iTunes Home Sharing
Apple didn’t announce the cloud-based media service many of us were hoping to see, but the company will be making it easier to access iTunes data from iOS devices.
iTunes for Windows and Mac has had the Home Sharing feature for quite some time. This feature makes it easy to stream media from one iTunes library to another. iOS 4.3 will bring that feature to the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
Apps like Air Video [iTunes link] already offer a great way for users to access video content on their Mac or PC from an iOS device, but the iTunes Home Sharing feature will let users interact directly with iTunes.
That means that music, videos, podcasts and audio books can be streamed from a Mac or PC onto an iOS device across a shared network.
AirPlay Gets Better
Apple introduced AirPlay with the new Apple TV in October 2010 as a way to watch content from an iPhone or iPad on the big screen.
iOS 4.3 opens up AirPlay a bit and it now supports music, movies and photos. It also lets users stream videos recorded with the iPhone or iPad camera directly to the Apple TV.
What we’re really excited about is that more third-party apps can now take advantage of AirPlay and that websites can get in on the fun too. Increasingly we hope to see the AirPlay API open up more so that things like the Dark Knight movie app can make their way to our Apple TV devices.
Personal Hotspot (iPhone 4 Only)
The Verizon iPhone introduced a new feature that lets iPhone users share their 3G data connection with other devices via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or USB. This is a popular feature on Android 2.2 devices and one the iPhone can really benefit from having.
As we’ve reported before, Personal Hotspot isn’t a feature that is limited to the Verizon iPhone — other iPhone 4 units can utilize the feature too. Pricing and data caps will vary by carrier, but true hotspot sharing (as opposed to the previous tethering option) for up to five devices (three over Wi-Fi) is coming soon.
iPad Switch Options
My least favorite part of the iOS 4.2 update for iPad is the alteration of the side button, which now functions as a mute switch rather than an orientation lock. Double tapping, sliding to the right and hitting a button is just more complicated than flipping a switch. It’s fine on the iPhone — where the side button really does make sense as a mute switch — but on the iPad it’s an annoyance.
In a very un-Apple move, the company is giving users the option to have the side switch act as a mute switch or an orientation lock. We say un-Apple because the company tends not to go back on software design decisions and generally opposes creating multiple options for the same function.
In any event, we’re very happy Apple has made this a user choice. And while most users will be fine with the defaults, I know I will be happy to bring back to the side orientation lock function to my iPad.
Calm Before the Storm
iOS 4.3 might be lacking some of the spark that we’ve seen from previous Apple releases — but remember, Apple will likely unveil the next major version of iOS alongside the next iPhone this June.
In the interim, iOS 4.3 will give developers and users more functionality to an already solid OS.
link : limerain