Apple has released to developers a beta of iOS 4.3, the newest operating system update for iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad. iOS 4.3 will include several feature upgrades including the addition of personal Wi-Fi hot spots, new multitouch gestures for iPad, and customizable messaging alerts.
Also included in the first beta of iOS 4.3 is the return of orientation locking by using the hardware switch on the side of your iPad. Users will be able to toggle the usage of that switch from its current function, muting, to the new orientation lock.
The App Store app has received a user interface makeover for downloading updates, and AirPlay functionality has been extended to third-party apps using new Media Player APIs. Web content can also be updated to support AirPlay when viewed on iOS devices.
Several screenshots have surfaced of the new functionality featured in the first beta of iOS 4.3. Users now have the option of playing text and MMS message alerts once, twice, three, five, or 10 times, giving users greater control over how they are informed.
Developers can also take advantage of the new AVFoundation APIs for HTTP Live Streaming Statistics, allowing them to track important information about their content, including how many people are watching their online videos, how long they are watching them, and how well the ads on those videos are performing.
Apple has also enabled full-screen banners for iAds on iPads. According to Apple’s developer site, “This new banner format is easy to implement. And Apple sells and serves the ads to your app while you collect 60 percent of the advertising revenue generated.”
The second-generation iPod Touch and the iPhone 3G have been excluded from the hardware list of iOS 4.3-compatible devices.
As more information comes in from developers testing iOS 4.3 beta, we should get a clearer picture of the direction that Apple is taking its mobile operating system.