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iOS 5 Beta: Early Reactions

Apple has released a beta of the mobile OS to its developer community. Here's a look at the significant changes.
Apple WWDC Visual Tour: First Look At iCloud, Lion, iOS 5, And More
Slideshow: Apple WWDC Visual Tour: First Look At iCloud, Lion, iOS 5, And More
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
Amid ongoing speculation about probable release dates for next-generation iPhone and iPad devices, Apple has released an updated beta version of the iOS 5 software development kit to its developer community. The new version of Apple's mobile OS offers some new features to satisfy critics as well as the Apple faithful.

Apple released the newest iOS 5 SDK beta to developers on Saturday, giving the world outside Cupertino a further hands-on look at the new OS. As expected, iOS 5 includes support for Apple's iCloud service, a new Notification Center, Twitter integration, and improvements to the AirPlay wireless media-sharing feature. But the OS and SDK also include some important enhancements for developers, such as automatic reference counting to simplify memory management, storyboards built into Xcode to ease the creation of view transitions within apps, and tools to trace system resource consumption during the dev process.

Understandably, most developers are tight-lipped about the new OS, undoubtedly wary of losing their standing with Apple by breaking the company's non-disclosure agreement. On the popular forum iPhone Dev SDK, moderators went so far as to spell it out for members: "iOS 5 is under NDA, as is any beta version of Xcode, and thus it cannot be discussed here. The proper place for such discussion or questions is the Apple Developer forums. Sorry, complain to Apple if you must complain."

Still, some developer perspectives have been shared throughout the beta period.

Previous to this release, users on the MacRumors forum have urged caution regarding stability, as in this comment: "FWIW, and without going into any details due to the NDA, I don't think iOS 5 is anywhere near prime time yet; it's very buggy and I'd advise sticking to iOS 4 if it's your only device you intend to install on."

Other issues that developers have previously noted on MacRumors include a number of specific bugs in the beta, such as issues with notifications on the lock screen, troubles with the weather widget, minor Wi-Fi issues, and trouble with the new option to take photos from the lock screen.

Expect developers to keep a close eye on these issues as well as stability.

For a full change log of the iOS 5 SDK, which confirms much of what we're seeing from users on the forums and in the blogosophere, see this BGR post.

YouTube user Nate of NatesTechUpdate has also posted a video preview of the beta. See the latest IT solutions at Interop New York. Learn to leverage business technology innovations--including cloud, virtualization, security, mobility, and data center advances--that cut costs, increase productivity, and drive business value. Save 25% on Flex and Conference Passes or get a Free Expo Pass with code CPFHNY25. It happens in New York City, Oct. 3-7, 2011. Register now.

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