After delivering the iPhone to Verizon recently, Apple wastes no time to get to work immediately. It released the iOS 4.3 beta and intended for the Apple TV, iPod Touch, iPhone and the iPad. It appears that the new iOS version offers many useful features, changes and enhancements. For example, AirPlay will be available for third-party developers, the touchscreen display may support up to five-finger multitouch gestures and after a numerous criticisms; the screen orientation lock switch is back.
These are some rumors and speculation that are raised by many blogs and tech sites.
Possible new devices
Engadget reported that inside the code of iOS 4.3, there are references to three new iPads and two new iPhones. However, others believe that these references may indicate CDMA and GSM version of the next iPhone (perhaps, iPhone 5) and also GSM, Wi-Fi only and CDMA versions of the next iPad (perhaps, iPad 2).
The end of iPhone 3G and iPod Touch 2nd Gen?
There seems to be no more updates for the iPhone 3G and iPod Touch 2nd Gen. Typically, Apple’s Developer site lists various iOS beta versions for each iOS devices. We can see that the iPhone 3G and iPod Touch 2nd Gen is not included in the list. However, there could be another explanation, the removal could be caused by AT&T’s decision to drop the sales of both devices. After, iPhone 4 is delivered, iPhone 3G will no longer be available for AT&T subscribers.
No Home Button?
The release of the official iOS 4.3 may spark another physical button controversy, due to the possibility of the Home Button feature removal, in favor of the improved multitouch gestures feature that now can use four or five fingers simultaneously. However, the improved multitouch gestures in iOS 4.3 could only be intended as a demo and may not be available on the iOS 4.3 Final. But if this feature is enabled in the iPad 2, multitasking bar can be shown using the swipe up gesture, you can swipe horizontally to switch between active apps and pinch to return to the Home screen. It is also still unconfirmed whether the Home button will be completely replaced by the multitouch gesture function.
The return of screen orientation lock switch
If you’re disappointed by the change of screen orientation lock switch into a mute button after updating to iOS 4.2, you may be relieved to know that the screen lock is back. The configuration menu in iOS 4.3 will allow you to decide whether the switch is used for the screen lock or the mute button.
Verizon’s CDMA iPhone already has a mobile hotspot option and it may become a standard feature in iOS 4.3. The mobile hotspot solution can support five devices simultaneously to access the iPhone’s 3G Internet connection. However, this feature may be prohibited on several carriers. The Wi-Fi password can be generated randomly for best protection, of course, you can use your password which is easier to remember. In previous iOS versions, this feature is known as “Internet Thethering” and can only support one device. It may not work on countries that do not support data-draining feature.
There are references for front- and rear-facing cameras in the iOS 4.3, including a possible shutter effect. The native camera app also includes unique effects, such as “kaleidoscope”, “thermal” and “light tunnel”. An analysis on iOS 4.3 code show that the camera can mimic real-time color and distortion tricks that are available in the iPod Nano 5G. The shutter noise will have a more-metallic click sound and the Facetime app icon is changed into a fancier silver-clad metallic tone. The icon will look more similar to the Facetime icon in Mac.
It was a feature introduced in iOS 4.2, which allows users to enjoy an “almost” real-time video and still images streaming in the Apple TV 2G. In iOS 4.3, the feature is further enhanced with support on web-based H.264 videos that uses AAC audio format.
It seems that web-based video streaming won’t happen unless the site admin authorizes such connection. This feature may raise concern among TV or movie studios that their contents will be streamed from the Internet to the TV. The iOS 4.3 uses a permission tag to allow video streaming to a TV, which may protect content owners from unauthorized distribution. The audio can still be streamed freely without permission, however the video may only be played on the mobile device.
Obviously, streaming your own videos to Apple TV is easy, self-made videos that are stored in the Photo app can be streamed automatically, by setting the configuration. This feature is currently not available in iOS 4.2. Right now, videos made in iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 can’t be streamed to a TV, they must be transferred to a desktop computer or laptop and synchronized with iTunes. Their videos can also be uploaded to MobileMe or other online video sharing services and viewed with Apple TV.
Find My Friends and Location Services.
iOS 4.3 will include a new feature, known as “Find My Friends”, that allows users to quickly find and track other iPod Touch /iPhone/iPad. Obviously, this feature will only work through pairing and can be turned off quickly if your friends don’t want to be found. The Locations Services app is repositioned in the iOS 4.3 Setting menus, which allow users to quickly enable and disable it as privacy dictates.
The Chalkboard font that was already added since iOS 4.0 will be replaced by Noteworthy, a handwriting-like font. Chalkboard was intended to offer a casual-looking font for Notes app in iOS devices. The new Noteworthy font has an interesting looking and more relaxed typeface at the price of less legibility.
Changes on Photo Slideshow Settings
There will be some changes on Photo app in iOS 4.3 for iPhone and iPod Touch, that may bring those mobile devices closer to the iPad. Currently on iOS 4.2 , transition effect can be chosen from a list on the universal Settings menu and users can’t change it from inside Photo app itself. Users also can’t control these effects when streaming images to an Apple TV 2G and they can only use the “Dissolve” effect. The iOS 4.3 allows users to choose additional transition effects for the Apple TV and disable transition settings that work globally.
The Updates tab in the App Store will display larger icons for apps that have updates pending for download. Users can tap these icons to start the updating process.
New Keyboard Design
Previously, on-board keyboard on the Apple TV drew some criticisms because it used poorly designed layout that forces Infrared remote users to repeatedly press the left and right button to navigate through the buttons. The keyboard in iOS 4.3 takes form as three six-by-seven grids, which can be toggled by Play/Pause button on the remote. This approach will allow significantly less keyboard presses. One grid is for lower case letters, another for upper case letters and the last grid is for symbols.