Big Changes Unveiled In Apple iOS 4.3 Beta

Apple this week released the first beta version of iOS 4.3, which for now at least promises GSM hotspot support, multitouch gestures for the iPad and a "Find My Friends" feature tied to the MobileMe service that's expected to work much like Loopt or Google Latitude. Also, the home button on the front of the mobile devices will be removed.

iPhone and iPad enthusiasts and mobile developers didn't waste much time before digging into the beta, released Wednesday night. They discovered that the new mobile operating system is being configured for two new iPhones -- one of which is obviously for the recently announced Verizon model -- and three new iPads.

Various blogs and websites monitoring all things Apple also report the 4.3 beta will include AirPlay support for third-party applications, four- and five-finger multitouch gestures that will let users pinch and swipe their way around the iPad and something called "Friend Locator" that would use MobileMe so users can share their location with friends.

Apple Insider reports the beta will support the iPad, the iPhone 4 and 3GS, the third- and fourth-generation iPod touch and the latest iteration of Apple TV.

"It looks like iOS 4.3 has some cool new gestures built specifically for the iPad," the blog reports. "4 & 5 finger gestures; pinch to the home screen, swipe up to reveal multitasking tray, swipe left/right to switch apps."

iPad 2 to have two cameras

iPad users anxiously awaiting the iPad 2 or whatever it might be officially named will be pleased to know the iOS 4.3 beta indicates the second-generation Apple tablet will include front- and rear-facing cameras.

Also, according to MacStories, the "settings" application has an option that will let users turn the iPad's side switch in to a mute button or a screen orientation lock -- a choice that was taken away with iOS 4.2.

The mobile hotspot feature that will allow up to five devices to piggyback on the forthcoming Verizon iPhone 3GS for wireless access will also be included in the updated mobile OS.

Apple has yet to comment on when the final version of iOS 4.3 will be released.

According to a posting on the Apple Insider website, the beta refers to three different iPad models identified as iPad2.1, iPad2.2 and iPad2.3 and the third version may very well include a built-in CDMA radio.

The beta version of iOS 4.3 is available for download from Apple's iOS Dev Center.

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


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