iOS 4.2 Bringing More than Just Printing

Apple’s coming iOS 4.2 update will deliver more than just wireless printing and the unification of the iPhone/iPod touch and iPad system softwares. Expect numerous little new features that will polish the revised operating system and reduce the need to use a regular PC for certain tasks. Of course, the new operating system is in its first beta, so even more features might make the release version.

Surprisingly, MIDI support will be implemented in iOS 4.2. Unfamiliar with MIDI? It is the protocol that digital instruments use to relate information about musical notes, velocity, voice and all of that other stuff that digital instruments need to send to computers and MIDI controllers to tell them what sounds to make and what notes to record. Expect future apps to take advantage of MIDI and some type of adapter to allow MIDI instruments (pretty much every keyboard made) to interface with your iOS device. Composers out there should be pretty excited about this.

FaceTime will also be better integrated with iOS now. When messaging someone, besides just the standard contacts and call buttons to appear at the top of the conversation, FaceTime pops up as well for making a call. This makes me wonder if the iPod touch will get its own messaging system in the future that works between iOS devices.

Besides these features, YouTube from iOS will now let you rate videos, iTunes is better designed to sell you more stuff when watching videos on the iPad, and some new controls over who can add or delete apps have all made it into iOS 4.2. Right now, the new operating system is still very beta, but it looks very promising. I am excited that Apple keeps moving ahead with its mobile operating system. Five years from now, you might not even need a regular PC to do everything.

One last note however: iOS 4.2 might be adding wireless printing for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, but the iPhone 3G and presumably the second generation iPod touch will not be getting the feature. Why? Apple says only devices that support multitasking will get the feature. If you still have one of these older devices, you might need to use a jailbreaking solution to enable the ‘AirPrint’ feature. Bummer, I know. No HDR photography and now no wireless printing? Shame on Apple. Not that it wasn’t expected for Apple to cut features for older models. They do have to make money and keep you upgrading afterall.

Let me know if you like these new, coming features and tell me what you think of no printing for the older models.

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