iOS 5.0 was released on October 12, 2011, and I recall spending a long night downloading it and resetting all my devices. It’s now two weeks into 2012, and having wielded iOS 5.0 for much of the previous academic semester, there are several functions that have been implemented which extend the usefulness of the iPad both during a lecture and on a break. I consider the three most appreciated modifications to the operating system.
Previously, I was only able to multi-task by clicking on the home button and thus, would run the risk of wearing it out quickly. Furthermore, this made it inconvenient for situations when I had applications running in a particular orientation and had to reach across the iPad to pull open the multi-tasking menu. However, with the update, I can swipe four fingers across the screen to cycle to the next application, swipe up to reveal all running programs, and pinch my fingers to return to the home screen, all without the use of the home button. This feature allows me to switch between applications very quickly, for instance, allowing me to read an article in GoodReader and follow a lecture in Keynote simultaneously.
Improved Notifications Centre
This one proves to be immensely useful for anyone who uses the iPad for reading papers or gaming and does not wish to be disturbed. In the old days, notifications from Facebook or a chat client would pop out and distract a user from their reading or game. If they chose to dismiss the notification, that message would be irretrievable for later reading. Opening the notification would switch off the currently running application. Either of these options meant disruption, something the new mechanism dispenses with. Notifications populate the upper edge of the screen and can be recalled with a quick swipe downwards from the top edge. Unaddressed notifications simply fade away and may be perused later. With this, I can immerse myself in a reading or game without worrying about stuff happening and either missing it, or else having the notification disrupt my current task.
Tabbed browsing in Safari
This has been a long-awaited feature for the iPad. With a 9.7 inch display, the old Safari meant all that real estate was going to waste by inefficiently opening pages in new windows that could not be reorganised or reordered. The introduction of tabbed browsing finally makes Safari behave more like standard computer browsers and is a most welcome addition to the iOS platform. If one wished to check their course pages and read another site efficiently, it is a simple matter of clicking that tab. The pages will still reload at times, but the process is much faster than the system found in older versions of Safari. Of course, after hours, browsing anime and gaming sites becomes rather amusing. The only limitation is that one may open up to nine tabs at once (the same number offered before), but other than that, browsing tab-intensive sites became a lot more straightforward.