Apple iOS 5 and iCloud, The verdict

So I’ve been using iOS 5 on both iPad 1 and iPhone 4 for a couple of days now and I thought I’d follow up on my previous post about what I thought would impact me.

The first thing to note is that it took two days to update the two devices. That’s due to how long it takes to download over a relatively slow link, and how long it takes to re-flash the OS followed by a very long, slow restore of all data – around 30GB on each of my devices.

Likes

I love the ability to fire up the camera without needing to unlock the phone. Though why Apple require a double-click of the home button I’ll never know! Why not just always make it available?

Double clicking home also gives access to iPod controls on the same screen again without unlocking which is also useful.

It may be just me but the camera seems to start up faster now too.

Using the volume button to take a photo really is so much better and results in a lot less camera shake.

The notifications system will take a while to tweak to the best settings I think but is vastly better than the previous version.

Photo Stream is certainly useful but somewhat confusing as it effectively seems to be a copy of photos from whichever device takes them. See also my dislike below.

Not part of iOS itself, but the ability to synchonise iWork files (Pages, Numbers & Keynote) between devices is good though I really hope the extend this capability to the iCloud desktop client as well. Keeping track of expenses, kids pocket money, holiday allowance, etc. is now much easier.

Dislikes

5GB of free iCloud space is useless for backups, don’t even bother. Even worse when you have more than one device on a single account as of course you will as you want to share information between them. Just my iPad filled up 5GB with backup even after turning off the backups for most of the apps. Even worse, if you enable iCloud backups, you don’t get local backups! Like I really want to restore a 32GB device from the internet!

Taking photos on the iPhone 4 with the phone in the logical position to use the volume button – e.g. landscape with the buttons top-right – results in the images being upside-down in Windows!! Is no testing done by Apple!! I noticed this is one of the iPhone picture sharing apps too.

Photo Stream is not an album! That means that many photo management apps cannot see the pictures, you have to copy them to an album before you can do anything with them unless you are in the native Photos app or another Apple app that recognises the Stream. Ugh! You seem to have to “Save to Saved Photos”, then switch to Albums then to Saved Photos, then click the share button, then select the photos, then click “Add To…”, then click “Add to Existing Album”, then choose the album. Fantastic! 8 clicks and changes of screen just to copy photos out of the Photo Stream to an album – ARGHHHH…

Memory management on the iPad one is still poor with far too many apps crashing, even Pages.

Is it just me or does the camera seem to take much darker photos sometimes now? I notice that in a number of cases, where I would previously have expected the camera to take a flawless outdoor picture, that I couldn’t get the auto-exposure to get it right and the HDR pictures were coming out quite dark.

Again, not directly iOS or iCloud related but the latest version of Pages is still rubbish. Too much stuff just silently disappears without warning – such as fields and inter-document links. Also too much formatting is still lost such as lists within table cells. I’m also getting lots of crashes on the iPad 1.

Indifferent

iCloud contact sharing means that contacts previously only stored locally on my device are now shared between all devices which is better. But why can’t I move contacts to one of my already shared contact stores such as Gmail (uses Exchange sync)? Rubbish. I can’t even export from iCloud.com. Also strange is that I can now create contact groups on iCloud.com but NOT on my local devices!!

Why doesn’t iCloud sync everything to my desktop? I can’t understand this unless Apple are going to have some kind of “premium” offering later.

iCloud bookmark syncing, while useful to keep devices in sync, doesn’t allow changes from iCloud.com which would be very useful.

The update process for iOS 5 was not entirely seemless, on my iPad I ended up with quite a mess with icons scattered all over and not restored to where they were before.

OK, I’m bored now so that’ll do. I’ll try and add some more another time.
Hope you find this useful.