Two Weeks with iOS 5

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It's been two weeks since iOS 5 had been officially released to the public as a free upgrade for all compatible iOS devices.  Since I upgraded my iPhone, iPad, and children's iPod Touch devices, I've come to really appreciate the new features that come with iOS.  Here is my list of favorite features: 

  1. Notifications:  Both the Notification center and the new way notifications are managed in iOS 5 are a huge upgrade for the OS.  I can see why it was so popular in the Android platform, and I'm glad to see it on my phone.  Features like the stock app and weather app are more useful as they are published to the notification center, and I can view them regardless of the app I am using.  For instance, one game I like to play while commuting on the train is Civilization Revolution.  But I also need to know the time.  Previously, I would need to either check my watch or close the app to view the time (just to make sure I don't have to run to catch the train).  Now, with two swipes from the top of my game, the notification center will tell me what I want to know.  I can also see current emails waiting for me, and texts I may have gotten that are waiting, etc.  I look forward to more apps using the notification center instead of badges, as the latter are very annoying to see on the screen.
  2. Personalized Texting Tones:  It's a minor thing, but now you can personalize your text tones per person with ringtones, instead of using the default text notification.  Very handy when identifying who sent you the text, and how important it may be. 
  3. iCloud:  This is huge for me, because I have a bad habit of wiping computers and repartitioning them to test theories.  As such, I don't always backup my data properly, like pictures, much to my wife's annoyance.  With iCoud, those documents I want to keep get backed up and synced to all my devices, so I always have a copy of them somewhere.  It works well with Photo Stream and the iWork suite.  I'm looking forward to more apps using iCloud, like, say, an iOS version of Office?
  4. Find my Mac/iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch:  Last month, my youngest, in his excitement, managed to misplace both of the boys' iPod Touch devices.  We took the house apart looking for them, and was unable to find them until recently when we had our carpet replaced and they took the grill off of the return vents in the hallway.  There were both of the iPod Touch devices, none the worse for wear other than having completely drained batteries.  I immediately upgraded them, synced them to my iTunes account, and turned on Find my iPod Touch.  Now, should they go missing, I can quickly an easily find them using the wireless network by sending a loud tone.  While this feature was available for the iPod Touch in iOS 4, it's easier to enable in iOS 5.  I also will be getting any pictures my sons take with their devices in my Photo Stream, which will then be shown on the Apple TV.  That's just cool. 
  5. Newsstand:  I've never been a huge fan of newspapers and magazines, mostly because they take up a lot of space when you save them, and even more space when you try to get rid of them.  And digital copies on an iOS device using apps was cumbersome.  Newsstand does simplify the process of getting and reading your subscription media, and though not all subscription apps support Newsstand, many do, and that has got me actually thinking about getting subscriptions.  If only The Highlander would create an iOS app for Newsstand..
  6. Increase Volume Button for Taking Pictures:  It's just awesome to use the native camera app and take pictures with the increase volume button. 

So those are six things that I have enjoyed since I started working with iOS 5.  There are other features, of course, that are just as awesome, but some I can't take advantage of without having newer hardware, and others I haven't discovered.  There was one issue I experienced after upgrading though:  my battery on my iPhone 4 drained faster than ever before, until I let it drain completely and then recharged it completely.  After that, the battery has worked as well as ever, and sometimes even performed better. How do you find iOS 5?