As expected, along with the iPad 2, Apple also unveiled iOS 4.3 today. Apple sold as many as 15 million tablets in 2010 and single-handedly kick-started a new genre of devices. In spite of being initially ridiculed for its seeming lack of functionality, the iPad “flummoxed” everyone, and went on to become one of the most desirable gadgets of 2010. One of the most significant contributors to the iPad’s success was its specially crafted iOS, which made the pre-Honeycomb Android tablets look ungainly. With iOS 4.3, Apple is moving on to the next level.
Multimedia is clearly the biggest area of focus in iOS 4.3. The iPad 2 features a front as well as a rear camera. In order to take advantage of them, Apple has ported its popular Photo Booth app. Like its desktop counterpart, Photo Booth for iPad will ship with dozens of fun effects, all of which can be previewed in real-time. Also included is Facetime – Apple’s popular video chatting application, which is already available for iPhone, iPad and Mac.
The new operating system for iPad also makes it easier to share content with other devices. Airplay, which offers an intuitive and easy way to stream photos, videos and audio to Apple TVs, speakers and other devices, has been improved and opened up to 3rd party apps. iTunes home sharing, which lets you stream and transfer multimedia content with up to five other devices on your local network, is now supported in iOS.
If you own an iPhone, you will be pleased to know that the OS update will add support for personal hotspot. This means that if you don’t have access to a Wi-Fi connection, you can share your iPhone’s connection with your iPad. This is undoubtedly a pretty neat feature. However, in typical Apple fashion, it has been restricted to the iPhone 4.
As previously confirmed by Apple, the new four and five finger multi-touch gestures seen in the iOS 4.3 beta have been removed from the the final release build. It’s not clear if they will be included in future builds, since Apple has stated that they only wanted to collect developer feedback on those gestures.
Just as expected, there are quite a few significant improvements in iOS 4.3, but nothing that is mind-blowing. This point update is more about evolution than revolution. iOS 4.3 for the iPad, iPhone (GSM) and the iPod will be released on March 11.
[images via Engadget]