Apple’s iOS 5 has been released, with owners of the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad and iPad 2, along with the third- and fourth-gen iPod touch all getting the latest version of the mobile platform as a free update. Available to download for existing devices via iTunes, iOS 5 will also be preloaded on the new iPhone 4S, Apple’s fifth-gen smartphone that goes on sale this Friday.
Among the changes in iOS 5 are a new Notifications Center, which replaces the clunky pop-ups that Apple currently uses. Instead there’s a pull-down pane that shows, Android-style, all of the recent alerts and updates from your apps and services, along with shortcuts to the latest information from the iOS lock screen.
iOS 5 also brings with it iCloud, Apple’s new synchronization and backup system that promises to deliver your music and documents across all devices, as well as replace iTunes on the desktop as the hub of the digital ecosystem. All iOS 5 users – as well as those running OS X Lion on their Macs – will get 5GB of free iCloud storage, with more available at a fee. You can access the iCloud web-based login at icloud.com.
For all the details on what makes iOS 5 special – and where Apple’s software could still do with some work – check out our full review.