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So there’s a new ipad coming out soon, http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/mar/07/ipad-apple, not apparently ipad3 but just ‘the new ipad’.   So next year when there is the next version what do we have?, the new ‘new ipad’ and the old ‘new ipad’, it seems a bit confusing, I wonder why not just ipad3 or ipad 2S if they really had to.

Another things that strikes me about the ipad is the figures they showed at the launch about the sales.  These showed that Apple shipped 15m ipads which was more than the number of HP PCs that were sold.  That seems to suggest to me that Apple see the ipad as being a mass-market tablet device.  But isn’t the price a bit of a barrier?  At that price I can see the Apple fans buying a new version each year, but if you’ve already got an ipad or ipad2 are you really going to be buying a new one quickly?   If Apple are looking at the PC market then the likely PC replacement cycle must be around 3-5 years I would have thought.  Will Apple really be able to encourage people to spend the price of a decent spec-laptop every couple of years?  I would wonder.

Apple iOS 5.0.1 update screenshotSo the first update for iOS5 seems to be out, iOS 5.0.1, and it seemed a good chance to try out how the updates work now you don’t have to do them through being connected up to itunes on the PC.

The first sign that there was an update available was a message on screen and also a red icon on the corner of the Settings icon (the same as you see against the Apps icon whenever there is an update.  When you go into settings there’s a 1 against General and then against the Software Update setting under General.  Running the update seems pretty straightforward.  The screen goes blank and you get an Apple logo and a progress bar, once that completes it goes blank again then you get another Apple logo and progress bar.  Once completed it takes you to the ‘unlock’ screen.

All in all a pretty painless operation that took about five minutes.  It’s good that you don’t have to link it up to the PC but I do wonder about how you are supposed to back-out of it if it goes wrong.  How do you restore it?, from icloud somehow?

The process
Having read some of the problems that people have been having with their upgrades to iOS 5, it was with a bit of trepidation that I upgraded the ipad yesterday.  Particularly as I’d had a few problems when upgrading to iOS 4.3.5.   I fully expected it to take several hours with all manner of problems.  But actually it was pretty painless given the size of the upgrade.

After plugging the ipad into the laptop and running up itunes it needed an upgrade of itunes on the laptop to the latest version first, so that took a little bit of time.  And I hadn’t sync’d the ipad to the laptop recently so it had to do that, but once I got into the upgrade process the backup process seemed to take more time than doing the actually upgrade.  It seemed to take no more than an hour.  It may have been less but I’d got so used to the ipad restarting, going blank and doing it’s own thing that I didn’t realise that you had to finish the process off on the ipad.  The ipad went blank and nothing appeared on the laptop so it took me a while to work out that I needed to press the button on the ipad and then through several screens to finish the setup.  But the process seemed to run pretty smoothly for me on the whole.

The only problem I had in common with many people was the iCloud setup, but afterwards I was able to go back into it and configure that, although I’ve not yet had time to use it to backup the device.  There’s not much on the ipad so it’s within the free 5gb limit but I think I might wait to think about whether I want everything copied there.

But overall the upgrade went really smoothly, and pretty much all my downloaded apps worked fine afterwards.  This time I did the update on a faster network and from the laptop I’d originally setup the ipad from.  So maybe that was the difference.

iOS 5

ipad iOS 5 screenshot Having  completed the upgrade there are quite a few changes that are evident on the ipad.  Most obvious amongst them are the appearance of several new icons on the home page: Messages, Reminders and Newsstand, while the ipod icon has changed to a Music one.  [If you want to look through the iOS 5 features then they are detailed on the Apple site here]

Behind the scenes there are quite a few changes that I’ve noticed already.  So the Music section now defaults to displaying your music in albums.  I wondered idly whether that said something about the age of whoever decided that the album view would be the default.  If you’re used to buying music track-by-track then the album view probably isn’t the way you think of music.  It sounds a bit old-school, physical-format centric maybe?

Safari now has tabs which is great (and not before time to be honest) but there still seems to be a limit of 9 tabs, even though you still get the + sign it doesn’t seem to open any more tabs (for me anyway).  You can also tweet links from the browser as well as email them.

The Message feature I find a bit strange.  iOS 5 Messages iconIt lets you message iPhones, iPod touch and iPads, but nothing else.  Presumably because it links in with the Apple account.  At the same time as the iOS 5 integrates twitter support more completely (although the twitter app still doesn’t take advantage of the larger screen of the ipad), it isn’t all that obvious why Apple would introduce a new messaging feature in what is already a pretty crowded marketplace (with SMS, twitter and Google+ providing multiplatform support).  Making it available through iTunes might have been a good idea maybe?  I noticed also that even if you turn it off from the Settings then the icon still remains on the home page.

I gather that there are 200 new features in iOS 5 so it’s going to take a while to find them all out.   Amongst the General > Network settings is a VPN feature that I don’t remember before that looks like it could do with checking out to see whether it can be connected to the VPN.  It suggests to me a bit of thinking about the ipad as a device for business and what would be useful to make it easier to use for business.  Well, easier network browsing as an integral part of the ipad would be good to see in the longer term and some multiuser capability.

Overall, I’m pretty happy that the upgrade went OK, and there’s a host of new features to play with.  As a final thought, actually, that’s a new operating system version as a free upgrade, so that’s pretty good.

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