After giving us a look at OS X 10.7 Lion in its WWDC keynote today, Apple turned to what is seen as the more important of its OS platforms at the moment: iOS. 

iOS 4 is still a perfectly usable smartphone and tablet operating system today, but advances made by both Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 have made it look a little long in the tooth. With iOS 5, Apple must both keep pace with its competitors advances and outmaneuver them in other areas. 

First, let's talk availability and system requirements: iOS 5 will be available after Lion, at some unspecified date this fall. Apple didn't talk at all about a new iPhone onstage (meaning that, as the rumor mill has long suggested, we probably won't see a new iPhone this summer), so it's uncertain whether iOS 5 will show up along with revised hardware, or whether it will be used to help modernize the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS that Apple is currently selling.

That leads us to system requirements, where the news is happier: iOS 5 will support all the same devices that iOS 4.3 does, meaning that the iPhone 3GS, the iPhone 4 (both GSM and CDMA), the 3rd and 4th generation iPod Touch, the iPad and iPad 2, and the new Apple TV will all get iOS 5 when it comes out. Apple didn't say whether any major features would be left out for older devices - the iPhone 3G, as you may remember, didn't get multitasking or Home screen wallpaper support with the iOS 4 update, and it took a significant speed hit as well - but the speed (and, perhaps more importantly, the RAM) gap between the current crop of iOS devices and the previous generation isn't as wide as that between the 3GS and the 3G.

We'll most likely see some features excluded from older devices just because they're older devices (as we did when the Find My iPhone app was made available free of charge), but none of the iOS 5 features Apple talked about today seem like anything that older hardware will be technically unable to handle.

Now, on to the features: as with OS X, Apple is advertising a hyperbolic number of new features (200) in iOS 5, but they chose to focus on ten of them. Continue reading for a brief overview and analysis of those features.

Notifications, Newsstand, Twitter, Safari, and Reminders
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  • jawknee530 - Monday, June 6, 2011 - link

    I am incredibly underwhelmed. I figured there would be at least one exciting thing for iOS5 but I guess I was wrong.
  • smackababy - Monday, June 6, 2011 - link

    I am happy with the camera app update, they could have left all the other crap off.
  • MonkeyPaw - Monday, June 6, 2011 - link

    Yeah, notifications seem very android like. Otherwise kinda dull.

    At least Apple finally realized that they can send out patches instead of making you download the whole damn ROM/program again. Maybe next they'll do it for iTunes.
  • cgeorgescu - Tuesday, June 7, 2011 - link

    Notifications... I'm waiting for fanboys to tell everybody how unique, one-of-a-kind, revolutionary those notifications are.
    And patches... To buy a remix from iTunes and get it as a patch to the original song you have on the device, that would be cool :)
  • Leonick - Thursday, June 9, 2011 - link

    You're right, they are hardly unique in any way (I'd say they are more functional and organized than on android though) but seriously, how many ways can you do a list? :p
  • Griswold - Tuesday, June 7, 2011 - link

    I'm glad they bring the features of my iphone up to standard now. Like the notification system and mail - both has been a fucking hackjob unworthy of a device priced with a premium!

    Theres obviously more that has been around in the smartphone world for months and years but these two matter the most to me, thus I cant wait.
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  • mfed3 - Monday, June 6, 2011 - link

    typical. putting appleized names features that have been out for years and claiming a revolution is happening. enjoy the log of dump fanbois.
  • Leonick - Thursday, June 9, 2011 - link

    Well they didn't claim any of it was evolutionary, magical or industry first so...
  • Michaelsm - Monday, June 6, 2011 - link

    This is the spit and polish returning to the IOs, after the last few iterations of just trying to keep ahead of the competition. It seems like Apple is taking the time to breath and take things back to being 'perfected', instead of just alright...

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