iOS 4 was first offered for the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3G earlier this year. The big new features for iOS 4 were the addition of folders, multitasking and a unified inbox for the email program. The iPad, however, wasn't party to the iOS 4 update and has been stuck on iOS 3.2.2 for months without access to these features.
Last month, Apple finally made iOS 4.2 available to the iPad for the first time. The update installs a bevy of new features above and beyond folders and multitasking for iPad users to get excited about. After spending a week with the new system software, InformationWeek shares its thoughts about the iPad's renewed productivity possibilities.
Multitasking and Folders
As on the iPhone with iOS 4.x, double-tapping the home button of the iPad brings up a list of open apps that users can jump to quickly. The sliding dock that appears on the bottom of the screen can be slid to the left or right. To the left, users find easy access to brightness, screen orientation, media player, AirPlay and volume controls. Sliding the dock to the right reveals a string of the most recently used applications. This dock is accessible from most applications on the iPad and is the best way to jump between active applications.
The most important aspect of iOS 4.2's multitasking ability is that the iPad preserves the "state" in which you leave apps. In other words, if you've started typing an email, and jump to the browser, you won't lose your spot in the email when you return. In practice, this works just as Apple describes and is especially helpful in the browser. Using the multitasking tool prevents the browser from refreshing the current web page, which means users can pick up right where they left off.
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