Apple has seeded the iOS 4.2 Gold Master to developers, which means the software is ready to hit iPhones and iPads everywhere any time now. iOS 4.2 brings several enhancements to iPad users, but iPhone users will also see some improvements. Apple seems to have kept its promise to deliver the new OS in early November, so while you wait for iOS 4.2, here's a rundown of the most important changes.
iOS 4.2 for the iPad
The iPad lacked several features found on the iPhone, but iOS 4.2 will correct that, unifying the experience across iOS devices. One of the most noticeable updates in iOS 4.2 for the iPad is multitasking, which will work in the same way as on the iPhone: just double-press the home button and a bar with all open or recently used apps will appear, allowing you to switch between apps.
The multitasking bar on the iOS 4.2 iPad will also feature music controls, volume and brightness controls and a software orientation lock switch (the hardware button for orientation lock above the volume buttons will unconditionally become a silent mode switch). iAds will also appear in supported apps with iOS 4.2.
With more than 10,000 iPad apps now in the App Store, folders in iOS 4.2 are a welcomed addition, and the unified inbox will actually make managing e-mail on the iPad more effective. Those cool games on the iPad like Cut The Rope will also get more competitive, thanks to Game Center, and you will finally be able to search within Web pages with Safari.
AirPrint will help you to print directly to a printer on a wireless network and AirPlay will allow you to stream media from an iPad to the new $99 AppleTV without wires (including YouTube videos). International users will also enjoy support for 30 new keyboards and dictionaries.
iOS 4.2 for iPhone and iPod touch
iPhone users already benefit from unified inbox, Game Center, multitasking and folders, so the main changes for them in iOS 4.2 will be AirPrint, AirPlay, and in-page Safari search, which will work by typing your query into the Google search box, and at the bottom of the list, the option to search within the page will appear.
Additionally, both iOS 4.2 iPhone and iPad users will be able to change the font in the Notes app, from the default Marker Felt to Chalkboard or Helvetica. Apple will also release an iTunes update to work with iOS 4.2, version 10.1 (which developers are using now to test iOS 4.2).