iOS 4.2 Beta 2 was released last night by Apple. So far, there are not a huge number of changes in this beta (though I’m sure some code diggers out there are searching for more as I write). The notable ones that have been uncovered so far include:
— A new animation effect when switching between apps via the Multitasking Bar – a slide transition type effect where the newly selected app moves in front of the one you’re switching away from
— Some new options when uploading within the YouTube app
— Possibly a speed / performance boost, at least per this report
I installed the new beta last night, but really haven’t used the iPad enough since then to have any thoughts on it as yet. If you’re using it, please share your impressions or any new features you’ve spotted in the comments.
Notice anything missing in the screenshot above? There’s only four columns of app icons in landscape mode. To add to the strangeness, this is occurring on just one of four home screens.
On the same screen I was also seeing an issue with getting no response when tapping on app icons on that one home screen. All three other home screens displayed the correct number of columns of apps, and had no problems with all apps responding.
I’m running the first iOS 4.2 for iPad beta on my iPad so of course some strangeness is par for the course. And a reboot resolved both issues – I just thought I’d share here in case any of you are seeing any similar issues. Oh, and overall iOS 4.2 has been solid and smooth on my iPad – no complaints at all in terms of overall performance thus far – I can easily live with occasional bits of weirdness.
Airprint is the new printing system for iOS devices that is coming in iOS 4.2, due for release in November. Oliver from The i-Blog has done this cool, short video showing off Airprint in action. Like me, he’s running the iOS 4.2 beta on his iPad – but he’s also running a pre-release build of Mac OS X that is required to make use of Airprint.
The super cool thing about Airprint is that it’s added a Print command to the Share button in built-in apps. No need to go out to another app, it’s just another option alongside Email and Copy under the Share button. I watched the video and then banged away on the Share button on my iPad running the 4.2 beta. Sure enough, the Print command is right there in the Safari, Mail, and Photos apps. Very good stuff. This will quickly kill off most third party printing apps if Apple extends support for the print command to all built-in apps and third party devs start adding it to their apps, as I’m sure they will.
I’ve been running iOS 4.2 Beta 1 on my iPad for a few days now, and I’ve got a few very quick thoughts on it. Here they are:
— Folders still don’t strike me as a 100% elegant or effective solution for organizing apps and home screens – but they are a damn sight better than nothing (as we’ve had up to now) – and they’ve helped me come down from 8 home screens to 4. I could be on less but I’ve chosen to devote two full screens to most frequently used apps, and one to apps currently under review. I’m very happy to see that the app limit per folder is 20, a nice step up from the 12 allowed on the iPhone – this is a feature I was hoping we would get.
Multitasking is one of the headline features of iOS 4.2 for the iPad. It’s definitely my favorite new feature and the one I know will get the most use out of day in and day out. So I’ll be seeing a lot of the Multitasking Bar, which is what gets pulled up when you double-tap the Home button in iOS 4.2.
The Multitasking Bar is where you go to switch rapidly between backgrounded or recently run apps. It also has a couple of extra items over to the its far left when you swipe all the way in that direction. There’s a button for toggling orientation lock on/off, minimal iPod music controls, and most interestingly, a brightness control slider.
The brightness control is a very nice addition, but it also brings to mind a huge miss / wish list item. If they can make room for the brightness slider, why oh why can we not have a toggle for cellular services (on the iPad 3G), and some other key services?
Another small but welcome addition in iOS 4.2 for the iPad: you can now choose from a small selection of three fonts to use in the built-in Notes app. The big news is that one of them is Helvetica – which looks pretty damn gorgeous on the big iPad screen by the way.
I don’t use the Notes app very often (because of Evernote and Simplenote) but it’s nice to see this change, and Helvetica in particular.
Here’s a small but notable change under iOS 4.2 (Beta 1) for the iPad. The Orientation Lock button on the top right of the iPad is now a Mute button (as on the iPhone, though on the opposite side of the device).
You now have an Orientation Lock button in the Multitasking Bar. My initial reaction is I prefer things this way. I think I find the ability to turn sound on/off a more useful function for the hardware button, and I’m fine with going to the taskbar to enable/disable orientation lock.
Folders are one of the big new features in iOS 4.2 for the iPad. I’m running the first IOS 4.2 beta on mine right now – and I’m happy to see that not only are folders working nicely (and letting me reduce my home screens from 8 to 4), but they also allow 20 apps per folder.
Much nicer than the measly 12 per folder that we’ve got on iOS 4 on the iPhone right now. I’m not sure if this is a change that will apply to both devices under 4.2 or just to the iPad because of its larger screen. In any case I’m glad to see the higher limit and would love to see Apple increase it even further.
I updated to the iOS 4.2 Beta last night. So far it is running very well and looking great. The multitasking bar is my new best friend of course, and folders are a god-send. I haven’t tried printing out yet because it requires you to run a pre-release version of Mac OS X, which I’m just not wiling to do right now.
The good news is that the upcoming iOS 4.2 software update is chock full of some major new features and functionality for the iPad. The not-so-good news is that we have to wait until November to get this update. The holdup presumably has something to do with the fact that 4.2 will mark the first time that iOS versions will be unified across the iPhone, iPod Touch, and the iPad.
So since we’ve got a good while to wait anyway, I thought this might be as good a time as any to share some of the details on some of the big additions we’re going to see on our iPads when iOS 4.2 is released. Hit the break for a quick rundown on this …
At today’s special Apple event, Steve Jobs announced that iOS 4.2 will be released in November and that it is ‘all about the iPad’.
So the good news is that we now have a better timeframe for when mutlitasking and a major OS update will hit the iPad. The not so good news is that the timeframe is November. So much for hoping Fall might mean September.
iOS 4.2 will be a major update though, and as impatient as I am to see it, I know it will be well worth the wait.