• You can get a word definition anywhere there is selectable text with a simple tap and hold on a word; choose the pop-up Define to get the definition.
• You can mirror video via an optional Apple cable to a TV. Or, if you're using an iPad 2 or an iPhone 4S and have access to a TV with AppleTV, you can mirror your display wirelessly using systemwide AirPlay Mirroring.
• And for those of you who've been hoping for this, there's an extra tidbit of privacy built into iOS 5: You can now delete individual calls from the call log with a swipe.
There are a few features of iOS 5 specifically built for the iPad. They include the aforementioned tabbed browsing, a new retro-looking music player interface, and -- my favorite -- a split keyboard view, which can be initiated with a literal "ripping apart the keyboard" gesture. Once the keyboard is split, you can move it up and down iPad's side. Grab the keyboard icon located to the lower right side and you can position it wherever it's easiest for you to thumb-type messages. To reunite the keyboard segments, tap and hold that keyboard icon to activate the "dock and merge" pop-up or drag the keyboard to the bottom of the screen. The iPad also picks up optional multitouch gestures, which I took to right away, since many of the gestures are shared in Lion.
For instance, a four-finger-and-thumb scrunch brings up the LaunchPad on both a Mac running Lion and an iPad running iOS 5; swiping four fingers up brings up Mission Control in Lion and the multitasking interface in iOS 5. The use of similar gestures on different platforms creates a sense of consistency and familiarity that makes each device easy to master.
Cutting some of the cords
For the first time since its debut, the iPhone is computer-reliant no more. Out-of-the-box activation, wireless OS updates (deltas, actually, which result in much smaller downloads), media purchases and app upgrades, background subscription updating, and automatic wireless backups mean that the iOS devices can stand on their own. It also broadens the market for Apple products in countries where owning two computing devices is economically impossible.
If you do have a laptop or desktop computer running iTunes, you can now wirelessly sync the content there -- your songs, videos and other digital media -- with the content on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. Syncing automatically kicks in when the iPhone or iPad is plugged in to the wall or to the computer. You can also start a sync manually.
To activate wireless syncing, you have to plug the device into a computer running iTunes at least once (so you can turn wireless syncing on). Select the device in the sidebar, and, on the main screen, scroll down and make sure "WiFi syncing" is enabled. Press Apply.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.