If you are a proud owner of an iOS device today is your lucky day. Apple has finally unleashed iOS 4.2, and it brings oh-so-much to the aging iPad and a handful of sweet features to the iPhone and iPod touch. Here’s the laundry list of new features coming to the iPad: multitasking, folders (you can store up to 20 apps inside a folder), Game Center, and updates to Mail (Unified Inbox, fast inbox switching, a threaded message view). In other words, it’s playing catch up with the iPhone and touch. Also bear in mind that the physical toggle switch on the iPad’s side no longer acts as an orientation lock; now it’s a mute switch, just like it is on the iPhone. The lock has been moved to the dock tray that also houses the iPod controls. With the new update, all iOS devices will gain the ability to find and highlight specific words and phrases on web pages in Safari, select new fonts in Notes, beam video and audio with AirPlay, and print wirelessly with AirPrint. Let’s talk about the latter two new features because they are exciting additions. With AirPlay you can stream music, video, and photos wirelessly from your iOS device to Apple TV and AirPlay-enabled speakers. On the video front, you can only stream files you’ve purchased from iTunes (or managed to convert to make playable in iTunes) and from YouTube. If you try to beam video content from Netflix or the ABC app, for example, only the audio will cross over. Bummer, I know. If you want to print wirelessly with AirPrint, you must own a compatible printer; Apple says HP Photosmart, HP LaserJet Pro, and HP Officejet will be the first to support it. iOS 4.2 is compatible with iPad, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, second and third generation iPod touch, and the latest iPod touch. You’ll be prompted to update the next time you open iTunes.
Right on cue Apple TV owners received the 4.1 firmware update today, granting them the ability to harness the power of AirPlay. That is, of course, if they also own a compatible iOS device.
Last, the MobileMe Find My iPhone feature no longer requires a MobileMe subscription to access and use. Apple has turned it into an app, and it’s available in the App Store today. In case you forgot, Find My iPhone helps you locate your missing device on a detailed map. You can also have it display a message or play a sound to make finding your missing device easier. And if you are forced to give up the search, you can remotely lock or wipe data from the lost device. The free Find My iPhone feature is available for iPhone 4, iPad or new iPod touch (4th generation).
Look after the break for Apple’s PR.