What We Did And Didn't Get From iOS5 / iCloud

So before the start of WWDC 2011 I wrote up a post listing some of my expectations for iOS5 and iCloud. So... How did I go? How did WE go?

Features We Did Get:
  1. Single-Sign-On Auto-Configuration: When setting up an iOS5 device for the first time you will be asked to log into your Apple ID or create one. The first step towards iPhone / iPad and iPod Touch going truly Post-PC. Once your Apple ID is ready to go, iOS will guide you through setting up its special internet services like iCloud, Find My iPhone, Game Center etc. All these settings look like they will be backed up to iCloud as well, so next time you just have to enter your Apple ID and all your apps and settings will be downloaded in the place and state you left them on your last device.
  2. Cloud-Synced Data: Text Messages and your Camera Roll will be backed up to your 5GB iCloud account once a day which is great because this was one of the most pressing missing features. There are also many other things that iCloud will back up. My only concern is it may only back-up over Wi-Fi. This is fine for Images/Video etc but you would think Texts could easily be backed-up over 3G for those who don't have a home connection. It also provides the option to sync with your computer's iTunes over Wi-Fi as well when your phone is charging which is cool.
  3. Better Notifications: Notifications are much better displayed on the lock screen and you can access a history of your Notifications in a drawer swiped down from the top of your screen in a style popularised by Android. You can also configure your LED flash to blink when you get a new notification as well as set custom tones for certain apps like Mail. Unfortunately you can't seem to dismiss individual notifications, there is only a per-app "clear all" feature as far as I can tell.
  4. Better iDisk Support or iCloud Replacement: Well it seems that iDisk and its hosted websites and shareable galleries have been canned and all of MobileMe's loyal suffering customers have been screwed over but we did get a solution from iCloud to back up our documents from iOS devices to the cloud. No word though on how Mac OS X accesses these files, which is a concern.
  5. OTA Patches: Done and done. Just as I suspected after seeing my Apple TV get a OTA delta update.

Features We May Have / Sort Of Got:
  1. Access My iTunes Purchased Content Anywhere: It seems that iTunes in the Cloud is not supporting access to our Movie / TV Show /Music Video purchases from iTunes. Music is all we seem to have so far.
  2. Cloud-Synced App Save States: iCloud claims it will back-up "Device-Settings" and "App Data". Developers are also being given some API access to iCloud, primarily for documents but hopefully it will also allow apps to maintain there status between all your iOS devices.
  3. Display More Information on my Wallpaper: Notifications will be displayed on the lock screen and the Weather and Stocks apps are visible as widgets in the notification draw. No sign yet of the ability of To-Do apps being able to display their lists on your wallpaper directly yet.
  4. Location Aware Behaviours: No profiles but there has been some location aware functionality built in. The iPhone will backup its essential data to iCloud when you are on Wi-Fi once a day and it will perform a Wi-Fi sync with iTunes on your computer whenever it is charging and can detect your iTunes on your Wi-Fi network. The new Reminders app also allows you to set alarms based on your location. This could be cool but may also suck your battery dry.

    Features We May NOT Have Got:
    1. GameCenter APIs For the Web: This may have been added but since I don't have a dev account I can't look into it.
    2. Grandfathered iDisk support: I didn't expect to lose my iDisk. Boo.
    3. Better Google Sync support: Using the default gMail setup on iOS5 it still doesn't seem to auto-configure Google Sync. Boo. iCloud may automatically backup your contacts and calendars regardless of your email account but how can you get that information back to Google if you use Google's web apps?
    4. Better Understanding Of iOS File Management: I realise that iOS tries to keep the file system invisible but I still have three really important questions about how its going to work. A) If I delete an app, do I delete all the documents it created / stored as well? B) How do I manage a file that is being worked on by two apps or the same app on two devices like a Mac and an iPad for example? With Dropbox that is easy but how does that work with iCloud? C) Is AirDrop not going to support iOS devices?

    Features We Didn't Get:
    1. Spotlight APIs for 3rd Party Developers: This is a really disappointing missing feature. They added a news stand folder for your magazines but no sign of search for In-App-Purchase content.
    2. A Web-Based iTunes Store: Nope. The iBookstore has come to iTunes though.
    3. GameCenter and Ping Merged: No, although Game Centre does seem have some Genius recommendations for games and there is deeper support for finding other Game Centre friends. Despite deeper Twitter support in iOS5, there is no sign you can find more Game Centre friends by searching your Twitter followers like you can with Ping. Crazy!
    4. Ping support for Apps / Movies / Books / Games: No love for Ping, maybe its being killed off. I realise not many people use it but I'd still like to see what movies my friends are renting and apps they are buying and liking etc. More Ping and Game Center updates may come with the next iPod Touch I suppose.
    5. In-App Purchases Hosted By Apple: No word of this, Apple really needs to add this to justify their 30% cut of the take.

    Features I Forgot To Ask For:
    These are features that I have noted were missing before but did not place on my checklist.
    1. System level QR Code Integration: This has been added to Windows Phone 7 and I really wish iOS would have it as well. It's a great way for people to share and promote links and apps in the App Store whether it be from business cards, to posters, to ads in old media publications. There are good free apps available to do this but without it built in, it will only remain in the realm of the geeks.
    2. A5 Specific Features. No specific mention of optimisations or benefits of the dual core A5 chip like Side-by-Side apps.
    3. iPad Alarm Clock. No Sign of it.
    4. Easier Bluetooth Toggle: At the very least put this toggle below wifi on the very first Settings page. Even better would be a widget in the app switcher or Notifications draw.
    5. You still can't select text within a Text message bubble. Pathetic.
    6. Open FaceTime: Silence.
    I'll add obvious answers to this list as I use the beta more. Extra features like NFC support and more may also be announced along with the iPhone 5 so it may be a while before we get the complete picture. What features are still missing for you?


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