Apple has just seeded a development build of the next version of iOS, version 4.3, to developers. It’s labeled beta, meaning this isn’t meant for everyday consumers to toy with, but there are enough new features in there for both the iPad and iPhone that we thought we’d make a quick guide explaining everything you need to know.
First there’s compatibility. With iOS 4.3 support for the second generation iPod touch and iPhone 3G has been dropped, meaning that if you have either of those two devices you’re going to be stuck with version 4.2 until you fork over some cash at your nearest Apple store for some new hardware.
Then there’s the personal hotspot feature that we’ve so far only seen on the Verizon iPhone. That’s coming to all iPhones with iOS 4.3, but just like tethering support, you need to make sure your operator enables the feature.
The icon for FaceTime has been changed, and boy is it ugly.
The keyboard has also received a slight redesign, as well as the user interface dealing with updating applications.
There are also references to a new feature called “Find My Friends”, a service that we assume does exactly what it says. We hope it isn’t exclusive to iPhone users in the same way FaceTime is, but knowing Apple … yea, it’ll be proprietary.
To really see the major changes in iOS 4.3 however you need to load it up on the iPad.
Multitouch gestures that many Mac OS X users are familiar with have made their way to Apple’s tablet. Watch the video above to get a taste of what’s possible, but in summary you can: pinch while in an application to return to the home screen, swipe side to side between applications, and finally swipe up to reveal the multitasking bar. We saw these same gestures demoed when Apple gave the public a preview of the next version of Mac OS X, version 10.7 Lion. Then there’s the mute switch, which can now be configured to act as a rotation lock. This feature was included in earlier versions of iOS for the iPad, but was then taken away for reasons we don’t understand.
There’s also AirPlay; it’s no longer limited to just the applications that Apple bundles by default. It’s now possible for developers to use the feature.
And finally, deep inside iOS 4.3 there are references to the next generation iPad and iPhone. There will be 3 versions of the former and 2 versions of the latter.