iOS 4.2 for iPad: What's new, detailed and explained

No sooner had the Jobs outlined iOS 4.1 when he gave us that traditional Apple sneak peak of the upgrade after - aka iOS 4.2. No surprises there. As Steven pointed out, iOS 4.2 is "all about iPad". In fact, the very first feature as listed on the Powerpoint Keynote presentation behind the Apple supremo, read "Everything iPad".

So, if you want your juices stirred up into a frothy iPad frenzy ahead of the iOS 4.2 release in November, here's a little taster of what to expect when update day arrives. Be still, your beating A4 chip.

 

Multitasking

Yep, it was the big bonus in iOS 4.0 on the iPhone and iPod touch and soon iPad users will be able to appreciate it as well which might be fun now that enough developers have rewritten their apps to actually make use of it. Double tap the home button and it'll come up with a list of recently used apps which you can choose to close or go back to.

Before you get too excited, you can't multitask with absolutely everything but, if it has something to do with VoIP, audio, location, push notification, local notification, task finishing or just a way to quickly switch between apps, then you're in luck.

 

Folders

As it is on the iPhone and iPod touch, so shall it be on the iPad. This time the folders system will be brought to the Apple tablet with the iOS 4.2 upgrade. Folders allows you to clean up your app grid somewhat by creating, you guessed it, folders where you can drag and drop your icons. Press and hold on the screen to start your apps jiggling at which point you can drag and drop them where you want. The clever part is that your iPad will start to automatically place your apps in the right folders on download if it recognises them to be part of other similar groups.

 

Wireless Printing

Printing from an iPod touch or an iPhone might not seem quite as important but, given that you're supposed to be working on iPads as well as playing, sending sheets over a wireless network is a welcome addition. The Print Center app can be called up at the bottom dock on the iPad and you can choose where, how and how many pages to print from there.

 

AirPlay

AirPlay is Apple's new and improved version of AirTunes, largely renamed because it now includes video and photos as well as music. The app will allow users to stream all of the three media above over a wireless network and onto any AirPlay compatible devices. These include your Airport Express, Apple TV and any AirPlay certified speaker systems with manufacturers such as Denon, B&W and Marantz all featured. Sadly, it doesn't quite include the dream of being able to beam your iTunes videos to any old TV but it's a near step.

 

Game Center

If you've played games like Mirror's Edge on the iPad, you'll know it's not just the iPod touch that's involved in Apple's push on another frontier. The Game Center, as featured in iOS 4.1, is also coming to the iPad in November and is going to be a lot of fun for anyone looking for some multiplayer action.

The Game Center is an online area where users can invite friends to play with and against them in games that they both share. You can be auto-matched against users you don't know, track achievements and compare your scores on leaderboards against others around the world.

 

Better email

The improved email system is also landing on the iPad come November. Even Better E-mail means you can have one unified inbox where all your messages are dropped into and organised into threaded conversations from there. It will also let you open attachments in third party applications.

 

The Rest

Beyond the headline additions, there are also a few welcome touches to iOS 4.2 that you'll appreciate with a small satisfied smile as you discover them. Those looking to search for text on Safari pages will now be able to do that with a search field, enterprise users can feel more comfortable with improved levels of security within the OS and Apple has added more to both the languages and accessibility areas with extra keyboards, dictionaries and languages supported as well as output in Braille.

Convinced by the iPad or do you think the Samsung Galaxy Tab has got the drop? Let us know what you think of iOS 4.2 in the comments below.



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