iOS 4.3 - iOS 4 redux

Those of you hoping to get some information on iOS 5 today are out of luck - you'll probably have to wait for the iPhone 5 announcement before you see the true next-generation iOS. iOS 4.3, which requires the newly released iTunes 10.2, adds some new features to the now-familiar iOS 4 without changing much else.

The first thing you should know about the next iOS update is the list of supported models - Apple lists, in additon to the iPad 2, the original iPad, the iPhone 3GS and 4, and the third- and fourth-generation iPod Touch. Missing from this list are the iPhone 3G and the second-generation iPod Touch, which won't be supported by any iOS update past 4.2.1. The CDMA iPhone 4 is also excluded from the 4.3 list, although Apple hasn't provided any reason as to why it's not included.

This information might sting a bit for owners of these devices, but it certainly isn't surprising. The iPhone 3G missed out on many of iOS 4's banner features - multitasking and home screen wallpapers being chief among these - and performance has been notoriously poor on these older devices, though the 4.1 and 4.2 releases did improve the situation to some degree. It's too bad that Apple can't deliver new software updates to all of its users indefinitely, but it's understandable that they don't want to hamper newer devices' feature sets in order to maintain support for devices with 128MB of RAM and sub-500MHz processors.

Now that you know what devices won't be supported, let's talk about the features that supported devices should see when the new update hits on March 11th.


All supported devices should see a tidy increase in JavaScript performance in Safari - Apple claims that its new Nitro JavaScript engine is twice as fast as the old one. It's not a consolation for those hoping for Honeycomb's true tabbed browser, but it should improve the experience for anyone already used to Web browsing in iOS.

AT&T iPhone 4 users will also get the Personal Hotspot feature included on the new Verizon iPhone - contingent on AT&T's support for the feature, they'll be able to share their phone's 3G data connection with up to five wi-fi enabled devices. AT&T's GSM/UMTS network should allow this feature to work even if the phone is being used to make calls, which will be a nice feature for the AT&T faithful.

Next up, users who were discouraged to see the iPad's orientation lock become a practically useless mute switch at the onset of iOS 4 will now have the option to make it an orientation lock once again. There's not much else to say about this one.

The last feature I want to talk about is the one that I'm the most excited about, personally - people will finally be able to stream their iTunes libraries to their iOS devices over their wi-fi networks, just as they've been able to share their libraries with other iTunes users for years now. It may not matter much to users with higher-capacity devices, but this forehead-slappingly simple feature is going to be awesome for me - I can finally access all of the music from my 40+ GB iTunes library on my 16GB iPhone while I'm wandering around the house, and I couldn't be happier about it.

iOS 4.3 further improves iOS 4, but it doesn't really address the underlying problem with iOS - it's becoming a bit dated, and that some of Honeycomb's interface improvements make Android tablets more usable for heavy multitaskers without negating the elegance of an all-touch interface. This is understandable, for now - many Apple users are perfectly happy with iOS 4, so why rock the boat? - but I'd like to see some more drastic changes in iOS 5, especially given how multitasking-oriented the new hardware is.

GarageBand and iMovie - iLife for iPad

One of the most common criticisms of the iPad is that it is designed for media consumption rather than creation - if you want to look at web pages or photos or movies, it's great, but if you're in the business of making any of those things, it leaves something to be desired.

I believe that this problem is endemic to tablets - any device that is mostly screen is going to lose to something that accepts more versatile input devices - but Apple is moving to remedy some of those complaints with new apps based on its iLife suite.


iMovie appears to be a relatively full-featured movie editor that can work with movies stored on your iPad or with movies you capture with the device's built-in camera. 

iMovie for iPad supports exporting to YouTube and to iTunes, among other services, and gives you access to a range of transitions and sound effects, to boot. Expect it to deliver a good amount of the Mac version of iMovie's functionality, though you certainly won't be able to replace your MacBook with a tablet just yet.

Most of these statements also apply to the iPad version of GarageBand, a simplified version of the iLife app. The iPad app can record up to 8-tracks from recorded audio, loops, or from the app's simulated instruments (touch versions of a drumset, keyboard, guitar and bass guitar are all represented). As with iMovie, serious users will still want to use the desktop version of GarageBand, but the iOS app goes some way toward making the iPad a more usable prodution device.


The Hardware Conclusions
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  • Juzcallmeneo - Thursday, March 3, 2011 - link

    They claim to have "as good" battery life from the ancient iPad..and Tegra 2 has proven to have better battery life than the first unless they are wrong about their claims then the Tegra will outlast the A5. Both are built off of the Cortex A9 Dual Core, yes, but Apple hasn't made hardware in ages if you think the A5 is their doing. I bet it is another SoC from Samsung, and if it is the one that Samsung just made then it scores almost as good on some things, and significantly less on others. The reason the Tegra 2 is great is because of the ULP geforce 8-core GPU. Superior graphics at a lower cost. And the tablet I plan on getting starts at $399, and is powered by Tegra 2. Not to mention up to 16hr battery.

    I see the iPad as middle-of-its-class..using cheaper parts and a smaller, less interactive OS. I wouldn't get a tablet that doesn't have scratchproof glass anymore. And I would rather have a slightly larger tablet that doesn't overheat and is easier to hold onto. its a quirky little neat thing that it's so thin, but not practical imho. But maybe they fixed the overheating issue in this model, who knows.

    All the apps I want and use are on Android or have plans to be, that part is easily fixed..cheaper hardware isn't fixed.
  • dborod - Tuesday, March 8, 2011 - link

    Juzcallmeneo, you've made a couple of statements in this thread about ipads overheating. My ipad has barely ever felt warm when using it, so I'm not sure what you're talking about. Mind you, I don't live in a tropical country, and don't leave it lying out in the sun, but even when charging and doing intensive tasks it barely feels warm.
  • Juzcallmeneo - Saturday, March 12, 2011 - link

    Not every single one is going to overheat, but it is a quite well known issue, and from several people whom I know personally..the most annoying thing about it is how long it takes to start working again. Apparently it takes somewhere around 6 hours to come back on? This is what I've been told by iPad owners. If this doesn't happen to you, count yourself lucky.
  • bplewis24 - Thursday, March 3, 2011 - link

    There are so many false statements and idiotic assumptions in your post that it's pretty clear you have no idea what you're talking about and have no experience with Android whatsoever.

    It's ironic that you end your sheep-like post with "Think Different."

  • robco - Thursday, March 3, 2011 - link

    The update is nice, as are the new software additions. I would like to see iOS 5 break more between the iPhone and iPad. The home screen layout makes sense on a smartphone, which doesn't really have the screen real estate for widgets, but doesn't really work on the iPad's larger display. Thinner and lighter is good, the new HDMI output is nice. For me it just comes down to use. I just can't think of what I would use a tablet for to justify the price.

    That being said, I wish they'd done what they did with the iPhone and continue to offer the original iPad in a base configuration at a reduced price. I know you can get remaining stock at a discount now, but once those are gone, that's it.

    The thing is the iPad is successful for the reasons Jobs mentioned. Notably, 65K apps and counting. If RIM, HP and the Android tablet makers want to compete, they're going to need to convince developers of the more successful apps to develop for their respective platforms. They're also going to need a content delivery system that can compete with iTunes. The Xoom may have a larger display, more memory and such, but if I can't get the apps or comparable apps to what the iPad has, or get the content I want, it's useless. Not only that, but as Jobs also pointed out, there's not much of a price advantage for going with another tablet.
  • sean.crees - Thursday, March 3, 2011 - link

    One thing I've noticed is that people who bash Apple products tend to only look at the spec sheets. They take the long list of things on one device and compare it to the other, and then base their decision on which one is better based solely on that.

    What they fail to include however is how well the software works with the hardware. What can you do with that hardware. How well does it work, and are their any glitches or issues with it.

    This is one of Apples strongest features that most people who hate Apple always seem to glaze over. All they see is missing I/O ports, and slower hardware, but don't see things like how polished the OS is and how well it works without issues. Or how you get timely updates to your software. You know how many times I've seen Android customers complaining about not getting OS updates in a timely fashion?

    You have to get out of the PC mindset, and start thinking about the TOTAL PACKAGE. The device is not just a sum of all its hardware specs.
  • bplewis24 - Thursday, March 3, 2011 - link

    One thing I've noticed is that people who praise Apple products tend to pretend as if the software has no glitches or any issues with it, and likes to tell people that it is a perfect blend of software and hardware when it isn't. All one has to do is read real reviews for Honeycomb and iOS on the iPad to realize that the Xoom not only has a better spec sheet, but also an excellent blend of software and hardware that is the TOTAL PACKAGE.

  • Chloiber - Friday, March 4, 2011 - link

    In general, sean has a point. Many really forget, how well iOS works.
    But what he forgets is, that "people who love Apple products" don't even CARE about the other options. As you said: Honeycomb offers many things and does many things really good.

    "Don't look on the spec sheet" has been used since the early iPhones. Maybe it was right then, but it certainly isn't today. It's only half of the "truth" - because other companies do the same things really well too by now and offer often more. I'm not saying the iPad 2 is outdated, I'm saying that you can get similar things (also software wise) from Android for example. And updates will be there for honeycomb immediately, because there is only one UI - so this argument is also flawed.

    In addition I'd like to add some other things:

    -The iPad can't play back 1080p video, allthough it can output 1080p. That's a fact, that is often ignored (to be honest: I don't care, but just wanted to point it out)
    - Regarding the price: you forget, that you have to pay about 80$ or more EXTRA to get the same connectivity options like other tablets. You don't get HDMI, you don't get SD Card. Whether you need it or not is irrelevant here: fact is, if you do, you need to pay 80$ extra, whereas you don't with other tablets.
  • strikeback03 - Thursday, March 3, 2011 - link

    Apple has also had only one carrier and slightly different variations on the same hardware to deal with. As this article states, the CDMA iPhone isn't mentioned in connection with iOS 4.3. Also older/slower hardware is being left behind. Were the situation to approach the level of diversity in Android (all carriers, multiple hardware configurations at different levels of performance) there is no guarantee that Apple would be getting upgrades out much faster.
  • malone46844 - Thursday, March 3, 2011 - link

    Just a note that iphone's and ipad's are sold in more countries than the USA, i.e. Apple has dealt with more carriers than one.

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