Cupertino, Calif. - After
of its iPad in recent weeks through more national chains and carrier-owned stores,
is bringing new features to its iPad to protect its tablet market share from the onslaught of lower-priced competitors.
Apple today launched the iOS 4.2 operating system, intended for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch but bringing the most new features to the iPad. The OS revision brings more than 100 new features to the iPad, including multitasking, folders, a unified inbox, AirPlay, AirPrint, and Game Center, Apple's social network for gamers with matchmaking and leaderboard functions.
With multitasking, iPad users can run apps and switch between them instantly while preserving the iPad's battery life, the company said. Users can also organize their apps by dragging and dropping them into folders. The email function now features a Unified Inbox, fast inbox switching and threaded-message view, the company continued.
The Game Center feature lets iPad, iPhone and Touch users challenge and play friends, be matched automatically with new opponents, showcase scores on a leaderboard, and find new games that friends are playing.
AirPlay streams music, video and photos wirelessly from the iPad, iPhone and Touch to the Apple TV set-top box. It also streams music wirelessly to the company's AirPort Express accessory, which can be connected to any stereo system or powered speakers. AirPlay also streams wirelessly to AirPlay-enabled tabletop audio systems coming to market.
AirPrint simplifies printing by eliminating the need for printer drivers. AirPrint-enabled printers including the HP Photosmart, HP LaserJet Pro and HP Officejet will be the first to support printing directly from iOS devices.
Also with iOS 4.2, the Find My iPhone, iPad and Touch feature is free without a MobileMe subscription to help users find a missing device on a map and have it display a message or play a sound. Users can even remotely lock or wipe data from a lost device to protect privacy.
Other new features now available on the iPad via iOS 4.2 are the ability to rent TV episodes directly on the iPad with a 30-day viewing window and a 48-hour session window once playback is started. Users can also find and highlight specific words and phrases on web pages in the Safari web browser. Improved enterprise support includes stronger security features, new device-management capabilities and improved enterprise integration.
The OS also now supports accessibility enhancements and 25 additional languages, including Korean, Portuguese and traditional Chinese.
More than 300,000 apps are available in 90 countries through Apple's app store, and more than 40,000 of them are native iPad apps, Apple said.
To download the iOS 4.2 update, users sync their device with iTunes 10.1. iOS 4.2 is compatible with the iPad, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3G S, iPhone 4, second- and third-generation Touch (late 2009 models with 32GB or 64GB), and new iPod Touch. Some features may not be available on all products, however. Multitasking, for example, requires the use of the iPhone 3G S, iPhone 4, third-gen Touch (late 2009 models with 32GB or 64GB) or later.