We’ve known for months that November was the month for the next version of the iOS operating system, so it didn’t come as much of a surprise when Apple posted the Gold Master of iOS 4.2 yesterday afternoon. Developers were given access to GM versions of iOS 4.2 for the iPad, iPhone 4, 3GS and 3G, and 2nd, 3rd and 4th Gen iPod touch. A beta version of iTunes 10.1 was also posted.
As long as no major flaws are discovered in the iOS 4.2 GM, it will be the version eventually released to the public via iTunes. If past releases are any indication, public availability of iOS 4.2 will come in the next week or so. Upgrades will be free for all compatible devices.
iOS 4.2 adds multitasking and folders to the iPad and changes the screen lock switch to a mute switch (booo!). Other new or updated features include better parental controls, new text tone alerts on the iPhone 4, printing over a wireless network (AirPrint), text search within web pages, and minor UI changes.
For a complete list of iOS 4.2 changes, check out this chart on Wikipedia.
Here’s a little annoyance on my iPhone 3GS: once every couple of weeks or so I’ll go into the iPod app and select a song or podcast to listen to, but get no sound. The time display will countdown, but nothing comes out of the speakers (or headphone jack). This has been going on for some months, and occurs most often when listening to podcasts.
For example, on Saturday I decided to listen to TWiT’s Windows Weekly podcast on the iPhone (a weekend ritual). I went into the iPod app’s Podcasts section, scrolled down to Windows Weekly, and used the Get More Episodes… function to download the latest episode. iTunes opened on the iPhone to the Windows Weekly menu, I selected the May 14th episode, and the download began. The file was downloaded and added to the iPod’s podcasts listings.
So far, so good.
On the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, you’re frequently prompted for your Apple account password in the iTunes and App Store applications; this annoys me, but it’s a feature designed to keep unauthorized miscreants (thieves, furloughed inmates, members of Congress) from spending the account owner’s cash.
But several days ago my iPad (or as I often call it, myPad) began prompting me for the iTunes password at random times, even when nowhere near iTunes or the App Store. I’d be in Safari, for example, learning the true meaning of fear and – ahem – iTunes password prompt. It popped up often and seemingly without reason and was very distracting.
I assumed it was a bug and, so, added calling Apple support to my long list of to-dos.