October 12, 2011, 2:20 PM — Apple today shipped the long-awaited upgrades to its mobile and Mac operating systems that provide, among other things, access to the new iCloud service.
As expected, both iOS 5 and Mac OS X 10.7.2 went live on Apple's download servers at approximately 1 p.m. ET.
Apple shipped the iOS 5 upgrade Wednesday, as promised.
Computerworld immediately began retrieving both upgrades, and in the initial stages, the downloads proceeded normally, with little sign of stress on Apple's servers.
On Apple's support forums, there were scores of messages announcing the availability of iOS 5, but none that reported problems grabbing the upgrade.
iOS 5, which also powers the new iPhone 4S that Apple introduced earlier this month, is a free upgrade for owners of the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad and iPad 2, and the 2009 and 2010 editions of the iPod Touch
The upgrade is necessary to access iCloud, the new online synchronization and backup service Apple opened earlier today.
Mac users running Lion must update to 10.7.2 to use iCloud.
Apple introduced iOS 5 in early June at its annual developers conference, where Scott Forstall, Apple's senior vice president of iOS software, highlighted a handful of new features, including "PC Free," the company's name for wireless activation, synchronization and updating.
Other additions or improvements to iOS include iMessage, an alternative to email or SMS texts; in-app notifications; tight integration with the Twitter micro-blogging service; and fast access to the camera in the iPhone and latest iPod Touch when the device is locked.
As Forstall noted four months ago, iOS 5 also cuts the tether that's previously tied a mobile device to a Mac or Windows PC. Once the upgrade is installed, future updates can be downloaded directly to an iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch, eliminating the need to connect the device to a personal computer and launch iTunes.
The iOS 5 upgrade does not include Siri, the voice-activated agent that remains in beta but will be available only to iPhone 4S owners. The iPhone 4S is slated to go on sale Friday.
Apple also upgraded OS X Lion to support the new iCloud sync service.