A quick post with some news on iOS 4.3, recently released to developers and coming soon for all iOS users which came out while we were recording our latest podcast. Usually the NDA’s surrounding these releases mean information is thin on the ground but more and more we are seeing the details posted within hours of the developer releases. Looking at this Ars Technica post, the main new features are:
- Airplay API – devlopers can now utilise API instead of the few Apple app’s that feature AirPlay support
- Personal Hotspot – Launching with the Verizon iphone but coming soon to an iPhone near you turn your iPhone into a wifi hotspot, supporting up to five devices for 30 minutes tops unless there’s a power supply near you as well. Big question – will your telco support it and if so how much?
- Choice. Honest. You too will be able to specify what your iPad’s hardware button can do. Prior to 4.2 it was an much loved by many orientation lock. 4.2 swapped it to a mute button and hid the orientation lock in with the multi tasking/playback controls. Many hated this and 4.3 allows the user to choose which of these two options are controlled via the hardware button. I am amazed – just not like Apple.
- New gestures which look very handy. *groan* Four and five finger gestures, specifically pinch to return to the home screen and swipe to move between app’s. This is the biggest change for me and I’m surprised we’re seeing this in an OS point update rather than with iOS 5 or new hardware. Many are saying that this is the end of the home button but I can’t see it myself. The home button is important for one handed operation and a few other system related features which I don’t think will be replaced by gestures. The few saying this is really Boy Genius Report. The same people that have predicted Blu-Ray on the Mac. Video embed below shows the gestures in action. Nice.
Of course, I say all iOS users will be enjoying these features but this release drops support for iPhone 3G users and iPod Touch 2nd Gen. Performance of the hardware just not up to the latest features or Apple applying chinese burns to users to encourage hardware upgrades? Despite that negative, this update has some welcome new features. I just hope they are still featured when the final release is made available.