Back in March, at the next to last Apple keynote he would ever attend, Steve Jobs coined the phrase “post-PC world.” The usual cynics tittered at the time, and perhaps are still tittering, but as he often was, Steve was right: day by day, the iPhone in our back pockets or the iPad in our messenger bags are the most important computers in our lives.
For iOS 5, Apple put their money where Steve’s mouth was. Apple was going to prove to everyone that the umbilical between iOS and a Mac or PC could be cut.
Apple’s strategy was simple. They would go through iOS, identify every feature that assumed or required a PC, and radically retool it so that it relied on the cloud instead. With iOS 5, Apple stores all of your data — your mail, your calendar, your address book, your photos, your music, your ebooks, even your Doodle Jump save games — in the iCloud. iTunes Match hurls your complete music collection onto Apple’s servers, available to download anywhere and anytime without pulling out your Apple Connector cable. Meanwhile, Wi-Fi Syncing makes sure that if your iPhone or iPad does need to talk to your PC, it can do so just by being plugged into a wall socket and within stone’s throw of your PC.
All of this would be ambitious enough, but Apple didn’t stop there. They added major new features to almost every core iOS app: Mail, Safari, Camera, Calendar and more. They integrated Twitter sharing into the core of the operating system. They made a serious play for the hearts of magazine publishers with Newsstand. They totally overhauled the way iOS handles notifications. They introduced over the air updates. And then they introduced their own new iOS device messaging system that threatens the bottom line of every wireless carrier’s extortionate, hopelessly overpriced SMS texting plans.
So now iOS 5 is here, and the question is: has Apple severed iOS’s innate tether to the PC, or will iOS 5 be remembered as a smaller interim step towards the post-PC world Steve so presciently envisioned?
We’ve been playing with iOS 5 for months. Here’s what we think: by gum, Apple’s done it.
Table of Contents
Intro – John Brownlee
• iMessage – Buster Heine
• Notification Center & Widgets – Killian Bell
• Newsstand – John Brownlee
• Reminders – Killian Bell
• Twitter Integration – Killian Bell
• iCloud – John Brownlee
• WiFi Sync – Killian Bell
• iTunes Match – Leander Kahney
• Mail – John Brownlee
• Calendar – John Brownlee
• Camera – Buster Heine
• Safari – John Brownlee
Conclusion – John Brownlee.