What Do You Think of iOS 4.2 for iPad So Far?

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We waited a long time for iOS 4.2 on the iPad. It is the first major update to the iPad’s software since it was released back in April and brings over 100 new features to the iPad –including headliners like multitasking, folders, AirPint, AirPlay, Universal Inbox, and lots more.

I’ve posted quite a lot lately on some of the signature new features and my thoughts on them – especially on how disappointing AirPrint is.

Now I’d love to hear your thoughts on the new iOS 4.2. It’s been out for about 10 days now, so hopefully most of you have had a chance to install it and get to know it a little. What do you reckon so far? Impressed? What are your favorite and least favorite things about the update? 

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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19 thoughts on “What Do You Think of iOS 4.2 for iPad So Far?”

  1. The major change for me would be multi tasking. With that in place I am spending even more time on my iPad (if that is possible). Folders has made using my 130+ apps much easy and though I haven't yet purchased an eprinter I am looking forward to using this feature. Nothing but positive experiences.

  2. Definitely multitasking, folders and the unified inbox, all of which make it a far more productive small business tool. And as much as I was definitely in the crowd of those who disapproved of the hardware switch changing to a mute button, I have to say that I definitely prefer it now. Two reasons why:
    1) If it were an audio mute, that's useless, given that the volume button does the same with press-and-hold. But it's a notification mute; and as more apps send notifications to me, the ability to mute that while using the iPad in a business setting, especially using Adobe Ideas as a whiteboard, or while taking notes, is a great benefit.
    2) The condition under which I used the orientation lock was usually while using the iPad late at night while lying in bed. Because it was night, I also frequently adjusted settings to turn the brightness down lower as well. Now that orientation lock is a software setting on the taskbar, and brightness is right beside it, it actually makes more sense, and takes me far less time, to lock the orientation and turn down the brightness for nighttime reading.
    As much as we complained about the change, it's turned out to be a change for the better, for me. Combine that with the new features and improvements, and it's become even more useful than it was when I first bought it.

    1. Hmmm – I still hate the screen lock button change, but your reasons are definitely solid. Maybe Apple had that sort of thing in mind when making the switch – though I still think it should be a Settings option that each of us can set to the way it works best for us.

  3. I LOVE multitasking the most. Being able to switch quickly between email, Evernote, Informant, etc. is fantastic. I don't know how I lived without it.

    I'm a bit ambivalent about folders. On one hand, I like the organization. On the other hand, I miss seeing my apps quickly right on each screen. I'm trying to find a balance by having some of the most used apps outside of folders, and then having some other apps grouped together ("shopping" "games" etc.) but I'm still figuring out a system.

    I'm NOT a fan of the switched button for locking the screen. Since I teach with my notes on my iPad, it became a habit for me to use the side button for screen locking while I am carrying my ipad around class. I can't get used to having it on the toolbar. I'd LOVE for apple to switch it back, but I doubt that's going to happen.

    Overall, a great update!

    1. I'm with you on folders. Not so much the ambivalence – I like having them and think they're hugely useful, but I do also devote my first three screens to most commonly used apps before starting in with folders on home screen four.

    2. BTW– not really interested in Airplay since I can't live without how simple Air Video is. And haven't tried wireless printing yet, b/c I print stuff through dropbox on my mac.

      I do LOVE the unified inbox, though!

  4. I think it was a whole lot of hype over nothing. I don't have any devices that can take advantage of AirPlay. I used the hack to enable AirPrint and printed an email from Mail. Of course, there is no ability to control any print parameters (ie. color vs. black & white printing).

    On the upside, I am not seeing battery drain issues that others are reporting and all my everyday use apps work fine. I don't need nor depend on the pseudo-multitasking capability that 4.2.1 adds. Folders are useful but I could've lived without them.

    My iPad gets used very regularly, usually several hours a day, and nothing about 4.2.1 has improved the experience for me to the point where I couldn't live without the upgrade.

    1. AirPrint is definitely disappointing so far – with such limited printer support and, as you point out, nearly zero options when sending a print job. I've already seen one 3rd party app (ReadlleDocs) that offers a Range field to set which page range to print. Stupid that Apple didn't allow for more control there.

      I'm surprised that you don't find the rapid app switching or folders useful though. I think they are huge improvements.

  5. So far I see it as a modest improvement. I really, really like the folders!! That, to me, is the single best improvement, and as a result I have re-installed some apps that I had deleted. This is closely followed by the "all inboxes" feature. Love that, too.

    Multitasking is great, but to be honest it isn't life-changing. The one thing that I really wanted out of this doesn't work as I hoped – this is an alarm clock app that I use (Nightstand). The alarm doesn't really go off – instead you get a little message box saying "you have an alarm going off" or something like that, but as there is no sound associated with it, it is kind of useless. I don't know if this is a problem with the app coding or the access that the developer has to system multitasking. My understanding is that Apple doesn't provide multitasking hooks into everything, so it might be the latter. (the app is great fwiw, and the developer responded instantly and helpfully to an earlier problem that I had.) So for now at least, I have to make sure that this app is running in the foreground before I go to bed!

    I really do NOT like no longer having the screen orientation lock on the case. That is a HUGE HUGE HUGE pain in the neck. I wish Apple would bring it back! I have no need for a mute button, but I really used the orientation lock a lot.

    Air Print is useless to me as I don't have a supported printer. I gave a quick look-over on your tutorial on the utility to make it work right, but as I am a Windows / PC user it doesn't work for me. I haven't had time to figure out how to use the solution for Windows from the German company that you referred to in an earlier post. I wish it just worked without having to go through all this rigamarole or buying a new printer.

  6. I don't see what all the hoopla is about. All of these "features" should have been included in the initial iPad release. I'm not overly impressed. Kind of regret shelling out $500 for it.

  7. I LOVE it. Of course, I have had the advantage of playing with the beta versions for a while now. I know one thing. Thanks to the inclusion of multitasking and folders, I have been able to live without my jailbreak without any upgrader's remorse. The only things I really miss are my emulators on the iPad's ample screen. They just aren't the same on the iPhone. I do miss my SNES with WiiMote enough that I will jump back on the jailbreak wagon when either Limera1n or Greenpois0n go untethered, though.

    1. Ha. I know the feeling of missing jailbreak. I've gone in and out of it a lot over the years with iPhones and the iPad this year. I don't use any of those emulators though, so I'm really not missing all that much just now on the iPad. I'll likely dive back into JB on the iPhone when an untethered one comes along for 4.2 though.

  8. Love the folders, so much more organised now. I'm a little meh on the multi-tasking, it feels kind of half-done. But vehemently hate the change in the screen lock, I used to use it all the time, now I can't be bothered as it is inconvenient, and I have never wanted to the mute button in it's new incarnation.
    I wrote to the boss and politely made my point, surprisingly got no response.

  9. Love: everything that brings it that much closer to being a full fledged computer with no compromises

    Hate: the remaining missing items that require compromises and funky workflows

    Can't stand: my iPad is now undeniably and noticeably sluggish when it never was prior


    1. Yikes – nobody likes sluggish. I have never seen any of that with any of the 4.2 betas or the final release. Hope you figure out the cause / get it going better.

  10. I really like the new folders and universal inbox. However, I do not care for the change to the orientation lock. One other item that I am not happy about is the exclusion of programs like flash players. There are several web sites I use for work but because they use flash players I cannot use them on the iPad.

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