iOS 4.2 Beta 3 – Observations

13Oct10

The third beta of iOS 4.2 for iPad is now in the hands of developers. Here are a few initial observations…

1. Some of the more taxing animations (e.g., app switching), are smoother and glitch free.

2. The sound preferences bug has been squashed. However, a new one has been introduced. iBooks will no longer sync your position in an ebook between devices because iOS 4.2 won’t accept your iTunes password.

3. Video playback in Safari now acts as expected (BBC iPlayer now works etc).

4. Some changes have been made to ‘Airplay’. In previous betas, Airplay was available in any apps that used the systems audio/video playback GUI API’s. However, many have noted that the Airplay icon is now missing from the YouTube and Videos apps. Much of the commentary I have read seems to suggest that the reason for Airplay removal is pressure on Apple from content providers. I have a less sinister theory…

Until beta 3, the Airplay controls were visible in all media apps regardless of whether a compatible Airplay device (say an Airport Express of Apple TV) was on the same local network as the iPad/iPhone. However, beta 3 seems to check for AirPlay compatible devices. If one is present it shows the controls. If no device is found it hides Airplay from view. Which brings us to the YouTube and Videos apps. To the best of my knowledge the only device capable of receiving a video stream over Airplay is a second generation Apple TV. And there is a good chance that even they will need a software update around the time AirPlay is ready for primetime (Apple says November 2010). If the Apple TV is not yet advertising its Airplay video service over the LAN, I suspect iPads/iPhones running beta 3 will hide the Airplay controls in all potential video streaming apps (like YouTube and Videos).

5. The resolution of the default wallpaper (droplets on glass) has been increased. It now looks very crisp and sharp.

6. On a side note, new SMS alert tones have been added to the iPhone version of beta 3. Personally I think they are horrendous. But visit this link and make up your own mind… http://gizmodo.com/5662382/the-new-iphone-sms-ringtones

7. Safari’s GUI seems a little more responsive to me. Under 3.x and the previous two 4.2 betas I would often tap on the address bar only to have to wait a few seconds before the onscreen keyboard would slide up and allow me to type a URL or execute a Google search. Beta 3 solves this issue.

8. Twitter for iPad issues still persist. I have come to the conclusion that the inability of the app to save its authentication state is a problem that can only be solved by an update from the app developer. It seems that under iOS 3.2 Twitter for iPad saves its state when home button is pressed and the app is closed. However, 4.2 introduces multitasking to the iPad for the first time. As a result the app is never shutdown (and the state is not saved) when returning to the home screen. The only situation where Twitter shuts down is when the operating system itself decides to purge the app from RAM when memory becomes constrained (which evidently happens often and does not trigger the app to save its authentication state).

9. The hardware slider switch continues to mute the device rather than locking the screen orientation a la iOS 3.2. The onscreen feedback overlay has now been changed to represent a muted speaker. Under the previous two betas Apple used the ‘muted ringtone’ overlay found on the iPhone since its launch in 2007. The speaker is far more appropriate for the iPad.

More to come…

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One Response to “iOS 4.2 Beta 3 – Observations”

  1. Hello, I read your new stuff regularly. Your humoristic style is awesome, keep doing what
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