Steve Jobs teased us with details of the iPad-centric OS update at the Apple special event back in September, and despite numerous rumoured release dates, we have yet to feel the benefits of the latest Apple update.
iOS 4.2.1 has been unleashed to developers which suggests iOS 4.2 it's not that far away, but what exactly can we look forward to when it lands?
We've taken a closer look at the standout features that will change the way you will interact with your iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.
See below for Apple iOS 4.2 features: What to expect
iOS 4.2 features: AirPrint for iPad
Helping to turn the Apple tablet into a genuine business tool, iOS 4.2 will herald the arrival of Airprint which will enable wireless printing. HP currently provides the only supported printers for AirPrint, and despite rumours that it will be pulled when iOS 4.2 launches, those who have got their hands on the GM version suggest it's very much still present.
iOS 4.2 features: Alarm bug fix for iPhone
After leaving thousands of people late for work across Europe and other parts of the globe, one of the more notable fixes to ship with iOS 4.2 will be to fix the alarm bug caused when the clocks went back. So you won’t be able to use that excuse again…
iOS 4.2 features: Multitasking for iPad
Already available for iPhone and iPod Touch devices running iOS4, iPad users will also be able to keep multiple applications open and running at the same time without draining the battery in the process. Apple iPad multitasking will apparently support up to seven types of background tasks, while the iOS 4.2 GM version revealed the multitasking bar with volume and brightness controls plus a dedicated AirPlay button which we’ll move onto next…
iOS 4.2 features: AirPlay
Taking over from AirTunes, the new feature will allow users to stream video, audio and photos from other Apple devices such as Apple TV over Wi-Fi. Jobs has already given us a taster of what AirPlay can do showing us how you will be able to start watching a film on the iPad or iPhone and then quickly transfer the viewing onto your Apple TV.
iOS 4.2 features: Folders for iPad
A simple, but nonetheless much needed feature for the iPad, Folders will now enable iPad users to drag-and-drop apps and group them together with similar apps. It is expected that iPad users will be able to organize up to 20 similar apps into folders, which is an increase of the 12 apps limit on the iPhone.
iOS 4.2 features: FaceTime via SMS for iPhone
Since the video calling function was introduced as a smartphone game-changer, FaceTime compatibility has since been added to the iPod Touch, the new MacBook Air, and desktop Macs. Now iPhone users will be able to start FaceTiming straight from a SMS conversation. The FaceTime button will now be located between the Call and Contact Info buttons.
iOS 4.2 features: New parental controls
New family-friendly security options have been added via iOS 4.2 which include blocking FaceTime usage, enabling and disabling Game Center options such as multiplayer games and adding friends, while you can now prevent App Store software from being deleted.
iOS 4.2 features: YouTube voting on iPad
Adding a little more user-friendliness to the integrated YouTube app, iOS 4.2 will now allow users to like or dislike videos and view the popularity of the clips.
iOS 4.2 features: Game Center for iPad
Game Center has already been available for iPhone and iPod Touch devices, and the iPad is now set to join the gaming fun. So, posting achievements, viewing leader boards and inviting friends for multiplayer action on bigger 9.7-inch touch screen surroundings should give an Xbox Live-touch to your tablet gaming.
iOS 4.2 features: Safari search text for iPad
Giving your web browsing a little more prowess, iOS 4.2 will bring the ability to search for text on a web page directly from the search box. So unlike previously, where you had suggested search terms, you'll now get a second list for words you can search on the page.
iOS 4.2 features: Improved Mail for iPad
Several new elements will be added to Mail notably a unified inbox to see all your messages from other email accounts, archived email to keep a record of your contacts, conversations etc, and accessing multiple MobileMe, Yahoo and Exchange accounts all in one place.
iOS 4.2 features: Midi Out
For the serious musicians of you, Midi Out is set to be added which can be used to control external keyboards, synthesizers and midi devices via USB, which means you'll be making sweet tablet music on the go. Check the video below to see the Midi Out feature in action.
iOS 4.2 features: iPad internet tethering?
One feature that has not been confirmed by Apple has been the ability to share an internet connection with a laptop or desktop computer. Currently an iPhone-only feature, iOS4.2 screenshots from a beta 2 version of the OS suggest it could be on it’s way to the iPad. It’s since been removed from the iOS 4.2 beta 3, but we hold out hope it’s still tablet-bound.
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iOS 4.2 video: Multitasking and Game Center
Footage of iOS 4.2 beta versions unsuprisingly found their way onto the web with the one below one of the first to show off new iPad features whch include multitasking and the Game Center.
iOS 4.2 video: Parental features and iPad wallpapers
In the video below we got a glimpse at some of the features from the Beta 3 version of iOS 4.2 including new parental functions, text tones for the iPhone, and iPad wallpapers.