June 07, 2011, 9:23 PM — When Apple senior vice president Scott Forstall took the wraps off iOS 5 at Monday's Worldwide Developers Conference keynote, he focused on ten of what he said were more than 200 new features in the next incarnation of Apple's mobile operating system.
But Forstall's time was limited, and obviously he didn't have a chance to run down everything that's changed in the next major release of iOS. There are still plenty of questions to answer before iOS 5 arrives this fall, and while not every detail is available just yet, we've gathered up what Apple has revealed to answering your burning questions about this iOS update.
Which iOS devices will support the iOS 5 upgrade?
iOS 5 supports the same devices as iOS 4.3--the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4, the iPad and iPad 2, and the third- and fourth-generation iPod touch. Yes, iPhone 3G owners--your hardware isn't on that list. But given how some features in last year's iOS 4 update weren't supported on your phone--and how poorly the ones that actually were performed--it can hardly come as a surprise that Apple thinks it's time for you to upgrade your aging smartphone to enjoy the latest OS it has to offer.
Has Apple provided any specifics on a release date for iOS 5?
All the company would say during Monday's keynote is "fall." (iOS developers, of course, already have a developer preview in hand.) Now whether or not Apple's ideal of fall hinges on the autumnal equinox, we can't say for certain. We do know that Apple traditionally schedules a music event around that time--last year, it fell on September 1--and that the iPod touch usually plays a prominent role in such an event, and that it would seem odd to announce a new device that's still running an older version of iOS. But that's pure speculation on our part.
What will it cost?
Not a cent. iOS 5 will be free.
How will notifications work in iOS 5?
Our first look at iOS 5 notifications breaks most of it down for you. But in short, new notifications appear in a floating banner that looks a lot like Game Center alerts. A swipe down from the top of your device's screen reveals Notification Center, which keeps a running list of all your alerts. And your most recent alerts stack up on your lock screen when they arrive while your device is asleep.
Can third-party apps leverage the improved notifications?
Yes, and with no extra effort. Apps that support push alerts today are already ready for iOS 5; they'll seamlessly switch to using the new notifications system as soon as you upgrade to the new OS.