On Thursday, Apple released the third golden master for iOS 4.2 to developers, under the name of iOS 4.2.1; with the clock ticking on the company’s promised November release date for the mobile operating system, perhaps the third time’s the charm.
The new version of iOS will bring to the iPad the features of iOS 4 that iPhone and iPod touch users have enjoyed since June, including multitasking abilities and the ability to organize apps into folders.
It was also touted as giving users with printers shared via Mac OS X 10.6.5 and Windows machines with iTunes the ability to print directly from their mobile devices. However, problems Apple encountered with implementing the AirPrint feature mean that only a handful of recently-released printers from HP will support printing from an iOS device at the release of iOS 4.2. The Printopia utility from Ecamm is claimed by its maker to offer that functionality for Macs running older versions of Mac OS X.
Traditionally, a “golden master” is the dead solid final build of a software release, and is ready for general use. In the thirteen years I’ve spent in technology journalism, and twelve years before that in IT operations, I don’t believe that I’ve ever heard of three golden masters for a software product.