iOS 4.2 for Apple iPad released to developers
Software update brings folders, multitasking and wireless printing
Apple has released a beta version of the iOS 4.2 software update to developers. A final version of the operating system is expected to be made available to all iPad users in November.
Steve Jobs unveiled details of the iOS 4.2 update at Apple’s music event earlier this month.
He said that the update would bring some of the features previously only available on the iPhone and iPod touch to the popular iPad.
Developers have posted early reviews of some of the update’s new features, including a change to the functionality of the screen orientation lock which sees it become a mute switch.
If the iPad user wishes to lock the orientation of the screen, they must now pull up the multitasking dock, swipe left, and select the lock button from the menu, just as users now do on the iPhone and iPod touch.
The iOS 4.2 update also brings folders to the iPad, allowing users to organise up to 20 similarly-themed apps in to single, named folders. iPhone and iPod touch users can only have 12 apps in a folder.
iPad users can also change the default font of the iPad’s Notes program, choosing between the default script, which makes notes look as they have been written using a marker pen, to the Helvetica and Chalkboard fonts.
However, one of the most significant changes is the introducing of AirPrint, which will initially allow iPad, iPhone and iPod touch users to wirelessly print to a compatible HP printer at the touch of a button.
"AirPrint is Apple's powerful new printing architecture that matches the simplicity of iOS,” said Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of product marketing. “There’s no set up, no configuration, no printer drivers and no software to download.”
Other new features of the iOS 4.2 software update include:
:: AirPlay: This new and improved version of Apple’s AirTunes wireless music-streaming feature enables iPad, iPhone or iPod touch users to stream content (such as photos, movies or music) directly from their device to an AirPlay-compatible receiver.
Initially, this will be AirPort Express base stations for music streaming, and the new Apple TV for audio and video streaming. It is likely that Apple will license the AirPlay software to third-party manufacturers to build their own compatible solutions.
:: Safari: Tweaks to the iPad’s browser now make it easier to see how many pages a user has open. It also enables users to search for text on a page, and highlights all mentions within the web document.
:: Game Centre: Apple’s online gaming portal, Game Centre, is optimised for the iPad interface. A new Game Centre icon appears on the iPad’s desktop, while the Game Centre portal itself has been tweaked to look better on the iPad’s larger screen.
Apple has sold more than three million iPads since the touch-screen, tablet style computer first went on sale earlier this year.