Apple Releases iOS 4.3 With AirPlay and Safari Improvements, Personal Hotspot

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As had been rumored yesterday after a false start, Apple has just released iOS 4.3 to the public, two days ahead of schedule. Updates are available for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch, and users should be able update their devices by connecting them to iTunes and clicking the "Check for Update" button.

iOS 4.3 brings a number of enhancements including AirPlay video compatibility for third-party apps and websites, Safari speed improvements, Home Sharing to stream media from any iTunes library to an iOS device via Wi-Fi, and a new option for customizing the iPad's side switch to serve as a mute toggle or screen orientation lock. Finally, iOS 4.3 brings personal hotspot functionality to the GSM iPhone 4 following the feature's debut on the Verizon iPhone last month.

This update contains new features and improvements, including the following:

* Personal Hotspot
- Share iPhone 4 cellular data with up to 5 devices (combination of up to 3 Wi-Fi, 3 Bluetooth, and 1 USB)

* iTunes Home Sharing
- Play music, movies, and TV shows from a shared iTunes library on a Mac or PC (requires iTunes 10.2)

* New AirPlay features
- Play videos from the Photos app including the Camera Roll album, iTunes previews, enabled third-party apps and websites on Apple TV
- Play slideshows from Photos on Apple TV using transitions available on Apple TV

* Faster Safari performance with Apple Nitro JavaScript engine

* HD video out using the Apple Digital AV Adapter
- View 720p HD videos from Videos app, iPod app, Photos, YouTube, Safari, Keynote, and enabled third-party apps on an HDMI display

* Ping features
- Push notifications for comments and follow requests
- Post and Like songs directly from the Now Playing screen
- Parental controls

* New Settings
- Messages setting for number of times to repeat an alert
- iPad side switch setting to lock screen rotation or mute audio notifications and sound effects

* Single tap conference call dialing with a pause to send a passcode

* Bug fixes

Update: The iOS 4.3 update is the same 8F190 build that was seeded to developers last week as the golden master build. A separate 8F191 build has also been posted for the three new iPad models (Wi-Fi and two 3G models) being released on Friday.

Apple has also released an Apple TV software update known as iOS 4.3 Build 8F191m, although it it reportedly registering as software version 4.2 on Apple TVs themselves, similar to earlier versions where software version numbers have been one behind the corresponding iOS versions.

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