June 11, 2024   8:47am

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The iPhone 4S release may have disappointed some, but Apple is giving current iPhone, iPad and iTouch users “something to hold them over until the iPhone 5 release” that’s the new iOS5 software — for free.

As of Wednesday, Oct 12 at 1pm, all iPhone, iPad and iTouch users can upgrade their phone software to the new iOS5. Why should you upgrade? Well, for one (and the most obvious reason), it gives your phone new capabilities for free. That means the operating system that will be on the new iPhone 4S can run on your old iPhone 4.

Check out the seven new features we’re most excited about below, and then read on to find out how to upgrade your operating system and start taking advantage of all 200 new features today!

1. Notification Center:

We always find it annoying when we’re checking Maps directions a text message alert pops up, forcing us to either redirect to the message with View or get the box out of our way with Close. Now, with iOS5, notifications pop up at the top of your screen without interruption and disappear quickly. You can get alerts on calendar events, reminders, mail, text messages, Facebook posts, and more, all in real-time at the top of your screen or by swiping down from the top of any screen.

2. iMessage:

If you already have an unlimited text plan, this may not excite you as much, but for those who don’t, now you can send unlimited messages to anyone else who also owns an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. Think Blackberry’s BBM service. The best part? You can actually see when people read your messages and are typing back to you. Good unless you’re trying to avoid someone…

3. Newsstand:

Buy the latest issues of magazines and newspapers straight from your device as soon as they become available with Newsstand.

4. Reminders:

Manage your to-do lists easily by syncing them with iCloud, iCal and Outlook as well as have the capability of location-based reminders that alert you when you leave or arrive at a location. That means you can have your “Grocery” list reminder pop up on your phone as soon as you enter the grocery store.

5. Camera improvements:

Access the camera by double-clicking the home button (even while your phone is asleep) and shooting with the Volume Up button, including crop and rotate options, red eye removal and one-tap photo enhancement, plus more.

6. Wi-Fi Sync:

Sync your device to your computer wirelessly over a Wi-Fi connection. This means you can update your iTunes on your phone without having to plug it into your computer.

7. iCloud:

Store books, documents, music, video and back up all the content on your phone in the cloud to have everything available across all your devices.

For a list of all the updates, visit Apple’s site here.

Ready to update your phone to the new iOS5? Have a number of hours to let your phone process the entire update? Follow the simple steps below and be patient. The new features are worth the wait!

As for the iPhone 4S, it’s available for pre-order, and our go-to Tech columnists Pogue and Mossberg are giving it (and especially the voice control Siri addition) a thumbs up. Remember KITT the talking car from Knight Rider? Imagine this, only with the capability to tell you what good restaurants are around you, set your alarm, write your emails and texts, send them, schedule appointments, call people and listen to music all by voice command technology that, to Pogue at least, is close to “magic.”

Read Pogue’s review of the iPhone 4S in The New York Times.

Watch The Wall Street Journal’s Mossberg test Siri on the iPhone 4S.

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