Friday, November 26, 2010

Apple Releases iOS 4.2 - It's Nice, but I Wish They Would Release Instructions Too

As a diehard geek I've been excited to see the release of the newest OS for the the iPad, version iOS 4.2 It promised some pretty cool enhancements such as multitasking and nested folders. It has been out in beta for a while, but this week it was officially released and I quickly connected my iPad to my MacBook Pro to grab the new update and put it through its paces.

I connected, performed a sync, downloaded and installed the update, and... nothing. Not much, no amazing stuff, nada, zilch. I did notice a new icon called Game Center designed for gaming, of course, but other than that there were no obvious changes. I went into settings looking for something, nope. I checked my software and found I was indeed running iOS 4.2, so where was all the cool stuff?

I'm writing this because I'm a geek and a fairly techie guy. And I'm willing to admit that I may have missed something here. I've been pretty busy the last few days and haven't had serious time to devote to the device, but really should something as simple as an iPad require "serious time" to figure out? I know that Apple is famous for its almost Zen instruction manuals that really don't tell you much, but this time I couldn't figure out a thing.

I went first to the Apple website and looked around. I could find info about the update, but that didn't really seem to take me anywhere. Maybe I missed something, but really, shouldn't they have made it really easy to find the instructions?

Finally I went to my old pal Google, and used that to search for ways to learn about switching between apps & creating folders. Google had the pages listed and I was soon on my way. However, it could have been much easier.

For the record, now that I know how to do all the cool new things, I really like the update. It should make the iPad experience even better. I still subscribe to the theory that the iPad is a great consumer of media and a not so great creator of media, but if you're living in a WiFi world like me or have the AT&T connected device, it's a much slicker way to consume media than via a laptop.

Here is the press release from Apple detailing all the new features:
Apple's iOS 4.2 Available Today for iPad, iPhone & iPod touch

Major Software Update Brings Multitasking, Folders, Unified Inbox, Game Center, AirPlay & AirPrint to iPad

CUPERTINO, California-November 22, 2010-Apple® today announced that iOS 4.2, the latest version of the world's most advanced mobile operating system, is available today for download for iPad™, iPhone® and iPod touch®. iOS 4.2 brings over 100 new features from iOS 4.0, 4.1 and 4.2 to iPad including Multitasking, Folders, Unified Inbox, Game Center, AirPlay® and AirPrint.

"iOS 4.2 makes the iPad a completely new product, just in time for the holiday season," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO. "Once again, the iPad with iOS 4.2 will define the target that other tablets will aspire to, but very few, if any, will ever be able to hit."

iPad users can now run their favorite apps and switch between them instantly, while preserving iPad's legendary battery life. Users can organize their apps with drag-and-drop simplicity using Folders, and Mail now features a Unified Inbox, fast inbox switching and a threaded message view.

Game Center allows iPad, iPhone and iPod touch users to challenge and play friends or be matched automatically with new opponents, showcase their scores and achievements, and discover new games their friends are playing.

AirPlay is a new feature for streaming music, video and photos wirelessly from iPad, iPhone and iPod touch to Apple TV®, transforming Apple TV into a great accessory for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch. iOS users also will be able to use AirPort Express® and AirPlay to stream wirelessly to any stereo or powered speakers, or directly to AirPlay-enabled speakers coming to market in the months ahead.

AirPrint is a next-generation Wi-Fi print architecture that dramatically simplifies printing by completely eliminating printer drivers. A selection of AirPrint enabled printers including the HP Photosmart, HP LaserJet Pro and HP Officejet will be the first to support printing direct from iOS devices. iPad, iPhone and iPod touch users can simply tap to print their documents or photos wirelessly to any printer that supports AirPrint.

The Find My iPhone (or iPad or iPod touch) feature is now free to use without a MobileMe℠ subscription and helps you locate your missing device.* The Find My iPhone app is a free download on the App Store℠ and lets users easily locate 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 that iOS 4.2 brings to the iPad include: the ability to rent TV episodes directly to iPad using the iTunes® App with a 30 day viewing window and a 48 hour session window once playback is started; the ability to easily find and highlight specific words and phrases on web pages in Safari®; enhanced enterprise support so businesses can take advantage of stronger security features, new device management capabilities and improved enterprise integration; industry-leading accessibility enhancements; and support for 25 additional languages, including Korean, Portuguese and Traditional Chinese.

The revolutionary iPad allows users to connect with their apps and content in a more intimate, intuitive and fun way than ever before. You can browse the web, read and send email, enjoy and share photos, watch HD videos, listen to music, play games, read ebooks and much more, using the innovative Multi-Touch™ user interface. iPad weighs just 1.5 pounds, making it easy to carry and use anywhere.

Today, customers have downloaded more than seven billion apps from the groundbreaking App Store and more than 300,000 apps are available to consumers in 90 countries, with more than 40,000 native iPad apps. Over 125 million iOS users around the world can choose from an incredible range of apps in 20 categories, including games, business, news, sports, health, reference and travel.

Availability The iOS 4.2 update is available today to download to iPad, iPhone and iPod touch by syncing the device with iTunes 10.1. iOS 4.2 is compatible with iPad, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, second and third generation iPod touch (late 2009 models with 32GB or 64GB) and new iPod touch. Some features may not be available on all products. For example, Multitasking requires iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, third generation iPod touch (late 2009 models with 32GB or 64GB) or later.

*The free Find My iPhone feature is available for iPhone 4, iPad or new iPod touch (4th generation).

Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork, and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store. Apple is reinventing the mobile phone with its revolutionary iPhone and App Store, and has recently introduced its magical iPad which is defining the future of mobile media and computing devices.


  1. John, I can completely relate.

    The iPad had been a great tool for myself and our Orthodontic practice. It is such a unique weapon to use in web 2.0 and as you mentioned a 'great consumer of media'.

    Like you i was very excited about using the new features, specifically mulititasking. Having the ability to mulitask on other devices has certainly shown me the tremendous benefits of the feature and I was a little disappointed when I first ordered our iPads that the feature didn't exist yet for the iPad.

    I had to do a little investigative work after I installed the update, like you, but now am enjoying the new additions.

    For myself, and it very well all be in my head, I feel like it lags just a smidge when I do a fair amount of things at once but not enough to concern me. I'm sure the next update will allow it to run even more smoothly.

    I'm happy to hear I wasn't the only one tha had to find some documentation to appreciate this update!

  2. It's nice information. I also agree ipad is very handy and useful tool for dental practice management.

    So, Keep Sharing.