Apple has announced that iOS 4.2 for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch will be released today, meeting the November timeframe initially committed in the company’s September media event. Several rumors pointed to the release of iOS 4.2 earlier this month in conjunction with the release of iTunes 10.1 though a purported delay caused by Wi-Fi connectivity problems reportedly pushed this release date back.
A new feature now available at no charge that was not previously announced by Apple is the Find My iPhone service that was previously only offered through Apple’s paid MobileMe service. Now dubbed Find my iPhone, iPod, or iPod touch, the service will allow anyone with an iPhone 4, fourth-generation iPod touch, or iPad with iOS 4.2 to use the service to find a lost device and control it enough to display a message on its screen, set a passcode lock, and more. Activating this new feature is done on-device in iOS 4.2.
Apple offers a free Find my iPhone app to complement this service.
iOS 4.2 will bring multi-tasking, a unified email inbox, and Game Center to the iPad. Prior to iOS 4.2, the iPad was a bit behind the iPhone and iPod touch without these features and iOS 4.2 brings parity to all iOS devices for the first time. iOS 4.2 will also bring new features to all iOS devices, including AirPlay and AirPrint. AirPlay will allow users to stream media wirelessly between iTunes and iOS devices over a local Wi-Fi network and AirPrint will allow printing directly to select compatible printers from an iOS device. At this time, AirPrint will only work with certain HP printers.
iOS 4.2 will be a free update for all compatible devices.