Apple Reveals iOS 4.3 Features Coming March 11

Just in case you haven't heard, Apple announced a little product called the iPad 2 earlier today. Also discussed in the talk was a listing of the new features and software coming to iOS devices with firmware version 4.3. This operating system will be released on the iPad 2 shipping date, currently scheduled for Friday March 11, 2011.

apple iphone iOS 4.3 features improvements

So what comes with the iOS 4.3 update for iPhone owners? Mostly improvements to current features, such as a speed boost for the Safari web browser. Apple has implemented the Nitro JavaScript engine, which should make Safari twice as fast as the current iOS 4.2 browser.

Apple has also enhanced AirPlay, which allows media to stream from your iPhone directly to an Apple TV device. AirPlay in iOS 4.3 will add the ability to stream videos from your Photos app to the larger screen. Music, movies and photos can also be streamed using AirPlay, as well as AirPlay enabled websites and third party applications.

We expected iOS 4.3 to add an AT&T mobile Wi-Fi hotspot, similar to what Verizon Wireless offers on the iPhone 4 running iOS 4.2.6. The feature has been confirmed and will make it possible for iPhone users to share their cellular data connection with up to five devices using Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and USB. Up to three Wi-Fi connections can be used at once. The Personal Hotspot native app will switch off its connections when not in use to save battery life on your iPhone. Of course, AT&T will charge extra for the privilege of using Personal Hotspot data.

Last but certainly not least, Apple is adding iTunes Home Sharing to the iPhone operating system. This means you can play media including movies, podcasts, music, television shows, and audiobooks stored on your computer to any iPhone on the same Wi-Fi network. No more syncing files before you play them on the smaller screen, just use iTunes Home Sharing instead to stream the media from your computer on the fly.

As usual, the iOS 4.3 update will be available via iTunes and include a variety of minor refinements and bug fixes. Updating your iPhone firmware is a simple process that requires a computer. Apple will make iOS 4.3 available to current AT&T iPhone owners free of charge, but it will only run on devices newer than the iPhone 3G. No word on when an update will be available for the Verizon iPhone 4.