After driving home from a Ft. Worth hospital this past March and getting lost because the GPS on my phone was acting up, SuperDad surprised me with an iPhone. I was totally blown away by it and am still coveting my phone {yes, sinful I know}. But the things I am able to do on my phone that allow me to keep up with my blog, social media accounts and more are beyond amazing to me. Wednesday afternoon I decided to change my cases to a new Otterbox case I had sitting around. This one is a bit less bulky than the Defender series one I had on it {which I loved and felt totally protected my phone}, but I still like it nonetheless. Then, Tony Stark came over {who also has an [amazon_link id=”B0041E5G32″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]iPhone[/amazon_link]} and asked if I had updated my phone yet. Well, no, I had not but I had seen some news about it here and there. So, I ran upstairs after dinner and began the update.

iOS 5

OMGoodness! With the new cover and amazing new iOS 5 software I feel like I have a whole new phone! Of course, I am a bit of a tech geek get and get excited about these sorts of things. My son calls me a “hipster” because I was on MySpace, Facebook and Twitter long before they were cool, and I get invites to beta applications like RockMelt and Google+. But, back on topic, have you heard of all the great new features? Seriously? The update included over 200 new features! Wow! Here are just a few on the list:

  • Swipe from the top of any screen to view notifications in one place with Notification Center
  •  Send and receive unlimited text, photo, and video messages with other iOS 5 users
  • Syncs with iCloud, iCal and Outlook
  • Sign-in once in Settings and tweet directly from Camera, Photos, Maps, Safari and YouTube
  • View twitter profile pictures and usernames in Contacts
  • Double click the home button when device is asleep to bring up a camera shortcut {several new camera functions}
  • Volume Up button to take a picture
  • Format text using bold, italic, or underlined fonts
  • AirPlay Mirroring for iPad 2 and iPhone 4S {we need to get the Apple TV to try this with our iPad2}
  • Software updates available over the air without tethering
  • iCloud support
  • Hourly weather forecast
  • New Emoji keyboard
  • Option to light LED flash on incoming calls and alerts for iPhone 4S and iPhone 4
  • Custom vibration patterns for incoming calls on iPhone
  • Wirelessly sync tasks

Ok, how incredible are all of those? And that is not even the complete list! I am truly impressed with this software update. As a matter of fact, after playing around with my phone for just an couple of hours after the update, here are the features I have found the most fun or practical for my use of my phone.

Notification Center

Notification Center
{edited of course to remove names & locations}

Yes, I am probably in a category all of my own with this, but I get so excited when I get a notification. And the new notifications that pop up are no longer those blue boxes, but some nice looking black-transparent box that shows the text or other notification. I had SuperDad and Tony Stark send me some messages over and over just to see how it looked. Plus, if you are using the phone, this non-intrusive gray bar appears at the top of the phone and then fades away. In order to find your message center you simply drag your finger from the top of the screen down and voila! There it is! A cool looking notification center that you can customize with weather, stocks, calendar, Twitter, mail and a variety of other features and apps. Love it!


Had to throw something in there to see how it worked! 🙂

Ok, I am a list-maker! I have Post-It notes and small notes everywhere! No joke! So this is a nice organizational tool for me. It is super simple too… just add a reminder and check a box once it is completed. Easy! It is really all there is to it but that is what I like about it… the simplicity! We all need a little “simple” in our lives every now and then! Oh, and you can set up location based reminders that notify you when you are near a destination! Aaahhh!


Twitter integration
Tweet out a picture easily… and use emoticons in your messages! 🙂

Being a huge social media fan, I think integrating the software and Twitter together is an excellent idea. Your Twitter ID is set in the settings of the phone and you are then able to tweet directly from Safari, YouTube, Maps, camera or photos! Again, super-duper easy and totally cool!


Edit pictures
See the icons across the bottom? Rotate. Enhance. Red-Eye Reduction. Crop.

My camera is probably the one feature I use most often {other than Facebook or texting of course}. I love to take pictures and the camera makes that so easy and convenient. You can now access the camera from the lock screen by double-tapping the home button. You will then see a little camera appear in the bottom right that opens the camera. From there, simply push the volume up button and you just took a picture! Yay! Love it too! Plus, there are several added options to the photos themselves that include photo albums {yes, you can make new albums and sort your photos}, crop and rotate, red-eye reduction, and one-tap enhance. And there are still more new features! How fun!

PC Free and Wi-Fi Sync

Totally speaks for itself! No more need to plug into your Mac/PC to update. In fact, no need to own a computer at all. It can now be done wirelessly! Awesome!

Emoji Keyboard

Ok, yes, this one is just for fun! I enjoy sending emoticons 🙂 to my friends and family but do not like unnecessary apps. Now, you can easily add the Emoji keyboard {see pic above} to your iPhone and switch back and forth with a simple touch of the finger. Now, other non-iPhone users may still need the emoji app to view them {SuperDad has an Android and could not see them all but Tony Stark could on his iPhone} but it is still fun. 🙂  Real quick and easy set-up: Settings -> General -> Keyboard -> International Keyboards ->Add New Keyboard -> Emoji. Done! And while you’re there check out the new “shortcuts” feature. Create a shortcut using just a few letters that will automatically expand into a word or phrase as you type it. Love it!

iCloud Backup

Manual or automatic backups make iCloud easy to use.

Who doesn’t like having some sort of storage backup in place? With iCloud, you are given 5 GB of free storage before you even have to think about upgrading to a larger account. But, take into consideration that your purchased apps, music, books, and TV shows, as well as your photo stream, do not count against your free storage. It keeps your email, contacts, and even your calendars up to date across all of your iOS 5 devices. No managing or syncing required. Therefore you have access to your music, apps and other files on any of your devices.

The update is for the iPad and iPad2, iPhone 3GS and up, and the iTouch 3rd & 4th generation. The iPad update has some cool features as well. I am updating it later today and will have to see the difference! Ok, so I am maybe a little too excited. :p

Do you have an iPhone or iPad? Have you updated yet? What do you think? Love it? Hate it? Indifferent?

I would love to hear what you think!