Even though the torture of several years of Verizon iPhone rumors is now thankfully over, there has still been plenty of discovery and speculation floating around on the web the past few days regarding iOS 4.3 and the upcoming iPad 2.
Buckle your seatbelt, it looks like the wizards of Infinite Loop have another great round of tricks up their sleeve to change everything once again.
As iOS 4.3 began to make its way into the hands of certain privileged individuals, it immediately became apparent that Apple had completely overhauled the way you interact with the iPad by adding a number of new gestures.
One new gesture allows you to perform a four or five finger pinch that will exit out of any app and return to the home screen (the same action as the current home button). Another allows you to swipe with four fingers to switch between open apps, finally when the same four finger swipe is performed in an upward motion, the multi-tasking menu slides into sight from the bottom of the screen.
MacRumors recently posted a video that shows these gestures in action. No word yet on whether we’ll see these implemented on the iPhone as well (they’ll be much more natural on the iPad’s large screen).
No Home Button!?
Speculation is running wild now that Apple is adding gestures that functionally eliminate the need for a home button and reports are pouring in that Apple is indeed planning on removing the home button from future iOS devices.
If the rumors are true, this is definitely an interesting move for Apple and I’m quite interested to see how customers react to losing one of the few physical buttons on these devices. Presumably, the only way to wake up an iOS device will now be to hit the sleep button on the top.
Also, there’s going to be a huge usability hit for new users. The home button is friendly, intuitive and easy to spot. A four finger pinching gesture? Not so much. What do you think? Is this is a good move?
That Pesky Mute Button
While we’re on the subject of buttons, Apple made tons of customers really angry when they repurposed the orientation lock button on the iPad by turning it into a mute button.
It looks like iOS 4.3 will ease these complaints by providing an option in preferences to use the button for either muting the device or locking the orientation (source).
iPad 2 Has Cameras? Duh.
It comes as no surprise that the certainty of the iPad 2 being equipped with cameras is growing every day. Leaked case designs hint at rear and front facing cameras. Further, new UI images found hidden inside iOS 4.3 point to both photo and video capabilities and maybe even a new effects system similar to that in Photo Booth on the Mac.
As we’ve mentioned before on AppStorm, you can bet the new iPad will have FaceTime video conference capabilities due to Apple’s all out drive to increase the number of FaceTime ready devices.
If you’re interested, OneIndia has posted a video that’s supposed to be of a non-functioning display version of the new iPad. In all likelihood, the video is a complete fake, but still worth a look.
More on iOS 4.3
Before we close, there are two more things worth noting about iOS 4.3. The first is a new feature called “Find My Friends” reported by Mashable and various other sources. The true functionality of this feature isn’t currently known but everyone’s best guess is a MobileMe location service that allows you to see the current location of various friends.
Finally, iOS 4.3 brings with it the ability to setup your iPhone as a mobile hotspot, just as we saw announced with the new Verizon iPhone. Unfortunately for some users, this feature will still have to be supported by individual carriers. So just because the functionality is there, doesn’t mean AT&T customers will be able to use the feature any time soon.
What Have You Heard?
That’s just about everything we’ve heard from putting our ears to the ground over the last week. As expected, the new iPad will definitely be a must-have device and the new gestures and other 4.3 benefits are just icing on the cake.
Now it’s your turn to share some dirt. Leave a comment below and tell us what you’ve heard and/or what you predict about the next iOS, iPhone, iPad or anything else Apple related.
Image Source: Flickr Creative Commons