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3/9/2011
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Apple Releases iOS 4.3, Xcode 4

Just in time for the arrival of the iPad 2, Apple is shipping updated versions of its mobile operating system and its developer tools.

Apple Announces iPad2
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Slideshow: Apple Announces iPad2

Apple on Wednesday released iOS 4.3, the latest update of its mobile operating system, two days sooner than expected.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs summarized the new features during the company's iPad 2 launch event in San Francisco, Calif., last week.

The software powers Apple's iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad devices, which number over 160 million worldwide at the moment. It's available through Apple's Software Update control panel.

Apple has also made its iOS 4.3 SDK and Xcode 4, a new version of its integrated development environment (IDE), available to iOS developers. In addition, the company has updated its HTML5 ad creation tool, iAd Producer, to version 1.1.

iOS 4.3 promises faster Web browsing, thanks to an update to Apple's Nitro JavaScript engine in the mobile version of Safari. Apple claims that the enhancement doubles mobile Safari's JavaScript performance.

The iOS update also delivers a new feature called iTunes Home Sharing, which allows users to stream iTunes content -- music or video -- on an iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad over a local WiFi network.

Apple is also enhancing wireless content streaming from Apple TV devices through a previously introduced feature called AirPlay. iOS 4.3 allows streaming from third-party apps and Web sites through Apple TV, along with videos in the Photos app and previews in iTunes. In addition, AirPlay allows video captured on iOS devices to be streamed back to Apple TV via the Photos app.

Perhaps the most eagerly anticipated feature in iOS 4.3 is the Personal Hotspot, which allows computer users to connect to an iPhone 4 over WiFi and then to use the phone's cellular data network to reach the Internet. iOS 4.3 brings hotspot support to AT&T GSM iPhones; it was already enabled on Verizon CDMA iPhones.

iOS 4.3 add support for one new mobile app -- Photo Booth, a mobile version of the Mac OS X picture taking app -- and one updated app -- a version of the company's FaceTime video conferencing app that has been reworked for the iPad 2.

German Mac enthusiast site Macerkopf.de on Tuesday said it has received reports of an iOS 5 event in April when Apple will announce changes to its MobileMe service.

Apple has not announced any such event, but is widely believed to be working to make MobileMe a more appealing cloud-based service, possibly by allowing customers to stream their iTunes content to any of their Apple devices through Apple's data centers.

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