iOS 4.3 - iOS 4 redux

Those of you hoping to get some information on iOS 5 today are out of luck - you'll probably have to wait for the iPhone 5 announcement before you see the true next-generation iOS. iOS 4.3, which requires the newly released iTunes 10.2, adds some new features to the now-familiar iOS 4 without changing much else.

The first thing you should know about the next iOS update is the list of supported models - Apple lists, in additon to the iPad 2, the original iPad, the iPhone 3GS and 4, and the third- and fourth-generation iPod Touch. Missing from this list are the iPhone 3G and the second-generation iPod Touch, which won't be supported by any iOS update past 4.2.1. The CDMA iPhone 4 is also excluded from the 4.3 list, although Apple hasn't provided any reason as to why it's not included.

This information might sting a bit for owners of these devices, but it certainly isn't surprising. The iPhone 3G missed out on many of iOS 4's banner features - multitasking and home screen wallpapers being chief among these - and performance has been notoriously poor on these older devices, though the 4.1 and 4.2 releases did improve the situation to some degree. It's too bad that Apple can't deliver new software updates to all of its users indefinitely, but it's understandable that they don't want to hamper newer devices' feature sets in order to maintain support for devices with 128MB of RAM and sub-500MHz processors.

Now that you know what devices won't be supported, let's talk about the features that supported devices should see when the new update hits on March 11th.

 

All supported devices should see a tidy increase in JavaScript performance in Safari - Apple claims that its new Nitro JavaScript engine is twice as fast as the old one. It's not a consolation for those hoping for Honeycomb's true tabbed browser, but it should improve the experience for anyone already used to Web browsing in iOS.

AT&T iPhone 4 users will also get the Personal Hotspot feature included on the new Verizon iPhone - contingent on AT&T's support for the feature, they'll be able to share their phone's 3G data connection with up to five wi-fi enabled devices. AT&T's GSM/UMTS network should allow this feature to work even if the phone is being used to make calls, which will be a nice feature for the AT&T faithful.

Next up, users who were discouraged to see the iPad's orientation lock become a practically useless mute switch at the onset of iOS 4 will now have the option to make it an orientation lock once again. There's not much else to say about this one.

The last feature I want to talk about is the one that I'm the most excited about, personally - people will finally be able to stream their iTunes libraries to their iOS devices over their wi-fi networks, just as they've been able to share their libraries with other iTunes users for years now. It may not matter much to users with higher-capacity devices, but this forehead-slappingly simple feature is going to be awesome for me - I can finally access all of the music from my 40+ GB iTunes library on my 16GB iPhone while I'm wandering around the house, and I couldn't be happier about it.

iOS 4.3 further improves iOS 4, but it doesn't really address the underlying problem with iOS - it's becoming a bit dated, and that some of Honeycomb's interface improvements make Android tablets more usable for heavy multitaskers without negating the elegance of an all-touch interface. This is understandable, for now - many Apple users are perfectly happy with iOS 4, so why rock the boat? - but I'd like to see some more drastic changes in iOS 5, especially given how multitasking-oriented the new hardware is.

GarageBand and iMovie - iLife for iPad

One of the most common criticisms of the iPad is that it is designed for media consumption rather than creation - if you want to look at web pages or photos or movies, it's great, but if you're in the business of making any of those things, it leaves something to be desired.

I believe that this problem is endemic to tablets - any device that is mostly screen is going to lose to something that accepts more versatile input devices - but Apple is moving to remedy some of those complaints with new apps based on its iLife suite.

 

iMovie appears to be a relatively full-featured movie editor that can work with movies stored on your iPad or with movies you capture with the device's built-in camera. 

iMovie for iPad supports exporting to YouTube and to iTunes, among other services, and gives you access to a range of transitions and sound effects, to boot. Expect it to deliver a good amount of the Mac version of iMovie's functionality, though you certainly won't be able to replace your MacBook with a tablet just yet.

Most of these statements also apply to the iPad version of GarageBand, a simplified version of the iLife app. The iPad app can record up to 8-tracks from recorded audio, loops, or from the app's simulated instruments (touch versions of a drumset, keyboard, guitar and bass guitar are all represented). As with iMovie, serious users will still want to use the desktop version of GarageBand, but the iOS app goes some way toward making the iPad a more usable prodution device.

 

The Hardware Conclusions
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  • Juzcallmeneo - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    Your FANtasy world seems fun, how many and what types of drugs do you use to get there?

    I cannot stress how much I dislike blackberrys. It's not the same as Apple..I dislike Apple's childish and methodical strategies. I dislike Apple's use of cheap parts and how they boast it's the right choice. The reason I don't like blackberrys has to do with simply how they work all-together. I have 6 uncles and 1 aunt all on my father's side..many many cousins..and 90% of us are huge in business. The reason I say that the playbook is being oogled by businessmen..is because they oogle it right in front of me, constantly. I didn't know what the playbook was until some businessmen and women explained it to me..I didn't search for it on my own until a few days ago when I wanted to see what THAT hype was about. I try to sell them on Android, and they try to sell me on blackberry.

    99.9% of people know what the iPad is and most want one? how many billions of sales are you trying to bet on? Your numbers are not just obviously made up, but completely silly.

    Apple is a Glutton, "what makes us the most money" type of company. They couldn't give a care what anybody wants on their products, not just me.

    I see you believe that the iPad is about as useful as a toaster, and hence doesn't need any extra features..like any advanced technology has.

    Now that the iPad 2 has been released, everybody can see that I wasn't lying about the .3MP and .7MP cameras on front and back. How did I know it had the exact same cheap cameras on the iPod Touch? I kind of work for Apple and get to deal with fixing their pieces of junk when I'm available..I also get to deal with the many people who buy their junk and don't know things like what iTunes is. Fixing their cheap manufacturing several times a week does indeed make me long for something that "Just works".. And I'm SICK of fixing iPods/iPhones/iPads.
    Reply
  • dcaxax - Thursday, March 3, 2011 - link

    Just one point re:your comment - Mac's aren't using nvidia graphics anymore due to their incompatibility with sandy bridge chipsets, not due to any rift between apple and nvidia. Reply
  • Roland00Address - Thursday, March 3, 2011 - link

    Apple could still use nvidia if they wanted too, while they may not use nvidia or ati discrete graphics on their 13inch line of macbook pro due to space and profit margin concerns, that doesn't stop them com using nvidia on their 15 and 17 inch line. Apple choose to use and/ ati on this line of macbook pros as well as the current line of imacs that is saying something. Reply
  • shiznit - Thursday, March 3, 2011 - link

    wrong. Nvidia doesn't make chipsets for Intel cpu's newer than core 2 (inlcuding sandy bridge) but their discrete gpus work with Intel, it's just pci express. Reply
  • Guspaz - Thursday, March 3, 2011 - link

    There is no such incompatibility, and their decision has nothing to do with that. Apple regularly changes up the GPU in their machines based on what's the best fit available at the time. This time around, AMD had a better price/performance/power/heat combination at the levels that Apple was targeting, it's that simple. In fact, Intel's increasing IGPU performance (it's doubled in each of the past two generations) was high enough this time around for Apple to ship their 13" MBPs with nothing but the Intel IGPUs. If Intel continues to improve IGPU performance, you'll probably see this next time around too. Reply
  • Juzcallmeneo - Thursday, March 3, 2011 - link

    Oh I suppose It's just butterflies and rainbows between them..just like Apple and Adobe.

    Nevermind Nvidia jumping up on stage and loudly announcing that they plan on dominating the Tablet Market that Apple just started concentrating on..alongside Apple's tablet rival no less.
    Reply
  • Nihility - Thursday, March 3, 2011 - link

    The iPad 3 will have super ultra mega amazing magical new feature... a STYLUS! Reply
  • Stas - Friday, March 4, 2011 - link

    woa... Jobs hasn't even invented it yet, and you already know about it? O.O Reply
  • techbwoy - Thursday, March 3, 2011 - link

    LOL so can you recount how many of those tablet sold in a year. Face it Apple can in and made the market relevant. You can't deny that. Apple used itunes to set up things that make it hard for others to compete with. Its funny how when it comes to Apple people find short comings to easy but give others a pass. XOOM release with virtually no major software but put a little dazzle and its the greatest thing PLEASE. Give me a integrated solution. Reply
  • Juzcallmeneo - Thursday, March 3, 2011 - link

    "The one thing that Apple did actually bring to the table, is showing the rest of the companies that we are finally in the age where tablets can be popular for simple media consumption for many people. Now that they've done that they can leave."

    ??????

    Anyways, I'm not sure if you're agreeing with me or arguing, but I did actually say the same thing. My point was the iPad was not the first one by a long shot.

    And I never said I liked the Xoom..I just don't find it as useless or boring as the iPads
    Reply

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