Apple apes Android for official iOS 5 unveiling

Flagging and full-searchable messages have been added in too, plus rich text formatting for easier interaction with your e-mails.

A built in dictionary makes it easier to keep your spelling under control, and for the iPad thumb users: a split keyboard.

Simply grabbing it with your thumbs and sliding upwards will split it in two, making it easier to tap out the emails more speedily.

Updates go computer-free

That's right - Apple is cutting the cord and taking the computer out of the equation with the new iOS 5 update. You won't need to tether your phone or iPad straight after purchase any more, and all updates will be delivered over the air.

Apple claims this is because many users just want to use the iPad as their primary computing device, so interacting with the Calendar or Photos is now all done on device if you so wish - with wireless iTunes syncing on offer too.

Game Center gets all social

Ever wanted more friends to play with? Well, Apple is pushing the notion of friend discovery with the Game Center update, offering you the chance to see the scores of friends' friends too.

Gamer profiles have been updated to include photos as well, plus turn-based gaming is baked right into the application for more responsive gaming.

You can also purchase games directly from the Center, and Apple is claiming over 50 million users already, with achievement points added in - directly competing with the likes of Xbox (which got a sneaky mention for having fewer users on Xbox Live despite being around for eight years).

BBM? No, it's iMessage

The final flourish from Apple with the new iOS 5 is the addition of iMessage, a BlackBerry Messenger-a-like application that lets you send messages to other iOS users.

The new application supports a multitude of features, including the ability to send pictures, videos or contacts, and also start a group message too.

Apple ios 5 finally launches

Real-time notifications mean you won't have to wait to see if someone is bothering to reply to your missives, and read receipts mean the lazy among us have lost the 'oh, I didn't see it' excuse now.

Apple is promising hundreds of new features with the new iOS 5 unveiling, with the likes of full iPad TV mirroring without wires and new gestures to flick between applications on offer too.

iOS 5 release date

So the important question: when is the new iOS 5 going to be launched? If you're a developer, it's good news - the iOS 5 SDK is available now and being seeded as you read this.

Other users will have to hunker down and wait for a bit unfortunately, with Apple offering an Autumn (or 'Fall' if you love US speak) release date for the new iOS 5.

The new software will come to the iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPad and iPad 2 - plus the third and fourth generation iPod touch clan.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.