At their extravagant, live-streamed event yesterday, Apple showed a pre-release version of iOS 4.2. The biggest feature of this update is that it provides the iPad with all the features the iPhone and iPod touch have had for several months now: multi-tasking, app folders and the like. Multi-tasking alone is sure to make the iPad much more useful and help it be more of a tablet computer rather than a large iPod touch of sorts.
iOS 4.2 will also add two new features to the iDevices’ repertoires: AirPlay and Print Center. Simply put, AirPlay is a rebranded version of Apple’s AirTunes—software that allows iTunes to be streamed over a local network. The key difference between the two is that AirPlay can stream music, video and photos. AirPlay is also integrated into certain third party speakers and receivers, meaning users do not have to sacrifice quality sound for the freedom of a wireless setup. The iPad can also act as a host for the AppleTV, meaning you can watch something on your iPad and shift the stream over to your AppleTV—a nifty feature.
The second major feature in iOS 4.2 is support for wireless printing. A few simple taps send documents to wireless printers on local networks, and the status of the print job can be seen by tapping on the Print Center icon that appears in the multi-tasking dock.
iOS version 4.2 will be released to iPads, iPhones, iPod touches in November of this year.