Apple's iOS 4.2 Update: 10 Ways It Will Change the iPad

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-11-22

Apple's iOS 4.2 Update: 10 Ways It Will Change the iPad

Apple has finally released the long-awaited iOS 4.2 update for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. But it's the operating system's functionality on the iPad that means the most to folks, for with it comes all the features that most consumers have been hoping to have since they originally got their hands on the device earlier this year. Included in the update are multitasking and folder support, among several other new features that will likely cause many iPad owners to quickly update their tablet's OS.

But for those that haven't already done so, it's probably a good time to find out what's in the new update-and what isn't. As mentioned, multitasking is there, but Flash is still nowhere to be found. And with the new functionality iOS 4.2 affords, it seems clearer now than ever that Apple's tablet is prepared to take on netbooks.

Here are 10 things that every iPad owner should know about the new OS.

1. Here comes multitasking

Multitasking has been one of the most glaring omissions from the iPad since the device launched. But now it's available, which means users can now open a program, get out of it to open another, and quickly pick up where they left off on the original app. It's an extremely important function for any mobile device, and it's nice to finally see it on the iPad.

2. It's a major step up

The first thing users will realize when they start using iOS 4.2 on the iPad is that it's a major step up over the previous software version they were using on Apple's tablet. Not only does it come with several outstanding features, but it also boasts some enhancements to the UI along the way that should make most folks quite pleased.

3. AirPlay has arrived. . .

Apple's addition of AirPlay to iOS 4.2 could be a key component in how people use their iPads going forward. With AirPlay, iPad or iPhone users can "push" multimedia content from their devices to other AirPlay-compatible products. It will come in especially handy for the Apple TV, the hardware company's set-top box that allows users to stream content to their televisions.

4.  . . . And so has AirPrint

Perhaps one of the most important updates in iOS 4.2 is the addition of AirPrint. With the help of the new feature, users can print from several different applications on the iPad to AirPrint-compatible printers. And it's something that many enterprise customers should be happy to see.

iOS 4.2 Will Change the iPad


5. Folder support

Most of the features finally available to Apple's iPad have been offered on the iPhone for quite some time. One of those key features is folder support. Now, with the help of iOS 4.2, iPad customers can group different apps and content into folders. Not only does it free up space on the iPad's display, but it also makes finding content much easier.

6. Much better Mail

When iPad owners download iOS 4.2, they will also find an improved Mail. The software delivers a unified Inbox for different e-mail addresses, threaded e-mail support, and many other features that most folks will likely be happy to see in the program. iPhone 4 owners have been using the improved Mail since the device's launch, but iPad owners can now get in on the fun.

7. Nope, no Flash

This won't come as much of a shock, but iOS 4.2 does not include Flash support. Apple has been saying since the beginning that it doesn't believe Flash is worth supporting, even though Google's Android 2.2 platform supports Flash 10.1. Regardless, HTML5 is becoming more popular, which should make Flash's continued omission easier for iPad owners to handle.

8. It makes the Apple TV more viable

The Apple TV is a fine product for those that want a budget-friendly device to stream entertainment content to a television. But until AirPlay was available, it wasn't quite living up to its potential. Now, with the help of AirPlay on the iPad, the Apple TV's value has skyrocketed. Quite a few users would likely enjoy watching a movie or television show on their tablet and then stream that over to their Apple TV. That's possible now, thanks to iOS 4.2.

9. Netbooks beware?

Part of the value of the iPad, especially to enterprise customers, is that it potentially allows the replacement of netbooks with Apple's tablet. However, some companies didn't opt for the new device, since it lacked multitasking, folder support, and other features. Now that those features are available, the iPad is far more viable than it ever was to companies looking to replace netbooks. And that's something every consumer and enterprise customer should keep in mind.

10. It's a better experience

Overall, using iOS 4.2 on the iPad delivers a top-notch experience. Not only does it allow for more functionality, but it works extremely well. And most users will like what they see from Apple's offering. Does that mean that it's perfect? Not at all, but it's a vast improvement over what iPad owners have been using thus far.

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