Saturday, 15 October 2011

iOS5 is here

iOS5 update is here. I applied to my iPad. The process is more or less the following (PC version):

- iTunes version update, of course after the update you need to reboot Windows. Why on earth you need to reboot Windows to update iTunes is beyond me. This is a mere 70MB download that installs pretty quickly, and thankfully Windows 7 boots fast.
- After the iOS5 release, lots of apps have been updated, so download all those.
- 700 MB download. Yes, you've read right, no kidding, 700MB.
- iPad backup. This is the moment to say that, because I had an iPod completely wiped out by iTunes, I don't enable iTunes to manage any kind of library. I copy everything by hand instead directly to the iPad or iPod so that I can decide exactly what gets copied to the device and in what format. Backup took something like 15 minutes.
- iPad reboot. A couple of minutes.
- iTunes copying again all the apps, about 5 minutes. iTunes copying again my 10.000 photos. Approximate time 2 hours, due to iTunes having to resize each and every photo again. One thinks that having those cached in a folder should be enough to determine that it does not need to do that again, but iTunes has said to itself: hey, let's err on the safe side and copy everything again. During the copy there is a big yellow bar in the storage summary that says "Other - 14GB". I think they were the photos, because it disappears after the copy was done.
- Just in case, synch again before ejecting the device.
- Turn on iPad again. Accept the terms of use, a mere 44 pages that I'm sure each and every one of the millions of iPad users has read. I'm sure that it says somewhere that Apple owns my soul and all copyrights to every word I say and every idea I think, but I'm not in the mood of reading it now so I accept it.
- Enter again your AppStore credentials. It needs them for what follows.
- Offer you to use iCloud. iCloud is useful if your liffe is littered with Apple devices, because you copy everything you have to some Apple data centre and you can retrieve it later on in any other iThing. Scarily say no before it attempts to upload my 10.000 photo collection or some other bright idea.
- Perhaps a few more minor details I've forgotten.

What you get in exchange for those delightful 3+ hours:

- A messaging app!!!. It's not clear if it only allows you to message people that own other iThings or can be used to chat over GTalk or MSN. Will check later.
- A kiosk app!!! Now you can download the digital editions of your favorite magazines. The few I checked cost exactly the same as their paper counterparts. Go figure.
- Now you get your notifications that look very similar to the Android ones!!! At last, you'll not have to face multiple modal pop ups when you turn on the iPad.
- A to-do list app!!!. According to Apple's marketing material,  you can now organize your life around this app and know what you have to do. Yes, you're reading right. Admit it, your life was pure misery before this app, because you were all the time asking yourself what you should do next. No more, the to-do list app is there to save you.
- And lastly, finally, Safari has tabs!!!!. In what seems an incredible concession to the world of usability, now you have a sane way to navigate multiple open web pages.

I love the convenience of the iPad, but can't help but think that those features should not need a 3 hour update. And seriously, if anyone thinks of Apple as something technically advanced because they have introduced those, some of them much needed features, please think again.

Certainly there is still room for competition. Go, Android, go.

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