The Wait is Over: Apple Delivers iOS 4.2

After months of speculation, rumors and anticipation, Apple today finally released iOS 4.2, the updated version of the mobile operating system powering its enormously popular iPads, iPhones and iPod Touch devices.

In a release making it official, CEO Steve Jobs said the release makes the iPad "a completely new product, just in time for the holiday season." The revamped mobile OS includes more than 100 new features including multitasking, a unified inbox, Game Center and the full support for both AirPrint and AirPlay, giving iPad and iPhone users the ability to wireless print to any AirPrint-enabled printer and wireless stream music, photos and videos from their devices to Apple TV.

Back in September when Jobs first articulated what iOS 4.2 would be, he made it clear that adding more features and functionality for the iPad was the top priority. With competitors racing to get their competing Android and BlackBerry tablets out onto the market as fast as possible, Apple wanted to spiff up the mobile OS to appeal to both consumers and enterprises looking for alternatives to laptops and notebooks.

"Once again, the iPad with iOS 4.2 will define the target that other tablets will aspire to, but very few, if any, will ever be able to hit," Jobs added.

iOS 4.2 lets users easily between multiple open apps and organize them using the Folders feature. The update will also allow users to also stream music wirelessly to any stereo or powered speakers, or directly to AirPlay-enabled speakers which Apple said will be available in the next few months.

Despite speculation that AirPrint support would not be included, Apple delivered the goods with the refresh. Now iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch users can simply tap to print wirelessly to any printer that supports AirPrint.

Anyone who has ever lost their smartphone for any length of time will appreciate iOS 4.2's free Find My iPhone feature. The app, free from the App Store, finds a user's iPhone or iPad, shows where it's physically located on a map and lets users lock or wipe data from the device or make it emit a sound or display an image.

Finally, iOS 4.2, which is now supported in another 25 languages including Korean and Portuguese, lets iPad users rent TV episodes through iTunes for 30 days.

Downloading iOS 4.2 requires syncing with the recently released iTunes 10.1.

Larry Barrett is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.


iPhone, iPad, Apple, mobile devices, iOS 4.2