iPad's big upgrade: The top 10 iOS 4.2 features for business

iPad's big upgrade: The top 10 iOS 4.2 features for business

Summary: Apple has released the first major software update for the iPad. Here are the 10 most important iOS 4 updates for iPad business users.


Apple has released the first major software update for the iPad. The 4.2 version of iOS brings a slew of new capabilities to the iPad, including many that will be of interest to business professionals and to IT departments that have deployed or are considering a deployment of the iPad.

The update, which is available as a free download through iTunes, is the first jump to iOS 4 for the iPad. The iPhone got iOS 4 in the spring but the iPad has been stuck on iOS 3.2 until now. With iOS 4.2, the two devices are now unified on the same operating system (along with the iPod Touch as well).

Below is my list of the 10 most important iOS 4 updates for iPad business users, along with my screenshot gallery that gives you a quick peek at the new features.

Screenshot gallery

iPad's big upgrade: The top iOS 4.2 features

1. Multitasking

The biggest factor holding back the iPad has been its lack of multitasking. With the 4.2 update, multitasking has finally arrived. It works the same way as iPhone multitasking, which arrived earlier this year. To be clear, iOS 4.2 multitasking is actually more like quick-switching between apps while saving the state of open apps. But, at least it changes the iPad from being a one-app-at-a-time experience. This is especially important for workers who need to copy-and-paste between apps and do other types of multi-app integration. To access multitasking you simply double-click the home button.

2. AirPlay

AirPlay is the flashiest new feature in iOS 4.2. It allows you to quickly stream media from an iPad (or iPhone or iPod Touch) to an Apple TV. The functionality is in its infancy and it may not sound like it has much use for business, but it could be huge. Today, once you have video or photo open, it only takes two taps to throw it up on the big screen. Plus, you can almost-instantaneously switch between different presenters. In the future, imagine hooking up an Apple TV -- a tiny $99 box not much bigger than a smartphone -- to a projector or a 60-inch LCD TV in a conference room and being able to quickly and easily share charts, graphs, media clips, and presentations straight from your iPad. Look for lots of apps to find ways to take advantage of AirPlay.

3. Wireless app distribution

With 4.2, enterprises can push out their own custom business apps to corporate iPad users over Wi-Fi or 3G. The apps don't have to go through the Apple App Store and users don't have to sync through iTunes or a computer in order to get the company apps.

4. AirPrint

Another one of the most talked-about features of 4.2 is AirPrint, which lets you print wirelessly from the iPad. The implementation on this is pretty good. A print option is added to the menu for printing documents, photos, and web pages and the iPad automatically recognizes compatible printers nearby. Unfortunately, the list of compatible printers is very small for now, and apps will need to add this functionality to their software so that printing will be possible in more places on the iPad.

5. Find My iPad

This was previously part of Apple's paid MobileMe service but with iOS 4.2 it is now a free option. Once you activate this on your iPad you can go to the Apple website to locate your lost iPad on a map, send a message to display on the iPad screen ("I lost my iPad, please call 987-654-3210"), set a remote passcode to lock out prying eyes, or even remotely wipe the device and all of its data.

6. Folders

You can now create folders on the iPad to organize your apps into groups, tuck away the apps you don't use as often, and save yourself from having to flip through an endless number of screens to find the app you're trying to locate.

7. Unified inbox

The Mail app offers an improved interface that reminds me of the terrific email functionality on the Palm Pre. It gives you a quick jump directly to the inbox (new messages) of each of your multiple email accounts, or to your list of folders for those email accounts, or into a unified inbox where you can see all of your latest messages threaded together by timestamp. The 4.2 upgrade also now supports multiple Microsoft Exchange mailboxes.

8. Remote device management

Another development on the enterprise front is that the 4.2 upgrade offers Mobile Device Management APIs that allow companies to wirelessly push out configuration changes, monitor compliance with policies, and lock or wipe an iPad managed by the IT department. These features are aimed squarely at the companies deploying fleets of iPads to workers.

9. Web browser search on page

The web browser on the iPad has always had a search box for searching the Internet, but now Apple has added functionality to that box that allows you to use it to search for text on the current web page as well. This is especially useful when you do a web search and land on a page but can't find the reference to the keyword you were looking for.

10. New quick controls console

If you click the Home button twice to go into multitasking and swipe to the panel on the left you'll find a new quick control console that has a play/pause button and forward/back buttons for the iPod app, a volumne control slider, a brightness slider, and a new virtual orientation lock setting. The old physical orientation lock button (on the right side above the volumn buttons) has now been converted into a mute button.

This article was originally published on TechRepublic.

Topics: Data Management, Apple, Banking, Collaboration, Enterprise Software, Hardware, iPad, Mobility, Software

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • RE: iPad's big upgrade: The top 10 iOS 4.2 features for business

    Most of the business users need such types of functionality in the iPad. Its a good news for us.
    Peter Disuja
    • RE: iPad's big upgrade: The top 10 iOS 4.2 features for business

      @smartvmusa What MOST users need is a USB port.
      • I'm normally a big fan of criticism... but

        My Laptop has a USB port and I only use it once in a while. What do most users need a USB port for?
        Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: iPad's big upgrade: The top 10 iOS 4.2 features for business

        No, you need a USB port. Don't say most users need a USB port. Let's just say that users may need a convenient way to transfer data from one device to another. It doesn't have to be a USB port. It could be a SDHC card or smart wireless connection. Times change and so do devices. Not all smartphones have USB ports and people manage to sync contacts and stuff. You can do it in the cloud wirelessly. There's absolutely nothing wrong with having a USB port, but users will survive without it if there are alternatives.

        Next thing you'll be saying is that MOST users need Windows 7 and Microsoft Office on their tablets. Like hell they do.
      • Why?


        You sync an iPad using USB BTW.
      • RE: iPad's big upgrade: The top 10 iOS 4.2 features for business

        @goff256 with the limited memory you WILL need to use some method to back up and transfer data. And plugging into your computer is a PAIN if you just want to store data - and do the 3 step transfer.
      • Huh?

        What things will have to be backed up so often? Music, movies, pictures, and a lot of other things are backed up when you sync with iTunes. Most other things can actually be backed up in the Cloud.
        Michael Alan Goff
      • RE: iPad's big upgrade: The top 10 iOS 4.2 features for business

        @blueskip - I have only used the USB port on my MacBook Pro 4 times. Granted, I load my pictures onto my G5 and grab them from there onto my MacBook when needed. For me USB is about grabbing clients data and transferring but I upload said data to a secure site (mine) and then download to my MacBook. No need for USB on an iPad. It can does the same thing via Web. Uhhh....are we NOT trying to move to a webified universe? Why push the USB card so much? Stuck in the Windows world much??
        The Danger is Microsoft
    • RE: iPad's big upgrade: The top 10 iOS 4.2 features for business


      Considering the iPad and its new "features" have been part of the Windows OS since probably Windows 95, I must say you are completely correct. The enterprise should focus on Windows 7 exclusively, where multitasking, computer management, deploying software, creating folders, or viewing presentations on a projector or full size TV, aren't features... they are a standard that everyone expects to have, and all this can work on a $300 netbook, with USB ports and 300+ GB of hard drive space.
      • RE: iPad's big upgrade: The top 10 iOS 4.2 features for business


        A Windows 7 notebook will never have the portability, battery life and fast boot of iPad

        Why not have the best of both world by running Windows 7 on iPad by using ThinServer !!

      • RE: iPad's big upgrade: The top 10 iOS 4.2 features for business

        @israeljamesbond <br><br>You are right - some of these features have been in Windows for ages - along with other features like slow speed, poor battery life, virus issues, poor usability, lack of compatability<br><br>The one thing that the iPad has that a Windows PC does not have is practicality.<br><br>The other is cost of use for 2 years or longer.

        And of course MS implemented some of this earlier - they were targetting Office users with office feature bloat.

        The iPad is new and therefore later - so what?

        The point is that this is now available in a very different form factor to what it was before. It is available at greatly reduced power consumption than ever before also.

        The Multitasking in iOS 4.2 is impressive both for the user and for a programmer - Multi-Threading without considering threads!!! Thread management between apps handled by the OS!!! Impressive and efficient stuff!

        A Multi-Tasking OS for a mobile device that does not tell the user they can't send an SMS due to lack of memory - this has been directly beneficial to people I know!!!

        An iPad is way more responsive than a Windows PC, it uses less resources, the battery life is better than a laptop, I would rather carry an iPad than any laptop.

        Windows users - maybe you should begin to understand the concept of something being done well, rather than being just done at all.
      • RE: iPad's big upgrade: The top 10 iOS 4.2 features for business

        ASUS UL30VT with SSD - Win7Pro
        10+hr battery life - less than 30second bootup
        and all the ports and connections I can use plus.....
        You get the idea.

        Now that I have said that - the iPad IS NOT designed to be a notebook or even a netbook replacement.

        btw - IMHO - the ipad needs a USB and/or an SD card port.
  • you're wWRONG about the multi-tasking thing.. please educate yourself..

    there are several types of multi-tasking within iOS multi-tasking... the type of multi-tasking depends on the needs of the app.. this is just a smart way to do it.. apps that don't need to remain in memory when another app is in focus e.g. an RRS reader will do fast switching.. but apps like pandora e.g. etc that really do need services running in the background to e.g. to play music while you're browsing a web page really do 'multi-tasking'. it's just smart to do fast switching when apps really don't need to be in memory so other apps that do need this have access to more available resources.. apps aren't just twiddling their thumbs in the background chewing up battery for no good reason... this is why we see the iPad that has half the RAM of the iPhone running perfectly fine under 4.2 with multi-tasking.. that's called being smart.. it would be the height of stupidity to just let all apps services just remain memory like that.. that's why we see out of memory alerts in blackberries etc.. even android does their multi-tasking more smartly than that..
    • multi-tasking does not mean remain in memory.

      @doctorSpoc Those are independent concepts. True, an active application must remain in memory or at least part of it does. An idle application can be swapped out. I'm speaking from most OS's stand point not iOS. An idle app isn't going to eat much battery.
    • RE: iPad's big upgrade: The top 10 iOS 4.2 features for business

      @doctorSpoc would you open an argument to someone in real life by saying "educate yourself"? Internet-isms like lack of manners, and arrogance need to die.
      • yes, i agree...

        @jrbrewin but when in Rome etc.. etc..
    • RE: iPad's big upgrade: The top 10 iOS 4.2 features for business

      @doctorSpoc "does their"? Learn English.
      • &Atilde;&cent;, Learn how to contribute to a discussion.. lol..

        @??? - this is a tech blog, not English 101... lol.. i honestly don't give a rat's buttock about grammar.. i use it and abuse it.. i just pound out my ideas.. if you don't like that.. well that's just too damn bad.. i honestly couldn't care less.. i care about ideas.. but you don't seem to have any.. come talk to me when you have something of value to contribute to the discussion..
      • RE: iPad's big upgrade: The top 10 iOS 4.2 features for business

        @??? - d1ck = arse wipe, weed of a d1ck - you are all of those.
        The Danger is Microsoft
  • you miss the point of AirPlay as well..

    Denon, Marantz, iHome and many more have all announced AirPlay compatible devices.. in the near future you don't even need to attach an appleTV you just straight up beam the from iPad to device directly.. no hooking up anything.

    maybe all 3rd party apps in the future will be able to share their video.. so any app currently running on your iPad or iPhone will be able to beam wirelessly to a compatible projector etc..

    this make other devices that have HDMI connectors look like stone age Flintstone tech by comparison..