I don't always look forward to software updates from Apple. Most of the time, I can't take advantage of major upgrades because the software I use the most will not be ready. Companies like Adobe, Digidesign and Intuit generally do not have enough time with major upgrades before they are released to the public and, therefore, cannot make required modifications in time. This problem is well known and well understood. You just wait until you get a notification from your key software vendors and then upgrade.
iOS upgrades are different. Apple usually takes great care to make sure that pure consumer upgrades to its devices work flawlessly. I have never had a problem ... so I was due.
Upgrading to iOS 5 on my Verizon iPhone 4 was a slow, painful process with several error messages and a general lack of emotionally satisfying communication. The download to update iTunes and get the required files took more than 20 minutes on a very robust broadband connection. And backing up my iPhone 4 took the usual five minutes. The one-click update started a long, convoluted process that included the deactivation of my phone and a full screen error message with a Verizon customer service number. There was no documentation about this, and calling the number yielded a 10 minute long voicemail tree that ended by telling me to visit a website for more details or, on a 3G iPhone, "Press *228 send to activate your phone." Ugh!!!
About 45 minutes into this experience, and after several "error 3200" messages, I was able to restart the process and restore my iPhone. When it restored, the iPhone had iOS 5 installed. To say that the process is counterintuitive would be the nicest way I could say it. BTW: "error 3200" is Apple-speak for network congestion.
WARNING: If you plan to upgrade your iDevice to iOS 5, make sure you back it up first. Remember, you were warned!
With my new iOS 5 operating system installed, I was anxious to explore the 200 new features. The first one was pretty obvious. There is a completely new notification system. You will like it.
The new OS also lets you automatically download music, videos and apps from the iTunes/App Store if you configure the feature in the settings menu.
iMessage is Apple's new version of free txt messaging between iDevices. Free is very pro-consumer.
If you live your life on your iPad and iPhone, you are going to think that the new reminder (task management) system is awesome!
iOS 5 has much improved Twitter integration. If you are a serial tweeter, you will love it!
You no longer need a computer to own an iDevice. And, you can now do all of your syncing without cables.
For business people with AppleTV installed in conference rooms or for teachers with Apple TV installed in their classrooms, you can now wirelessly mirror your iDevice. What does that mean? If your AppleTV is connected to a big flat screen monitor, you can wirelessly show what's on your iPad2 or iPhone screen on the big flat screen through AppleTV. I tried it in my living room, it's really cool.
There are some nice tweaks to Mail, Calendar, Safari and 190+ other things you may or may not care about. Overall, iOS 5 (once you get it installed) is pretty great!
I instantly noticed that my iPhone 4 works slower than it did before the upgrade. iOS 5 must put pressure on the processor. This will not be the case with your iPad 2 or your new iPhone 4S (when you get it). Certain processes are more sluggish than others, but it's only mildly annoying.
All-in-all, I really like what Apple has done with iOS 5 and, once you get it installed, I think you will too.
Shelly Palmer is the host of NBC Universal‘s Live Digital with Shelly Palmer, a weekly half-hour television show about living and working in a digital world. He is Fox 5 New York‘s On-air Tech Expert (WNYW-TV) and the host of Fox Television’s monthly show Shelly Palmer Digital Living. He also hosts United Stations Radio Network‘s, MediaBytes, a daily syndicated radio report that features insightful commentary and a unique insiders take on the biggest stories in technology, media, and entertainment. He is Managing Director of Advanced Media Ventures Group, LLC an industry-leading advisory and business development firm and the President of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, NY (the organization that bestows the coveted Emmy® Awards). Palmer is the author of Television Disrupted: The Transition from Network to Networked TV 2nd Edition (York House Press, 2008) the seminal book about the technological, economic, and sociological forces that are changing everything and the upcoming, Overcoming The Digital Divide: How to use Social Media and Digital Tools to Reinvent Yourself and Your Career (York House Press, 2011) For more information, visit shellypalmer.com
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