iOS 4.3 released

Apple have released iOS 4.3 for the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, two days earlier than the 11th March iPad 2 general availability date many were expecting for it to arrive.

The official list of new features and improvements is quite detailed:

  • Personal Hotspot
    • Share iPhone 4 mobile data connection with up to 5 devices (combination of up to 3 Wi-Fi, 3 Bluetooth, and 1 USB)
  • iTunes Home Sharing
    • Play music, films and TV shows from a shared iTunes library on a Mac or PC (requires iTunes 10.2)
  • New AirPlay features
    • Play videos from the Photos app including the Camera
    • Roll album, iTunes previews, enabled third-party apps and websites on Apple TV
  • Play slideshows from Photos on Apple TV using transitions available on Apple TV
  • Faster Safari performance with Apple Nitro JavaScript engine
  • HD video out using the Apple Digital AV Adapter
    • View 720p HD videos from Videos app, iPod app, Photos, YouTube, Safari, Keynote and enabled third-party apps on an HDMI display
  • Ping features
    • Push notifications for comments and follow requests
    • Post and Like songs directly from the Now Playing screen
    • Parental controls
  • New Settings
    • Messages setting for number of times to repeat an alert
    • iPad side switch setting to lock screen rotation or mute audio notifications and sound effects
  • Single-tap conference-call dialling with a pause to send a passcode
  • Bug fixes

iPad 2 announced

The iPad 2 has been officially announced and will be available in the UK on the 25th March.

Many of the features of the new device have arrived exactly as expected. It has a new dual-core A5 chip, a front facing camera for FaceTime, and a new thinner, lighter design. It’s also available in a choice of white and black.

Interestingly though, there is no change to the resolution of the display – something most people were expecting ever since the launch of the Retina display on the iPhone 4 last summer.

What’s completely new here is the ‘Smart Cover’, a multipurpose magnetic cover which is designed to protect the iPad 2’s screen, and act as a vertical or horizontal stand. When the cover is lifted off the screen the device wakes, and sleeps as soon as it is replaced.

All round, it is a incremental update from last year’s model. Having the same display and battery life means it’s not a compelling upgrade from the original device, and we can’t be sure it deserved the ‘come see what 2011 will be the year of’ slogan on the press conference advert, but no doubt the iPad 2 will continue to define the tablet market.

Do you already own the iPad? Will you be buying iPad 2?