Surprisingly small updates in iOS 5

News all over the web are reporting about iOS 5 Beta 5 being available for software developers. At least one more beta version is expected before the final release. Apple iOS 5 will bring new nice enhancements, such as support for the iCloud service, new Android kind of notifications system for e-mails, calendar events, software updates and other events, a better camera software with more options to fine tune images and the ability to take pictures even though the device is in device lock mode, apparently the same way it’s been done on Windows Phone 7.

The notifications are probably the biggest UI enhancement in iOS 5. Many have argued this feature has been copied from Android, and Apple would be lagging behind.

The notifications are probably the biggest UI enhancement in iOS 5. Many have argued this feature has been copied from Android, and Apple would be lagging behind.

Even adter these adjustments I think iOS is a too limited compared to the widget based user interfaces of Android and Symbian. I like the you how can add your most important contacts, the latest calendar events and new e-mails on those three (Symbian) or even seven (Android) home screens.

I also find it awkward to manage apps in iOS, because there are so limited ways to arrange the icons in a couple of menus and folders.

I guess Apple doesn’t want to change the UI too much too fast so that current users won’t get scared away. I also understand how they want to prioritize ease of use against having more modfiability and personalisation. Active widgets in Android and Symbian also consume a quite a lot of battery.

Symbian Anna has a nice start menu with three screens for widgets, applications and contacts. With the next Symbian Belle updated, you could supposedly include widgets in different sizes.

Symbian Anna has a nice start menu with three screens for widgets, applications and contacts. With the next Symbian Belle updated, you could supposedly include widgets in different sizes.

The difference is clear when you look at Android devices, each of them tends to look a bit different depending on the user’s needs, whereas iOS usually just have a little bit different icons.

To summarize, some people say ”Android is the iOS for geeks”, and I pretty much agree. More control to user is great, although it often results in more sluggish performance and more battery comsumption.  Symbian tries to be like Android, but often fails in useability.

Based on my experiences of Windows Phone 7 so far, Microsoft has found a decent compromise between ease of use and flexibility, but they still need a lot more software support, multi-tasking et cetera, of which many have been promised already this year with the Mango update.

Although I still like the basic concept of the Symhian UI, as I’ve got used to it since 2002, the platform seems to lose developer support which means my current Nokia N8 could become obsolete too soon. Hopefully I can enjoy a little bit better experience for some time with the Anna (due out this month) and Belle (not officially launched yet) updates.

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