We all knew that the iOS 4.3 was on its way, and today's announcement finally laid out what we were looking at in detail. Apple has really been attempting to shift its mobile devices into a more central role in the lives of users, allowing it to reach out beyond its own media playback confines into the broader Wi-Fi driven world. What is going to be provided in the iOS 4.3 update is really going to depend on each specific device that is in it, which is part of the way that Apple is attempting to seperate and individualize each of its portable devices. Here is a look at what's coming with the iOS 4.3.
iPhone Personal Hotspot
The changes in the iPhone account that we saw with the iPhone 4 really altered the pattern of iPhone use, at least for those that signed up with new contracts and were not "grandfathered" in. One of the areas that Apple is hopeing to push specifically is their tethering feature, which allows you to turn your iPhone into a portable modem for 3G connectivity. The iPhone Personal Hotspot feature will come with the iOS 4.3 and will allow the iPhone to become something of a Wi-Fi routher in and of itself. It has been suggested that the iPhone Personal Hotspot will then be able to support five devices, but this still may be wishful thinking. Unfortunately, this is an iPhone 4 exclusive feature and not capable on other Apple devices that would still be able to run the iOS 4.3. This is also for GSM specific iPhone models, meaning that the Verizon iPhone is still going to have to wait for the Personal Hotspot
Airplay is positioned by Apple to be one of the next big features to push forward devices like the iPad and iPhone, along with Game Center, Ping, and the variety of social networking integrations they are working on. When the iOS 4.3 update is released it will mean that the Airplay features can then be used by third party applications and web applications, which could be incredible for things like Netflix and Hulu Plus. Since Airplay allows for streaming content, especially through Mac computers and services like Apple TV, this can be a major step forward for portale media consumption. It is also going to be dramatic for the iPad 2 with its HDMI cable being announced today.
The iPad 2 and the iOS 4.3 are both being released on March 11th, so some features are going to be both integral to the iOS 4.3 as they are to the iPad 2 specifics. One of the major additions to the iPad 2 design is the dual camera mode, which is to support an addition of FaceTime in the iOS 4.3. This will allow the iPad 2 to operate FaceTime in the same way that the iPhone 4 has been able to, and it will be able to communicate with all devices that use this type of software for video conferencing. Beyond this FaceTime is getting a new logo with the iOS 4.3 update, and this will be across all platforms and not just specific to the iPad 2. This will not, however, be available for the first generation iPad, which will not even have the hardware to support it.
Though it may not be the most publicized, or most celebrated, addition to the iOS 4.3, iAds is also making a huge splash. With the new iAds format there will be full screen ads put into place through its implementation, which may be a highlighted revenue source for iPhone app developers that are going into the free iPhone app market. This will be a lot more upfront than many of the banner ads, and may be a new creation and design tool for potential advertisers.
One of the new features for the iPad includes a "multi-touch" gesturing option that allows for a more detailed and hand oriented interaction between you and the touch screen. You can now use five fingers on the touch screen to adjust size, move position, go back to the home screen, and just have control over the interface in general. This is going to be dramatically more detailed than the previous interaction since it accomodates for the larger touch screen by opening up the control to a multi-touch interface, further seperating it from the iPhone's controls.
Photo Booth has been a popular Apple brand and has led to a lot of similar photos on social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook. Since the iPhone and iPad have now become vessels for social networking and media sharing it only makes sense to extend this flagship over to them, bringing the Photo Shop "strait on picture" experience to the mobile plaftorm. With Photo Shop on these devices you will find that you can do much of the features you had on your home computer, especially the color and photo effects that have become its trademark.
The iOS 4.3 is a fairly sweeping update across Apple's device line, but it really does leave older devices out. This is part of Apple's planned obselecense model to get rid of older devices, but also allows them to develop for new ones as they come out. The most notable of these is the 3G, which preceded the new iPhone 4 by two models. For many users this was the first iPhone that seemed practical for them, and now it is officially a thing of the past. Beyond the iPhone 3G is the iPod Touch 2G, which will also be left out of the fold completely.