Taking The Peel off Apple’s Latest Upgrades – iOS 5.1 & Mountain Lion

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Apple’s recently released iOS 5.1 is flavoring Mac life with a few ripe new features: some sweet, some tart. Here’s my take after getting to the core (seeds and all) of this new iOS:

Number one: After taking the required 30-minutes to update your phone (don’t forget to always back your phone up before an upgrade) you’ll see that out of the blue there’s now a little camera button right on the home screen?! I have always had a passcode lock on my iPhone (good idea to have in the event of it getting lost, stolen or hijacked by toddlers) and it’s been cumbersome to unlock in a hurry for a quick picture. Now with 5.1, I can take a quick shot of the toddler and our energetic lab pup BEFORE one or the other gets knocked over – all without unlocking my phone. And an added photography bonus they threw in? Camera Face-Detection that makes it even easier to get a focused shot.

And speaking of taking phone pics, have you ever taken a picture (that perhaps you didn’t want to share with the entire family) and been mortified to find it scrolling in HighDef on the living room Apple TV? (Not that Santa’s existence was recently questioned at my house or anything tricky like that thanks to old, DELETED research pics of gift ideas that were still floating around on our TV PhotoStream feed? Dohh!!!) Merry Christmas everyone — we can now delete pics from our PhotoStream file after deleting them from the Camera Roll, too. Thank goodness.

And just as I think Honey-Crisp apples are worth paying extra for, I recommend you spend a bit ($4.99) and buy the new iOS version of iPhoto, too. There are so many great editing features and trust me, you’ll be stoked to have iPhoto capability right in your hand.

FYI Siri also got an update that includes speaking Japanese, (something I’m not able to utilize) but having Siri text for me (in English) rocks because it keeps my text-savvy family in the loop without me having to fat-finger every communication.

And if you’re worried about apps using location services, the new iOS made a few enhancements giving a little more information now about what’s being used and how.

You now have 4G or at least your phone is telling you that. Somehow the carriers snuck this little advertising annoyance in. Did the hardware in my phone magically change overnight…no. I get it, I can get 4G in this location if I had a phone that actually could use 4G. Very annoying…wonder how much the they had to pay for that one J.

Lastly, a few other things iOS 5.1 brings that have caught the apple of the (iPad user’s) eye: a redesigned camera app, podcast controls and audio improvements for iPad video playback. And with the excitement of this month’s 5.1 release we look to what’s due to come out this summer, too…

Cat’s out of the bag: Apple’s newest feline-themed operating system — Mountain Lion – is ready to roar its way on stage. This big cat of an OS (which rolls out this summer) is sure to be packed with lots of cool new features. Here’s MacPhilly’s scoop on what’s on stage:

First off – you and I are gonna love the expanded roll of iMessage. (Sianara iChat?) With Mountain Lion you will be able to text directly from your Mac to any other Apple device. Even better, your kids can text you back, right while you’re at your desk. (iMessage is actually available for your Mac in a beta version now if you would like to play with it. Using this you can drag and drop pictures and videos right into iMessage.)

Currently, though, iMessage is only intended for use between hand-held devices. My nine-year-old son uses my old 3GS (that I converted to an iTouch) to message every other happy Apple iPhone holder in our family. iMessage allows for text messaging on iOS devices WITHOUT a cellular data plan. (A great way to utilize your old device while not having to cough up another AT&T/Verizon bill.) I like using iMessage because it also indicates when a message is delivered and a blue icon with three little dots (…) shows up when the respondent is in the process of texting you back – making it easy to tell if your conversation will continue or if it will be a while until they get back to you.

And how many tools do you currently use to keep track of lists? Things, Toodledo, Todo, etc…, are several great iOS apps that do this. But another cool feature of Mountain Lion is that we will have the grand daddy tasking app – Notes – that will integrate with not only iOS devices — but also your Mac. In Notes, you can add attachments, pictures, send items to your buddies, etc.., and since it will integrate with iCloud, it will work everywhere.

There’s also the new addition of Gatekeeper: envision two giant, golden, teeth-baring (mountain) lions standing watch over the safety of your Mac, almost taunting viruses to dare enter. You may wonder, “Why’s that necessary?” I mean, we all love that viruses are not as rampant on Macs yet, right? (That’s probably because they run BSD.) But the more popular OSX becomes, the higher the viral infection rate will be.

With Gatekeeper, you’ll be able to choose from three new security options: ‘Allow applications to be downloaded from: 1) Mac App Store, 2) Mac App Store and Identified Developers, 3) Anywhere.’ If you choose option 1 or 2, you will only be able to install software ALREADY inspected by Apple. This should help with threats moving forward.

And lastly, my favorite new feature to come with Mountain Lion, is AirPlay mirroring from a MacBook, Mac mini or iMac – directly to an AppleTV – which is currently only available from an iPhone or iPad, not a bigger device. (Wouldn’t it be sweet if we could mirror what’s on our Macs onto an iPad, too? I don’t know that that will be possible yet, but I can hope, right? That would be a cool way to show pictures or display video to a big group without having to huddle the whole family behind a small MacBook screen. (You could pass around the iPad instead! Ahh, to dream… )

All in all, the new Moutain Lion OS will contain LOTS to sink your teeth into. Expanded iMessage, mirroring, security and organizational features is the meat of what’s got me drooling. Other cool features to the new OS will be the Notification Center, Reminders and Notes, Share sheets, Twitter integration, Game Center enhancements and much, much more to roar about this summer!

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We design and manufacture protective cases for smartphones, tablets and mobile technology. Dedicated to klutzy tech users everywhere!

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