Apple finally released the long awaited 4.2 update to the iOS that powers the iPad. It is version 4.2.1 to be exact. The release adds a few welcomed features that make the iPad seem almost new. “Multitasking” is one of the big new features. It does what it is supposed to do, but only on applications that have been coded to use the “multitasking” programming interfaces. What this means is that only a small percentage of apps can take advantage of the new feature. For those applications, however, this is a much needed feature.
Another big feature is AirPlay. Used with an Apple TV, this feature allows you to stream content from from the iPad to the Apple TV so if you have videos or other content on the device, you can stream it to the Apple TV. The feature works well, but the video streaming seems to be available only to Apple developed applications. Like YouTube. YouTube streams perfectly to Apple TV. Non-Apple applications seem to only be able to send audio. Not sure if this is by design or is a bug.
For me, folders are the big feature. Previously, you had nine pages with which to fill with applications on your home screen. I had actually filled up all nine pages and anytime I wanted to add another app, I had to remove one. Now, with the folders, I can add quite a few more apps. Only problem I have with them is that you cannot nest the folders. Baby steps, I suppose. Apple will learn and figure out this most difficult of problems. Just like multitasking.
AirPrint is also a nice feature, though I’ve yet to be able to use it. Apple removed Windows support, it seems but there is a web site that explains how to put it back, though the method is questionable. Google it, I don’t want to put the URL here since there is a question about the legitimacy and legality of the method. (Hint: check LifeHacker.com) HP has a line of printers that are AirPrint ready.
Other new features are more enterprise related like remote control, wireless adding of corporate developed applications and other features.
This is a worthy upgrade but, beware…for you Windows users, the bloody backup takes forever. For me, it took EIGHT HOURS. I kid you not. In fact, anytime I go to sync my iPad with my Windows 7 computer, it takes five to eight hours. I blame iTunes and Apple’s lack of Windows expertise.
Run, don’t walk, to your computer and update now.