Apple announced the new features coming to iOS 5 today at its yearly developer conference, and it's bringing lots of awesome new features to the popular mobile platform. The catch: It won't be available until spring. If you don't want to wait, here's how to enjoy the best features it offers right now.
Some of these solutions require jailbreaking. If you're up for going the jailbreak route, be sure to check out our guide to jailbreaking your iDevice for instructions. If you're new to jailbreaking, you may also want to read about the disadvantages before you dive right in.
A Better Notification System
Apple built a new and hugely improved notification system for iOS 5, but from the looks for things, it's based on previously mentioned MobileNotifier, an app already available for jailbroken iDevices. In fact, Apple hired the developer of MobileNotifier (Peter Hajas), so it's no surprise to see a better notification system find its way into the lastest major upgrade to Apple's mobile operating system. If you can't wait for this spring, MobileNotifier is a great way to fill the void on your jailbroken iDevice right now.
Um, finally? iTunes has long been plagued with tethered syncing, and it's about time Apple got on board with cutting the cable — even if they didn't do it 100 per cent. The wonderful Wi-Fi Sync has been around for awhile, however, providing you with a means to wirelessly sync your iDevice with iTunes. While Wi-Fi Sync isn't as silent and simple as Apple's iCloud offering, it can wirelessly sync over your local network or remotely, and it works very well. Wi-Fi Sync isn't perfect, but it's far better than you'd expect for something that's hacking around two very closed-off Apple products. If you want wireless sync right this very second, you can get it for a jailbreak and $US10.
Do we really even need Safari Reader when we have the beloved read-it-later app Instapaper? You get the benefit of easily-readable articles, and you don't have to use the Safari web browser on your desktop to integrate your iOS device and your computer. It's pretty much the best way to easily read web content, so regardless of Safari Reader's addition to iOS 5 you should really be using Instapaper now anyway.
We're not sure why Apple didn't decide to put tabbed browsing in Safari until the FIFTH version of iOS, but it's been around in third-party browsers for quite awhile. One of our favourites is Atomic Web. Not only does it feature excellent tabbed browsing, but it also includes plenty of other features you'd want from a desktop browser.
A Better Camera
iOS 5 is bringing a faster, feature-filled camera to iOS 5, but you can get that right now with Camera+. Camera+ is the full-featured photo app that originally introduced the use of the volume button to snap photos (and was removed from the App Store as a result). Camera+ is back in the App Store with that volume-shutter removed (you can re-enable it with jailbreak hack SnapTap), and it's the perfect camera app to turn to, at least until iOS 5 comes out.
It makes sense that Apple would add a to-do list app to iOS because it's clearly popular in the iTunes App Store. There are so many third-party options that you can probably find one that's tailored exactly to your needs, but here are a few suggestions: Wunderlist is simple, attractive, and syncs wirelessly to its desktop and web components; SmallTask is about as simple as it gets for reminders and syncs with Dropbox; And, of course, Remember the Milk is a frequent favourite for task management and reminders.
iMessages is basically Blackberry Messenger for iOS, which is pretty exciting if you commonly communicate with non-iPhone users but love SMS. While nothing is going to work exactly like the iMessage service, you can pick up an app that lets you send text messages (for free) directly from your iDevice, even if it's not an iPhone. There are plenty of other apps that do this, and you can use instant messaging as well, so you're not bereft of options for communicating with your non-iPhone friends.