iMessage: The iMessage feature lets people communicate in real time, just like the Blackberry Messenger on Blackberry devices. Users can now send text messages, photos, videos, contacts, and group messages from any iDevice. This information can be sent via WiFi or 3G from iPad, iPhone or iPod touch to anyone. The feature also works using the push notifications infrastructure built by Apple.
Widget Functionality: One of Android’s strongest features is the ability to have “widgets” on the screen. Widgets let the user have a quick access to information without having to open different apps on weather, stocks, news and similar other services. Now Apple has started doing the same.
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Twitter Integration: Apple previously announced that it is bringing Twitter integration to all of its iOS-based devices and to many of its own apps that includes Camera, Photos, Safari and Maps. The integration also extends to Contacts, where the user will able to link their contacts to their Twitter handle and keep their information updated accordingly.
Notification: The recently unveiled iOS 5, like Android-based handsets, has a “notification bar” enabled in it. This is perhaps the most transparent copy of an Android feature to the iOS. The recently added “notification center” in the Apple iOS will help users get all their alerts in one place. Now, users will get new email and text notifications, friend requests and weather updates, among other things, all in one convenient location, just by swiping down from the top of any screen to enter the notification center.
Wireless Synchronization: During their introduction to iOS 5, Apple said one of the features included among 200 new features was WiFi Sync. Users will now be able to wirelessly sync their iOS device to their Mac or PC over a shared WiFi connection. Every time an iOS device is connected to a power source, it will automatically sync and back up any new content to iTunes. Previously, Android-based smartphones have allowed users to sync their music, movies, tasks, bookmarks and contacts wirelessly between the phone/tablet and a PC/Mac.
Cloud: The Cloud lets the user sync notes using a Web server even when the user is not near the PC. The sync can be performed from anywhere where there is an access to the Internet. The list of popular cloud applications include Acrobat.com, Animoto, Google Apps, Dropbox (service), Google Cloud Connect, Google Docs, Google Fusion Tables, MobileMe, LiveChat, Evernote, OurGroceries, Amazon’s Cloud Player, Gmail, Google Music Beta and Kindle.
The iCloud service enables users to store data such as music files for download to iPhones, iPods, iPads and personal computers running Mac OS X or Microsoft Windows on computer servers owned by Apple. The feature also replaces Apple’s MobileMe program and acts as a data syncing center for email, contacts, calendars, bookmark, notes, to-do lists and other data.
Split Keyboard Feature: iOS 5 brings a split keyboard for easier typing with thumbs. The user just has to swipe down with four fingers to reveal it. The virtual keyboard customization is already offered in the Android OS.
OTA (Over-the-Air) Compatibility: Most Android phones are able to receive updates over the air without syncing to a computer. The iPhone 5 is now rumoured to finally offer over-the-air updates. Users will now be able to update their smartphone’s operating system via the Web rather than plugging it to their computer. New iOS versions will be pushed directly over the cellular network without any need for iTunes synchronization. There is no need for a USB cable or a computer running iTunes.
Tabbed Browsing convenience: Apple previously was dependent on alternative browsers for the iPhone or iPad. Recently, however, Apple announced that its Safari browser would feature the tabbed browsing option.
Multitasking Feature: Starting with iOS 4, on 3rd-generation and newer iOS devices, multitasking is supported through seven background APIs (which include Background audio, Voice over IP, Background location, Push notifications, Local notifications, Task finishing and Fast app switching). Before iOS 4, multitasking was limited to a selection of the applications Apple included on the devices.