iOS 5 Improves Browsing, Notifications and Updates

Apple iOS is set to get a major update later this year with the release of iOS 5.

The new mobile operating system release was formally announced today at the Apple World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC). iOS 5 will be the first major update to IOS since the IOS 4 release in June of 2010.

Some of the biggest changes in IOS 5 are items that users have been asking for since the first IOS release. Apple iOS users have always had to first physically connect their devices to a Mac or PC in order to get started and sync their files. Starting with IOS 5, that changes with the debut of over-the-air IOS updates and WiFi Sync.

The integrated Safari Web browser in iOS is finally getting tabbed browsing, which is a key feature it has lacked to date. Apple is also including an "instapaper killer" with the news Reading List feature that enables users to save a Web page to view later.

From a messaging point of view, iOS 5 includes directly integrated Twitter support.

"This means that you’ll be able to sign in to your Twitter account once and then tweet with a single tap from Twitter-enabled apps, including Apple’s apps—Camera, Photos, Safari, Contacts, YouTube, and Maps," Jack Dorsey, co-founder of Twitter wrote in a blog post. "And developers of all of your favorite apps can easily take advantage of the single sign-on capability, letting you tweet directly from their apps too."

IOS 5 also enhances messaging by way of the inclusion of iMessage. The iMessage integration allows for instant messaging across all IOS devices.

Apple has also taken aim at improving its notifications features with the new Reminders App.

"The new Reminders app helps you manage your tasks; create and group related tasks together; and set time or location-based reminder alerts, priorities and due dates, so you can be reminded of a task as its deadline approaches, or when you arrive or depart a given location," Apple stated in a press release.

An iOS 5 Beta is currently available to Apple Developer program members. Consumers won't get the update until the fall.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.