Multitasking is probably the most important feature introduced by iOS 4.2. iPad users can finally enjoy a feature that is already become a standard in any smart portable devices since years ago. Multitasking was also introduced last June on the iPhone. It may significantly improve productivity and usability of the tablet. A few key iPad applications already support multitasking, it will take a few more weeks or months for most applications to support this functionality.
A new bar
Another important addition is the arrival of a menu bar accessible by double clicking the home button. You can now adjust the volume and screen brightness easily. The side button, previously used for locking the screen orientation is now used to mute the sound.
Improved folder and icons management
It may not a big thing, but users may find that it is a convenient improvement. It is now possible to combine several icons in a single folder. You no longer need to scroll the screen to access all your applications.
Another important improvement, it is essentially the centralization of incoming e-mails from different accounts into a single location. No need to open your accounts one by one to read new messages. Again, a little new thing to improve your efficiency.
No major changes for Safari web browser. However, you can now perform a search inside a page. It’s easy; just type the word you want in the search field at top right corner.
A feature that also appeared last June on the iPhone and iPod Touch, Game Center is now available on the iPad. As its name suggests, it is dedicated to games. It supports multiplayer sessions or scores sharing.
It is the ability to print directly from the iPad, at the moment, only HP printers are compatible with this wireless printing functionality. For most users, they need to wait before they can print from their iPad/iPhone. Eventually, Apple will bring this technology on other major printer brands on the market.
AirPlay is an excellent way to share and stream audio or video content from an iDevice. Unfortunately, the number of compatible devices is again very small. And even if you own an Apple TV, you cannot fully enjoy its features, especially sharing videos made by your iPhone. The data stream required is simply too small to fully support AirPlay (at this time).
iPad: the new business gadget?
Although the iPad is originally intended for personal use, Apple can no longer ignore the potential and opportunities on the business market. iOS 4.2 thus marks the arrival of new features aimed for business purposes, including support for Exchange servers.
- New wallpapers
- The ability to customize the search options
- A slightly modified keyboard
- New fonts
- A new volume icon
- Support for the new MobileMe calendars Beta.
Finally, a bonus for owners of iPad, iPhone 4G or iPod Touch 4, searching and deleting data remotely is now free if performed from MobileMe.
iOS 4.2 brings a number of useful features for iPad users, multitasking, the ability to create folders and the unified inbox are probably the most interesting additions. AirPlay and AirPrint are certainly promising, but the number of compatible devices is still too small to make them an advantage. Other features are subtle but nevertheless useful for improving user-friendliness and functionality. To install 4.2 on your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad, simply connect your unit to iTunes and click “Search for Updates”.