iOS 5 And iCloud Will Be Available On October 12th; Apple Announces Two New Apps – Find My Friends And Cards

iOS 5

In addition to today’s big iPhone 4S announcement, Apple also announced the release dates for iOS 5 and its cloud based service iCloud.

Apple announced that iOS 5 and iCloud will be available on October 12th, just a little bit more than a week from today. Just like iOS 4, iOS 5 would be free to all users with an iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, the initial iPad, iPad 2 and the third and fourth generation iPod Touch.

iOS 5 comes with loads of new features like Notification Center, improved Camera app and Twitter integration, details of which you can see here. Along with these features, the new release also adds iPhone 4S specific features like Voice based personal assistant Siri (unless there’s a hack, Siri won’t work on existing iPhones) and 1080p HD video recording with image stabilization.

iCloud, which was first introduced at this year’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), would be replacing MobileMe with an additional set of features that would add syncing capabilities to any app on your device. It also adds iTunes Match, a $25 a year service, which allows you to access your entire library of songs over the cloud. Although a part of iCloud, iTunes Match would not launch until the end of this month. Sign up for iCloud would presumably go live along with iOS 5 on the 12th of this month. For more on iCloud and iTunes Match check our previous coverage here.

Apple also introduced two new apps at the keynote, Cards and Find My Friends.

Cards on iOS

Cards lets you create greeting cards and mail (snail mail) a physical copy to any location in the world. This is the description of the app as seen on Apple’s website:

The new Cards app from Apple lets you create and mail beautifully crafted cards personalized with your own text and photos — right from your iPhone or iPod touch. Take a quick snapshot and with a few taps and swipes, an elegant letterpress card is on its way to any address in the world. Each card is just $2.99 when sent within the U.S. and $4.99 when sent to or from anywhere else. And that includes postage.

Although this idea wasn’t original to begin with, it would be interesting to see if other big companies like Samsung or Google follow Apple’s lead here.

Find My Friends

The second app unveiled today was Find My Friends, a location based social networks that does exactly what it says. Where it might be better than Google Latitude, a similar service by Google, are privacy controls. A user can switch off location sharing after a certain time, say 7pm, thus avoiding the hassle of constantly switching the service on and off. The app was in building for quite sometime, as suggested by multiple leaks over the past few months. It would double up as a great addition to Apple’s already impressive list of parental control features.

Two important questions with regard to Find My Friends:

  • Was this the reason behind the initial rejection of the Google Latitude native app?
  • Now that Apple has GameCenter, Find My Friends and Ping, would they ever merge into a single social network under iCloud?

Also Find My iPhone has now been rebranded as Find My Devices to now include Apple’s entire device lineup (iOS devices as well as Macs).  As Dan Frommer points out, this was Apple’s second keynote in a row where iAds wasn’t mentioned, nor was Ping or the iPod classic.

So are you going to wait for a jailbreak or update right away?