Just as you would expect with any modern smartphone sold nowadays, continued support is in very high demand, namely software support and updates. Unlike Android, iOS has very controlled hardware that it runs on and only devices sanctioned (read: designed and built) by Apple get the thumbs up for iOS. This gives Apple the great ability to control the user experience and control what features a user has access to and what they don’t.
With the update of iOS 4.3b2, developers should expect a slew of new features including the ability to create a personal hotspot on the device (for WiFi tethering) and some new API for gesture control. Apple has indicated that end-users may not be getting gesture support once 4.3 goes live and it is mainly for developers to test their applications, implement gesture support or ensure that their code does not conflict with any changes.
You can register as a developer (you’ll need to fork over $99 while doing that) to get access to this beta directly from Apple and you’ll receive access to the firmware images that support the Apple TV, iPad, iPhone 4 and 3GS as well as the 3rd and 4th generation iPod Touch. As always, the XCode and Apple SDK are available to download as well.
Most users will want to stay on the carrier supported release, since this is technically beta firmware and is aimed at developers who want to get a jump on gesture controls and any other API calls that Apple has added in.
It’s rumoured that the 3rd beta will be released within a few weeks and should be the final seed before iOS 4.3 is release sometime in February.