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5 Hidden Gems in iOS 5

1. Use Your Headset as a Remote Shutter Release
One of the nicest new features in iOS 5's Camera app for iPhone is the ability to use the volume key as a camera shutter release. It's the type of feature that just makes the phone feel more like a real point-and-shoot.

Our friends at MacRumors have let us know that the volume-up button on Apple-certified headsets can also be used to snap photos. Why is this cool? Because when paired with a mount or tripod such as the Glif, photographers can get better control, steadier shots, and do cooler stuff with their photos.

2. Multi-touch Gestures on the iPad 2
Apple first started experimenting with multi-touch gestures in iOS for the iPad in the iOS 4.3 beta. The feature was removed from the final build of iOS 4.3 but it's officially back in iOS 5.

On the iPad 2, using four or five fingers, users can switch between running apps (the same way users switch between spaces or full-screen apps in OS X Lion), pull up the app bar and quickly return to the home screen.

The gestures are very cool and we really like how consistent they are with OS X Lion. To enable gestures, go to the "General" area in "Settings" and select "Multitasking Gestures."

One caveat: Games that use multi-touch, like Fruit Ninja and Veggie Samurai don't work well with this mode, so be sure to turn it off before playing those games.

3. Split/Undockable Keyboard on the iPad
Another iPad-only special touch is the new keyboard options. Users now split the keyboard in half and move it farther up or down the screen. This works in both landscape and portrait mode.

The split keyboard won't be for everyone, but some users are bound to love it. Just be aware that the keys are smaller when split. The keyboard also becomes slightly transparent when undocked from the screen, which allows users better maneuverability.

4. Em and En Dashes
For users who are really specific about their punctuation, Apple as added a bit of a new gem in iOS 5: Proper en dashes.

Simply hold down the standard hyphen or dash key in iOS 5 and users are given an additional range of options, including em and en dashes.

5. More Fonts
Speaking of typography, 58 distinct fonts are pre-installed on iOS 5. As iOS Fonts points out, these fonts are now consistent across devices.

Looking over the list of fonts included in iOS 5, it's impressive to see the range. MarkerFelt still makes us want to cry, however.

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