On Friday evening I saw this post on Reddit. The poster had an Apple developer account but no use for the 30 activations of iOS betas you get with it. I replied and within the hour I was installing iOS 5 legitimately with no jailbreak. Hurrah!

I won’t go into detail about all the changes and updates as they’ve been covered in more detail elsewhere. I just wanted to go over a couple of my favourite changes quickly.

Notifications

**Pre iOS 5 notifications in iOS were horrible. A big blue screen popped up and stopped you from doing whatever you were doing until you cancelled it or flipped over to that app. Now you just get a non intrusive band at the top of the screen and once it’s gone (after a few seconds) the notification ends up in Notification Center.

Activated by swiping down from the menu bar (where have I seen that before?) it lists all outstanding notifications. As you can see in the screenshot it also shows stocks and weather. I’m not sure why Apple think everyone cares about stocks… especially enough to need it there every time you want to check which apps need your attention. I couldn’t find an obvious way to turn it off in the two days I ran the OS.

 

 

Easy Access Camera
Another feature added that I think many people will appreciate is the ability to start the camera app from the lock screen. This makes is much easier to quickly take a photo or video without having to type in your passcode and open camera.app.

Because you don’t have to type your passcode you can’t see any photos that have already been taken.

You can also now use the volume up button to take pictures (Hooray!).

 

 

 

 

Whilst all of the new things to play with are fun, the software is still very much beta level. Battery life is atrocious. My iPhone 4 died half way through Saturday after fairly light usage. This isn’t really surprising as I’m sure this is the last thing to be optimised. Apps behave rather erratically as well as they haven’t been updated to run on the new OS.

I’m glad I got to have a play. I’ll probably have another go when they release beta 2 but until then I’m happy with 4.3.3.