Yesterday, the servers at Apple were taxed with millions of mobile users downloading the new iOS5. My slow 7-hour download of the OS last night was well worth it. I woke up at 5:30 this morning and ran to my computer to find my phone upgrade had completed. It felt like Christmas Day! I ran back to bed with my phone and went about toying with iOS5 for well over an hour. Apple claims that it would make all phones faster, even my old 3GS. I had my doubts, but that indeed seems to be true. My phone feels quite snappy; not bogged down in any way. I really like the new OS. As far as iOS limitations on my hardware, I think my 3GS has every new feature except for Siri and AirPlay abilities.
The new notification system is my overall favorite feature. I was getting a little jealous of friends with Android phones that were able to see all of their notifications and local weather conditions on their lock screen. Now I can enjoy the same, without a jailbreak.
iMessage is a killer feature for me, as I don’t pay for unlimited texting from AT&T. It is really awesome! My dad, brother, and I had a 3-way iMessage chat going this morning for an hour. It was great and only added to my excitement. The camera app loads faster now, which is a welcomed enhancement for everyone. The new Mail app is great. I’d recently been using the Gmail mobile webpage in Safari, but now Mail supports flagging of important messages in the app and it has worked really well so far.
Some new iOS features are more hidden and subtle, but certainly a step forward. I’m also happy that iOS5 will now offer small over-the-air updates instead of one hulking download; something that Android users have had enjoyed for a long time.
I don’t really care about WiFi syncing or iCloud at this juncture. I chose to not enable any iCloud or WiFi sync features in my phone setup today. Some day in the future, I may flip that switch. For now, I mainly charge my phone on my computer, and I don’t need wireless syncing or cloud storage since I’m plugging it in already. My computer will continue to handle updates and backups for now.
The new iOS, combined with overhauled versions of Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and Google Voice this week have made my phone feel like a brand new toy. I use Google Voice a lot, and the new version that Google finally released this week, while no more attractive, is noticeably more responsive now, and integrates fully with the new iOS5 notification system.
I’m happy with all the upgrades. So much so that I don’t feel in a hurry to upgrade my phone hardware. I am eligible for an upgrade to the iPhone 4S per my mobile contract, but I am rather content with the phone I already have. I may get a wild hair one day and buy a new phone at some point, but I am happy with what I have for now. All of the new goodies have made it feel brand new again.