Earlier this week, Apple released a beta version of it’s next iteration mobile operating system to developers. iOS 4.3 beta, which is not yet released to the public, incorporates a host of interface refinements and new multi-touch -gesture controls. As for a public release date, Apple isn’t saying, however it should be sometime quite soon as there is never much of a gap between beta releases and public releases of iOS.
The iPad will benefit from several new multi-touch gestures to control various aspects of the tablet. For instance, swiping up with four fingers across the tablet’s surface will cause the multi-tasking drawer to appear. Want to switch between apps? Swipe left or right while working with your current app, and the iPad will move seamlessly between apps that are currently running in the drawer. Want to return to the home screen? Pinch inwards with four or five fingers and you’re there.
Want to learn more about what to expect with iOS 4.3? There’s more after the jump.
While the new multi-touch gestures certainly make switching between apps much slicker, Apple’s also tweaked commonly-used interface elements to make things work better.
As an example, when typing, the right-hand numerical key has been shaved down in size to make room for a larger space bar. Apple is also introducing a user-defined side switch. On launch day, the iPad’s slide switch was programmed to lock the iPad’s orientation, which was quite helpful as the device would often to decide to switch orientations at the worst possible moment. iOS 4.x repurposed the slide lock as a way to mute the volume and moved the controls for orientation lock into the drawer area. With the new iOS 4.3, users will be able to determine for themselves which feature the switch controls. The iPad’s picture frame mode also gets a tweak, allowing you to launch a slideshow based on an event, rather than merely from an album, or from all of the images loaded on your device.
For iPhone users, the new iOS 4.3 will offer the ability to turn on a “mobile hotspot” for those on the AT&T network. Of course, it will be up to AT&T to determine if that feature works as intended. If they’re anything like Verizon, they’ll be charging you extra for the privilege to do so. Additionally, location-aware apps now appear in their own control pane within the settings app. This way, you can see at a glance which apps are tracking and/or potentially reporting your location.
We’ll be on the look-out for a public release date for Apple’s iOS 4.3 and we’ll be sure to report back to you when it becomes available.