Apple IOS 5 is now apparently due out in October along with the iPhone 5 /4S if you believe the latest rumours, partly due to the fact that staff are already being trained in the stores. From the many new functions that it will provide, these are some of the ones the operating system needed in order to maintain it's level in the tablet and mobile markets. Some ideas obviously originated elsewhere!
Get rid of the annoying cables and sync your device directly to your MAC or PC. Whenever you connect the iPhone or iPad to a power source it can use your shared WiFi to sync with your computer, that is of course assuming your computer is switched on! something that may not always be the case, as quite often the only time you plug your Phone in is when you go to bed.
With more and more applications providing notifications it makes sense to store them all in one place. Swiping down from the top on any screen will produce the Notification Center. New notifications appear briefly whatever your doing and are then stored in the Notification Center, something Android has had for a couple of years.
PC not required
From IOS 5 onwards you will not need a PC or a MAC in order to use the iPhone or iPad. Setup, activation, updates and device backup and restoration can be performed wirelessly using your LAN if required.
When browsing the Internet, Reading Lists allows you to save articles so that you can view them at a later date, something done already by the Instapaper application available at the iTunes App Store. The Reading List can be kept updated on other devices via the iCloud.
Tabbed browsing for the iPad
Another essential update for iPad users only is tabbed browsing, which should make the Internet on the iPad and altogether more productive and rewarding experience. Not available on the iPhone, presumably because the screen real estate is too small.
The ability to take pictures straight from the lock screen is included, something already available on other phones and I believe an essential update. The Volume key provides the hardware button to take the picture.