The latest version of Apple's iOS operating system has been released today and it brings with it several welcome enhancements, not the least of which is multi-tasking for the iPad, iPhone (3G, 3GS and 4) and the iPod Touch (2nd, to 4th generations).
In a press release today, the company said...
iOS 4.2 makes the iPad a completely new product, just in time for the holiday season," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "Once again, the iPad with iOS 4.2 will define the target that other tablets will aspire to, but very few, if any, will ever be able to hit."
iPad users can now run their favorite apps and switch between them instantly, while preserving iPad's legendary battery life. Users can organize their apps with drag-and-drop simplicity using Folders, and Mail now features a Unified Inbox, fast inbox switching and a threaded message view.
Game Center allows iPad, iPhone and iPod touch users to challenge and play friends or be matched automatically with new opponents, showcase their scores and achievements, and discover new games their friends are playing.
AirPlay is a new feature for streaming music, video and photos wirelessly from iPad, iPhone and iPod touch to Apple TV®, transforming Apple TV into a great accessory for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. iOS users also will be able to use AirPort Express® and AirPlay to stream wirelessly to any stereo or powered speakers, or directly to AirPlay-enabled speakers coming to market in the months ahead.
AirPrint is a next-generation Wi-Fi print architecture that dramatically simplifies printing by completely eliminating printer drivers. A selection of AirPrint enabled printers including the HP Photosmart, HP LaserJet Pro and HP Officejet will be the first to support printing direct from iOS devices. iPad, iPhone and iPod touch users can simply tap to print their documents or photos wirelessly to any printer that supports AirPrint.
Despite the multi-tasking, probably the biggest addition in terms of actual usefulness is AirPrint which finally gives the iPad printing abilities, something that many commentators have said is the tablet's biggest flaw.
Game Centre is clearly Apple's response to Windows Phone 7 and its integration with Xbox Live, though there's more than enough room in the market for these products to happy co-exist. Indeed there are so many games available for the iPhone now that it would be a huge oversight not ot introduce a games centre.
The update is available to download now through iTunes (version 10.1) and is a free update for all the devices mentioned at the beginning of this article. This must surely make it a must-have release.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.