The new iPhone operating system iOS 5 hits the streets and will be causing much Apple server poundage this Wednesday, October 12. It includes over 200 new features. I’ve had hands on with the new OS and some of the new stuff is really cool!

Apple’s Camera and Photos apps get badly needed updates and some great new features in this release as well. Should you upgrade to the new OS immediately or wait a while until the kinks are worked out? Click past the jump to see what I think. >>>

Remember when Apple introduced the iPhone 4 and iOS 4? Once the excitement settled, we found that there were lots of problems, lots of incompatibilities and lots of photo apps that broke with the new hardware and software. Many iPhone photo apps weren’t compatible right away. Some took as much as a month to release compatibility updates. Remember the iPhone 4 “Shutter Bug?” Remember the flash issues with the new iPhone 4 hardware flash? Some photo apps still don’t work on a 4 or in iOS 4.

As with any iOS update, there will be changes under the hood with how the OS interacts with apps. This is complicated by the fact that many iPhone photo apps access a camera function in the OS. With the new features of the Apple Camera, expect some of your favorite photo apps to break in until they are updated to be iOS 5 compatible. We won’t know exactly how they break for sure until both iOS 5 and the iPhone 4S street.

Some apps which are cranky and crash-prone now may not work at all with the new iOS. If the developer has moved on to other projects and is no longer updating and supporting the app, iOS 5 may be the end-of-life for some of your favorite, older photo apps.

The new iPhone 4S now supports 8 megapixel resolution Many photo apps don’t in their current state and will need to be updated. If the camera doesn’t break the app, many iPhoneographers may be okay with apps that only support the lower 5 MP resolution. It’s still a lot of pixels and can make great enlargements. Many apps just won’t be taking advantage of the larger resolutions right away — if at all.

Should you upgrade the OS right away? If you’re brave and can risk living without some of your favorite photo apps, especially those from smaller developers who may not have the time or resources to get iOS 5-compatible updates out right away, then yes. The new camera alone is that good. The rest of iOS 5 is great!

If you use a lot of the marquee apps — the ones that are from larger developers or smaller devs who stay on top of bug-fixes, tweaks and updates, you’re probably good for the most part. You probably won’t be missing many, if any, of your favorite photo apps during the upgrade transition. Many of these apps have already been tested and are iOS 5 compatible.

If you use a lot of older photo apps, apps from small, one-person developers or have favorite photo apps that spend a lot of time below the Top 200 in sales on the App Store charts — where there is little financial incentive to update an app, you may be out of luck for a while (or permanently). Once-popular apps like Polarize, Zoom Lens, Andigraf, Lenses and others never fully made the transition to iOS 4. There are bound to be similar app casualties with the new hardware and software. If you have a lot of obscure photo app faves, you might want to consider holding off for a few days to upgrade — at least until you find out how your favorites will do with Apple’s new goodies.

I’ll be upgrading my iPhone 4 to iOS 5 on Wednesday and will begin the task of updating Life In LoFi’s iPhone Photo App Compatibility Grid. There, you’ll be able to check to see how your favorite photo apps fare with the new hardware and software updates.

With any new OS update, there will be bugs. Waiting a few days to update could save you a lot of frustration and give you time to gather more information while the early adopters find out what’s broken and reports filter out over the internet.

iOS 5 will be available for download Wednesday, October 12, 2011. It’s compatible with iPhone 3GS, 4, and 4S, as well as iPad, iPad 2, iPod Touch 3rd Gen, and iPod Touch 4th gen.