UPDATED 11:23 EST / NOVEMBER 22 2010

iOS 4.2 Update Comes to iPads: Multitasking, AirPrint, and AirPlay

A new software update is coming to iPad, bringing it a multitude of new features and improvements. As the Wall Street Journal’s Bits blog tells the story about the iOS update, it will affect a multitude of systems: multitasking, AirPrint, AirPlay, word processing, and more.

The update, called iOS 4.2, was expected before year-end after Steven P. Jobs, Apple’s chief executive, announced the new features at an Apple product event earlier in the year.

For people who own the latest version of the iPhone and iPod Touch, some of the iPad updates will look familiar. The software gives the iPad the ability to create folders for applications on the device’s home screen for categorizing applications. There are currently more than 40,000 apps available for the iPad.

Amid extremely useful improvements iOS 4.2 will bring multitasking to iPads allowing users to run more than one program at a time. For example, users could run a music player in the background while editing documents with the new OS.

The update will also introduce a wireless printing feature called AirPrint. With this feature, users will be able to send print jobs wirelessly to AirPrint enabled printers. According to Apple, Hewlett-Packard will be leading the way with a series of AirPrint-enabled printers, with other brands to follow next year. With this system, iPad users will be able to find it extremely easy to use. After pairing with an enabled printer, the iPad would then be able to send a print job to the printer with the press of a button—PDFs, photographs, e-mails—all without having to download and install drivers.

The “Air” concept of AirPrint extends to a feature called AirPlay that will also pair iPads with the newest version of Apple TV—the new iOS update will support the capability for wirelessly streaming content to a television set. It’s possible this could be useful for presentations such as sending high-definition photos, video, and music to the Apple TV.

Finally, Apple is adding some extra features for word processing and document support.

These include elements of its word processing products such as Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. All of them are available for the new iPad via the iTunes store.

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