquated alert system of the past and is very welcomed. It's very nice to just have a little drop down menu appear while you're using the phone that you can ignore instead of the big blue badge. Going directly to an alert from the home screen is also very nice. Well done, Apple.

2) New camera features include the ability to go into the camera directly from the lock screen and use the physical volume button as a shutter button. Sounds minor, but makes those quick "pull your iPhone out of your pocket for something unexpected pics" that much easier to pull off. It also seems that the camera app loads much faster than before and the photos app now includes some onboard photo editing. All very nice additions to the already solid iPhone camera.

3) Text expansion. What is this you might add? Well this is something that Apple didn't even advertise, but the blogs quickly picked up on. If you go into the "General" settings, under settings, and click Keyboards, Apple has them called "shortcuts." Essentially it allows you to set up shortcuts for oft used phrases. For example you can add brb and it will auto-fill when typing to "be right back." This way you can be lazy but not write texts like a teenager if you don't want. Also great for email signatures, etc.

4) Speed. This is totally anecdotal, but I have to say my system seems noticeably more responsive (not that it was slow before). This was a very nice surprise being I was worried it would slow down on me.

What's I'm still not sure about:
1) iCloud. Apple's big new feature is still a bit of mystery to me. I have my accounts set up, but haven't spent a whole lot of time syncing things to it. I use Dropbox already so I'm not sure if I will need this, too until I can figure out some unique features it offers. You do get a nicely designed email account with 5gb of storage for free.

What's not to like:

1) No Siri on non-iPhone 4S devices. This feature looks amazing and it really irks me that Apple doesn't include it on the iPhone 4. I can't imagine that it is that processor intensive to require the new A5, but I guess I could be wrong.

2) Apple kind of dissed the iPad 1. My wife has an iPad 1, which she loves and is still a great device with amazing battery life a full 1 1/2 years after purchase. For some reason Apple decided to cut the iPad 1 out of the previously mentioned photo-editing features and, the bigger insult, removed the multi-touch gestures it added for the iPad 2. Hopefully the latter was a mistake, but Apple needs to realize the iPad is not a device people will be updating every two years and shouldn't not support features just because it's not the newest and greatest.

Final verdict: Download iOS 5.

About the author:

Dr. Riley Alexander is a pathology resident at Indiana University School of Medicine, blog "addict" and avid follower of technology. His primary interests revolve around how technology, especially mobile, will create increased efficiency, enhanced physician education and better delivery of care in the medical field. Dr. Alexander is a graduate of Indiana University School of Medicine with a combined MD/MBA, in partnership with IU's Kelley School of Business. Due to this, he is also very interested in management, healthcare policy and non-clinical aspects of the medical field and enjoys exploring non-clinical opportunities for medical students, residents and physicians. He completed his undergraduate education at IU-Bloomington.

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