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What is new in iOS 4.3 – Breakdown of new features

Apple iOS 4.3Apple actually released iOS 4.3 a couple of days ahead of schedule so we have downloaded it and been looking at what is new and improved in the latest version of the Apple iOS.

Most of the what is new and improved was actually covered off based on earlier beta releases of iOS 4.3 so when the real thing was announced and now tested there wasn’t really anything unexpected, but in case you have not been reading the iOS 4.3 beta features, here is the real breakdown.

New features in iOS 4.3

Here is an overview of what is new and improved in the latest Apple iOS 4.3.

Personal hotspot (iPhone 4 only)

This new feature will allow iPhone 4 owners running the latest iOS 4.3 to share their mobile data connection with up to 5 other devices over either bluetooth, wi-fi, or through USB connection, otherwise known as tethering. Now this is a feature that is new in the iOS 4.3, but that will likely be blocked by most network operators, or they will charge you extra for using it.

Techradar is already reporting that Tesco Mobile in the UK is not supporting the personal hotspot feature, and that they are looking into supporting it in the future, perhaps for an additional charge. Having just checked with my own operator O2 as well, they confirm on their website (linked to from the Personal Hotspot set up on the iPhone 4) that they are charging £7.50 a month extra for using tethering.

In my opinion, for the networks to charge extra for a mobile data allowance that you are already paying for as part of your contract is just wrong, but then again, what can you do when they all gang up on the consumer as they all benefit from it!

To set up your Personal Hotspot you just have to go to ‘Settings’ –> ‘General Settings’ and you will find the ‘Personal Hotspot’ feature there.

iTunes home sharing

Sharing iTunes library is a feature that has been available for Windows and Macs for a while now, and finally Apple has brought the feature to iOS devices as well.

What home sharing means is that you will be able to access your iTunes library on other network connected devices on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch as well. It is perhaps Apple’s first step towards bringing a cloud service to iOS devices. With home sharing you can now interact directly with your iTunes for a new way to enjoy your music and video library.

We will be back with a full guide to setting up home sharing on iOS devices.

AirPlay improvements

Apple AirPlay has been around for a few months now, but has been lacking none-apple tv ways to use it. Good news is that in the iOS 4.3 Apple has opened up for more uses of AirPlay, and more manufacturers are starting to include AirPlay into their devices, such as AirPlay speakers and AV receivers.

With iOS 4.3 Apple has opened up AirPlay to now include music, video and photo sharing, letting users stream self made videos, as well as stream videos directly from websites or from third party apps as well. These improvements should help take AirPlay to the next level, with more to come.

Improvements to Safari browser

Apple has made improvements to the Safari browser on iOS devices, or should we say they have made improvements to the browsers javascript engine, upgrading to the same nitro javascript engine found on their desktops. This should help make the browser faster and more responsive.

Password check for in-app purchases

One of the features that has been picked up since iOS 4.3 was made available to download is a new feature where password check is required for in-app purchases, and where they are removing the 15 minute window between an initial purchase/password entry and being asked to password verify again.

The new feature was discovered by Gigaom and is likely introduced by Apple as an additional security measurement stopping especially younger people from accidently making in-app purchases without parental consent.

iPad swith option: mute or orientation lock

For the iPad and iPad 2 owner it is good news that iOS 4.3 brings with it the option to either use the side button as a mute switch or to use it as an orientation lock.

The feature of the side button is controlled from within ‘Settings’ –> ‘General settings’.

What is next: iOS 5

Most of what was brought in the iOS 4.3 release is what we can refer to as upgrades to services already available, and in that sense it is a smaller upgrade. It is exppected that Apple will be bringing more and bigger changes and improvements to their OS when the launch the iPhone 5 this summer.

We will be back with more information and expected features of the iOS 5 in later articles.

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