Recently, Apple seeded iOS 5 Beta 3 to developers, and aside from the obvious speed, stability, and battery life improvements, Apple is continuing to add small features and tweaks to the OS ahead of its fall release.
While obviously still a beta, this release has definitely come a long way, and would be the first one I would use on a “daily driver” device. There are obviously still some bugs, mostly in third-party apps, but overall it seems like iOS 5 is getting close to finished up and we will see a release in the earlier part of fall rather than the later part.
Here’s what we’ve noticed so far.
Accessibility Controls Point to Buttonless Future
Hidden away in the Accessibility settings menu is the ability to turn on the menu, which can be used to bypass every button on the device except the power button. With this turned on, you can swipe in from the corner of the screen to pull up the menu and access menus that let you simulate button presses on the device and even shaking. There’s also a simulated home button, which might be useful if your real one ever gets stuck.
Could these be the beginning of an iOS device without buttons? The current implementation is too clunky to use on a regular basis, but this could be just the beginning hints of a future buttonless iOS device.
Location Services TweaksCustom Notification Tones
Yes, you read me right. Custom text and notification tones are something that iPhone users have been asking for for years and years, and they are finally here. The implementation is simple and almost hidden, but when you go to select notification tones in the Sounds settings panel, any custom ringers you’ve added in iTunes will appear as options. Get your video game sounds ready, because we will finally have some options when it comes to notification tones. Hey, maybe now at meetings 10 people won’t look at their phones when “Tri-Tone” goes off!
Beta 3 makes it even easier to control how much of your location you are sharing and with what. The initial setup wizard now asks if you’d like to enable location services and explains them in plain English. There are also new location services settings, allowing you to control the ability of system services to access your location data.
While I don’t see why many would turn off anything but “Location-Based iAds” and maybe “Diagnostics & Usage,” it’s still nice that Apple is giving you the ability to control the private location data that your phone inherently has.