Jim Karpen holds a Ph.D. in literature and writing, and has a love of gizmos. His doctoral dissertation focused on the revolutionary consequences of digital technologies and anticipated some of the developments taking place in the industry today. Jim has been writing about the Internet and technology since 1994 and has been using Apple's visionary products for decades.
One of the key features of iOS 5 is iCloud. In order to use it, you need to set it up — which is fairly simple. But if you're in any way confused by it, Apple has posted a guide to setting up iCloud that shows you the steps. Also, CNET has an article about setting up this new service.
Yahoo News has a great article showing you 12 ways iOS 5 will change the way you use your iPad. It covers some features I hadn't yet heard of, such as a split keyboard option. Other features covered include multitouch gestures, tabbed browsing in Safari, texting on your iPad with iMessage, typing shortcuts, Twitter integration, a global dictionary, and more.
Apple's servers got hit so hard yesterday that users of iOS devices worldwide received error messages when trying to upgrade. Many received a message with a code 3200, while some received a 3400 code. In every case, there wasn't really any solution other than to just try again. You can read more on AppleInsider and TechCrunch.
Today's the day for iOS 5. It adds over 200 new features, apps, and services. You can read an in-depth review on AppleInsider. The new features include iCloud, which will automatically back up your photos and other content to the cloud, Notification Center, which does a much better job of handling push notifications, and Newsstand, an iBooks-like app that gives you access to a range of publications. AppleInsider gives you details on the new Reminders app, which finally gives iOS a to-do function.
I've collected a number of demos of Siri so you can get an idea of how well it works. First up is one from Macworld's Jason Snell. He puts Siri through its paces, showing the range of questions and requests it can understand — and examples of how it doesn't always work.
Stuff.TV also has a good demo. Siri has an answer for the question "How far away is the moon" and has no trouble with requests such as "Send an email to my mom" and "Wake me up tomorrow morning at 7 am." In this one you can also see how the background noise doesn't interfere with Siri's language understanding.
I'm convinced that Siri is the killer feature of the iPhone 4S, and David Pogue of the New York Times characterizes it as "Crazy good, transformative, category-redefining speech recognition" in his review.
Facebook's app for iOS devices just received a major update — and finally includes a new interface specifically for the iPad. Hurray! The app is very different from the iPhone app and effectively takes advantage of the larger screen. It includes access to Facebook games, apps, and chat, and a number of other features. Photos are high resolution, and you can flip through them like a photo album. Navigation is optimized so that you can quickly access features and return to where you were.
Apple has done it again. The iPhone 4S has stoked frenzied enthusiasm, and over 1 million people preordered the phone in the first 24 hours — a new record for Apple. You can read more in Apple's press release from earlier today. The previous record was 600,000 for the iPhone 4. If you order one now, you'll have to wait a week or two. The iPhone 4S will be available in stores this Friday. No doubt there will be long lines again.
Within 24 hours of the launch of the iPhone 4S, Apple had already received so many online orders that they sold out all of their units available for the announced Oct. 14 delivery. So if you haven't yet ordered, you'll be faced with a delay of 1–2 weeks. Also, AT&T announced that they had received a record 200,000 preorders in the first 12 hours. Read more on AppleInsider. I think Siri is the killer feature of this phone.
Although the iPhone 4S isn't yet available, a number of enthusiasts were able to give it a test run at Apple's event on Tuesday. And they've now written their initial impressions. They generally praise the greater speed, higher quality camera, and the effectiveness of Siri. TiPb has posted a roundup of several of these reviews. Be sure to read the review on This Is My Next, which says that Siri, the new speech recognition feature, is indeed impressive.