Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) unveiled its hotly anticipated iOS 4.2 update for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, heralding the first iteration of the platform to simultaneously power all three Apple mobile devices. iOS 4.2 promises more than 100 new features for iPad, including application multitasking, drag-and-drop Folders organization, a Unified Inbox and threaded message view. Also new for iPad: Game Center (allowing users to challenge and play existing friends or match up automatically with new opponents, as well as showcase scores and achievements); AirPlay (enabling wireless streaming for music, video and photos); AirPrint (a WiFi-enabled printing architecture); iTunes TV rentals (giving users a 30-day viewing window and a 48-hour session window once playback begins); and support for Ping, Apple's fledgling social network for iTunes music.
Apple also will make its Find My iPhone (or iPad or iPod touch) feature free to use without a MobileMe subscription. Consumers can download the free Find My iPhone application from the App Store, enabling them to locate a missing device on a map, program it to display a message or generate a sound, and remotely lock or wipe data as necessary.
Apple released its iOS 4.2 beta 3 update in mid-October, adding customizable tones designed to alert users when text messages arrive, new iPhone 4 wallpapers and enhanced restrictions settings for the Game Center multiplayer gaming platform, like expanded controls for adding friends. Although Apple stated only that the iOS 4.2 update would reach consumers sometime this month, insiders expected the update to materialize weeks ago--however, registered developers running the iOS 4.2 gold master (released in early November) complained of WiFi connectivity issues plaguing the iPad, reporting that even if their iPad managed to connect to a local network, the connection dropped within a matter of minutes. Apple responded by issuing a second iOS 4.2 gold master to resolve the bug.
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