iOS 4.3 SDK Beta was seeded out to developers (or those who fork over the $99 for a license) just two days ago, and we are already hearing about all the new features it will be bringing to the iPhone and the iPad. These updates are always exciting. While the announcement of the iPad 2 release date is inevitable, we are sure that Apple will take the same conference to give us a glimpse of iOS 4.3.
1) Multitouch Gestures to iPad
iPad multitouch is a feature we learned of about two days back. It gives the iPad multitouch gestures similar to what one would find on the MacBook or Magic Trackpad. Pinching with five fingers will bring up the Homescreen. Swiping left and right switch between Apps, and swiping up lets you view the multitask dock. It's reasons like these that many think the iPad 2 and iPhone 5 will lack a Home Button.
2) Mobile Hotspots Coming to iPhone
Finally! A feature that's not uncommon on some rival phones is making its way to the iPhone. No word on pricing, but it's something users have wanted for a long time. Read more about this feature, here.
3) Will not support iPhone 3G or iPod Touch 2G
Sorry iPhone 3G and iPod Touch 2G owners. This version of iOS will not work on your device. So much for Mobile Hotspots.
4) New FaceTime Icon
FaceTime gets a new icon. One thing about Apple is that they tend to make very small visual tweaks here and there. Before you know it, your version of iOS feels ancient compared to the updated software. The FaceTime icon now looks like the image above.
5) Full Screen iAd Banners
Full Screen Banners for iAd will also be added with iOS 4.3. This may be annoying to some users, but it's good for developers of free App who need the advertising revenue if they want to continue funding.
6) Lock Screen is Coming Back!
We wish this had been made an option with iOS 4.2. It was really our only criticism of the new OS, and it seems that Apple has heard the complaints. There will be an option on the iPad to bring the screen-orientation lock back in the form of the switch on the side of the tablet. The original update threw some users for a loop when it was introduced, as they had their screen lock on and updated the OS only to realize they had no more sound. Not realizing that the switch's function had been changed with the update.
7) Photo Booth for Basic Camera Effects
Those who use Mac OS X are probably already familiar with Photo Booth. It's a simple application that shoots photos using your iSight…sorry, FaceTime camera and can add effects such as colors or mirroring to the image. It's more of a "for fun" type software that the user can use to take their Facebook pictures.
8) New Message Alert Settings
As shown above, you can set alerts to play once, twice, three, five or 10 times. The alerts will repeat every two minutes.
9) AirPlay For Third-Party Apps
Third-Party Apps will have the ability to stream to Apple TV over AirPlay. We don't know all the specifics of this, but we can already imagine how cool it would be to stream a game from your iPhone to your Apple TV and play on the big screen.
10) New Font "Noteworthy" in Notes App
Nothing major, just a new font called Noteworthy added to the fonts in Notes.
11) Choose How Many Times to Play Alerts
When you get a text message or other alert, you can now choose how many times the device will playback the alert sound.
12) New Sound When Taking a Screenshot
This is another minor tweak. The sound when you take a screenshot on your iDevice (how to take a screenshot of your iPhone) has changed with iOS 4.3.
13) Different Vibration For Calls and SMS Notification
The vibration types vary depending on whether you are receiving a call or an SMS notification. No specifics on how they are different, but we figure it just has something to do with the frequency or intensity of the vibrations.
14) Find My Friends
Find My Friends looks to be some sort of social networking application built into the iPhone. The code strings are linked to MobileMe, and it may be an indication of what's coming. Some may remember when Jobs said that MobileMe will get "a lot better in 2011." This may be part of what he was talking about. Some figure it's a location-based feature that will allow you to find your friends wherever they may be with the iDevice's GPS.
15) Cancel an App Download in Progress
Image from TiPb
Ever started downloading one of those 400+ MB EA games and then realize, "Man, this may take a while, I have to get going." Then this feature is what you've been waiting for. Rather than have to just wait for the download to complete, you can hold down an icon until you get the iOS jiggle. What's new here is that even Apps that are in the progress of downloading can be removed. This will cancel the download. However, this will not cancel your purchase. If you paid for it, you paid for it. Still, when it's a free App it's no skin off your back, and anything that's already been purchased can be re-downloaded at a later time for free.
When Can We Expect iOS 4.3?
No one knows for sure, but we can guess that Uncle Steve will be ready to announce a release window or release month for iOS 4.3 during the press event for the iPad 2. Most expect it to arrive in March. We figure later March makes sense, as it will be shortly before the expected release of the iPad 2 and will give current owners plenty of time to upgrade the OS before millions of new iPad 2 owners jack into the iTunes store.