Apple released their first beta of the latest iOS to developers earlier this week, guaranteeing some new features including Wireless Hotspot for the iPhone, AirPlay support for 3rd party apps and 5-Finger multi-touch support on the iPad.
Naturally, this got me thinking about how Apple intends to direct their iOS devices for the foreseeable future. Looking through the feature list, one thing pops out – that Apple wants to better tie their devices together for an even more seamless experience.
Let’s start by taking a look at Wireless Hotspots. Apple’s done an interesting thing here where they’ve changed the connectivity icon in the top left corner of the screen from a typical ‘WiFi’ icon to a special ‘tethered’ or ‘linked’ icon. Clearly, the iPad can spot the difference between a regular WiFi hotspot and one created on the iPhone.
Next, we have 3rd part app AirPlay support on the AppleTV. While initial tests of iPad AirPlay to an AppleTV hasn’t been successful, there are some positive points to make here. Firstly, audio from 3rd party apps like Rdio and Pocket NA are piped to my AppleTV with only minor issues. There’s still issues with piping video across 3rd party video apps via AirPlay. Both my tests with the TWiT app and VLC allowed audio to go through, but the video was still being played through the iPad. [At time of writing, Netflix doesn't support AirPlay yet. But why wouldn't you use the native Netflix app on the AppleTV anyway?]
So what does this all mean for iOS 4.3? These new features could signal Apple’s dedication to create stronger ties between all of Apple’s mobile devices. Taking a dip into the forecasting bucket, perhaps we would finally see native wireless file transfers between iOS devices, or more developer tools in the SDK that will allow for inter-device communications. In any case, this move could be seen as a defensive play against the flood of Android phones and tablets that are sure to hit the market in the coming months. Creating stronger device ties will surely lock more users within the Apple ecosystem.
iOS 4.3 is expected to be released after the February 10th launch of iPhone 4 on Verizon in the US. Can’t wait to get in on the iOS beta action? Grab a Developer account for $99 direct from Apple and start today! Let us know what you think of iOS 4.3 so far or how you’d like to improve your iPhone/iPad/iPod/AppleTV interconnectivity experience in the comments below!
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Posted under: iPad Rumours