iOS 5 Is Coming Soon – Here Are Some of its Best iPad Features

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iOS 5 is the next big update to the operating system software for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch. Apple has announced that it will be released ‘this fall’. As today is the start of fall, and the latest beta of iOS 5 runs beautifully on the iPad, it is widely expected that we’ll see the public release within the next few weeks.

So this seems like a good time to mention some of the best new features you’ll see on the iPad when iOS 5 comes out. I’ve been running all of the iOS 5 developer betas on either my original iPad or the iPad 2 – and the latest beta 7 on my iPad 2 for about three weeks now. These are some of the iOS 5 features I think are the most impressive:

Mutitasking Gestures: These allow you to swipe with four or five fingers to pinch back to the home screen from within any app, swipe up from the bottom of the iPad to reveal the multitasking bar, and to swipe left and right to move between recently used apps.

Tabbed Browsing in Safari: This has been around in some 3rd party browser apps for a while now, but it’s great to see it added to the built-in (and excellent) iPad browser. Safari also has a slick ability with these that I’ve not seen in other apps – tap and drag to move re-order tabs.

‘PC Free’ Features: iOS 5 means far less need to ever connect your iPad to a computer. You can activate and setup a new iPad without connecting to a PC, and it also offers WiFi sync, OTA (over the air) OS updates, Photo Stream to sync photos to all your iOS devices, and iCloud backup.

See Storage Space Used by Your Installed Apps: Before iOS 5 you could only see a totla amount of space used by all apps on the iPad – and even that you could only see in iTunes on a PC when the iPad was connected. Now you can look at the General > Usage section in Settings right on the iPad itself and see how much space is being used by each and every installed app. You can even drill down on each app and see how much space is taken by its data / documents and how much by the program itself.


Twitter Built Right In: In iOS 5 Twitter is heavily integrated right into the OS – and you can now tweet directly from within built-in apps like Safari, Photos, Maps and more.

Notification Center: Finally, a much nicer way to handle notifications – and even to see much  ore than just the most recent one.

AirPlay Mirroring: This is maybe THE big showcase feature of iOS 5 – especially for iPad users. It allows you to mirror everything you do on the iPad – wirelessly – to an Apple TV. Games that are optimized for this (like Real Racing 2 HD) look and work tremendously well so this should be a killer feature for gamers. It should be a huge feature for business users and for teachers and anyone doing presentations. With an Apple TV costing just $99 this is an awesome way to be ‘untethered’ when presenting from an iPad – making live demos easy and just offering a wealth of possibilities.

*** Note – AirPlay Mirroring is for the iPad 2 only.

There are plenty more nice new features in iOS 5 – the above are just my early favorites list. You can see all the details on Apple’s page for iOS 5 features.

Which iOS 5 features are you most looking forward to using?

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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26 thoughts on “iOS 5 Is Coming Soon – Here Are Some of its Best iPad Features”

      1. Awesome, thanks! I’ve been debating on purchasing Apple TV for several months because the only thing I would use it for would be mirroring. I got rid of Netflix
        and have no desire to sign up again and I doubt I will rent/purchase movies or shows.

        1. Yeah – Real Racing 2 HD is one of the first apps to really be optimized for AirPlay and mirroring, and it’s very impressive to see it in action. Hopefully lots of developers are gearing their games up for this now.

    1. Looks like no. Just tried a 35MB file and got the popup telling me I need to be connected to a WiFi network.

      1. anyway, thanks for the effort.
        this is only thing i am struggling on ipad 2 3G connection.
        i am from India, and 3G is better and available to most citizens, wifi is not that rampant barring big metros.
        hope apple will change that soon.

  1. In Safari will I be able to scroll in a window that is in another window? Maybe I can do it now but have never figured it out.

    1. I’m sorry but I don’t understand your question. Do you mean scroll within a frame on a web page? If so, using two fingers to scroll in that area should work.

    1. Thanks. And yes – just gave that a quick test during halftime of Monday Night Football. It doesn’t show the FaceTime call on the whole TV screen, more like roughly half of it – but it works and audio is good, picture quality is OK.

  2. Hey Patrick, thanks for the preview. Now that Steve has stepped down, what do you think the chances are of seeing flash on apple handhelds?

    1. My pleasure on the preview. I think the chances are at right about zero. The arguments against Flash were never just personal to Steve Jobs (who is also still chairman of Apple) – they have always been about how crap the Flash software is, how much it negatively affects system performance, even on desktop machines, and how it is responsible for a huge %age of crashes.

      Even Adobe themselves are backing away from Flash now.

  3. I thought that 4.3.5 already had the multitasking gestures? On second thought, that might be because I have an iPad for development so it might be enabled on my iPad for that reason.

  4. Does IOS 5 have better printer support? Will we be limited to a few Airprint supported printers as we are now?

    1. No – as far as I’m aware there are no changes to AirPrint in iOS 5, and the only recent additions to the supported printer list are a handful of Canon printers.

  5. I wish we could airplay over to our Mac or Pc’s that would be awesome for those of us that have nice monitors..

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