Apple announced that the iOS 4.2 update for iPad is available for download today through iTunes. The new features, which include multitasking, folders, printing, a unified inbox, Game Center, AirPlay and AirPrint, will transform your iPad into a much more useful device.
With multitasking you can run your favorite apps and switch between them instantly. Finding them is easier with folders. You simply drag and drop app icons onto one another to create a folder of like apps. Once the folder is created, you can drag more apps into the folder.
For those that use the iPad as a netbook alternative, AirPrint will be a welcome addition. With an AirPrint enabled printer, which for now includes HP models in the Photosmart, Laser Jet Pro and OfficeJet lines, you can print from within any print-enable app.
Game Center lets you play head to head with friends and family with an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch. Or you can be paired automatically with others online.
If you have an Apple TV, the new AirPlay feature lets you stream music, video and photos wirelessly from your iPad (also will work with AirPlay-enabled speakers coming to market in the months ahead.).
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; and support for 25 additional languages, including Korean, Portuguese and Traditional Chinese.
One big loss with iOS 4.2, in my opinion, is the rotation lock button will now be a mute button. To lock the rotation, you now go through an onscreen menu bar, which requires double-tapping the home button and then swiping to the right.