While Apple added many improvements to the operating system when they created iOS 4.2, there are a few more that users would have liked to see. This article covers AirPrint and AirPlay, Mail, multitasking, and more upgrades and features we'd like to see.
AirPrint and AirPlay are both positive features of iOS 4.2 that implement wireless connectivity. At the same time, both have their limitations in terms of what they can do, as will be discussed next.
An even better AirPrint
AirPrint, a program that allows owners of the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch to print wirelessly, was a highly anticipated addition to iOS 4.2. While the feature is great in theory, it is lacking in practice due to its limited compatibility.
When previews concerning AirPrint's release in iOS 4.2 were leaked, many Apple enthusiasts were relieved that such a feature would finally be offered. Apple originally announced that AirPrint would allow iOS 4.2 users to print wirelessly to newer HP printers that included an ePrint feature. In addition to the HP compatibility, Apple said that iOS device owners would also be able to print wirelessly to printers that were shared on a PC or Mac.
Unfortunately, once iOS 4.2 was officially launched, the promises made by Apple earlier in the year regarding AirPrint and its flexibility were not completely fulfilled. You do get the HP printer compatibility, although it is limited to a set number of models from the manufacturer. What about the printing that was promised to shared printers on a Mac or PC, though? That has not been delivered, and its omission is quite disappointing. While the ability to print wirelessly to certain printers without the need to download software or drivers is refreshing, the limited scope of which printers actually work with AirPrint is not.
When Apple releases its next iOS update, one can only hope that a more diverse range of printers than those with the HP stamp will work with AirPrint. After all, it's not fair for owners of different printers to be left completely out in the cold. As for printing solutions right now, there are third-party utilities and/or hacks making the rounds that can supposedly work their way around AirPrint's limitations. One promising note on the AirPrint front is that Apple has recently released a list of more printers that will now work with AirPrint. While they are all HP printers, the new additions may show a tiny glimpse of light at the end of the wireless printing tunnel.
AirPlay that streams content from other devices
The AirPlay application was yet another item in the long list of welcome additions to the new iOS. It works great when you want to stream content such as video, music, and more from your iOS device to a compatible device such as Apple TV. While this does add plenty of flexibility in the way of entertainment and the forms in which you can enjoy your media, its one-way functionality needs to be addressed.
What if you want to stream content to your iOS device? For instance, what if you have a playlist on your computer that you want to enjoy on your iPad or iPhone? When you think about the limited storage capability of iOS devices, a case where you want to access even more content on other devices to stream to them is likely to happen. Although you can stream content from other machines to your iOS device using some third-party apps that are on the market, it would be nice if Apple included this functionality in its next iOS edition.
Mail received some improvements in iOS 4.2, but it still falls short of being great. Here are some ways in which it could have been better.
A spam filter for Mail
With the presence of spam growing at an alarming rate, it would really be nice to have a spam filter in place to save both time and irritation. Since the majority of large email providers have spam filters built into their services, one has to wonder why Apple does not do something to “keep up with the Joneses” in this regard on its iOS platform. Who wants to sort through a bunk of junk mail while on the go?
Considering that most iOS devices are built for travel and portable usage, time should be of the essence, and as many features as possible that can save time, a spam filter being one of them, should be instituted. One theory on the lack of a spam filter is that it could hog system resources on Apple's portable devices. That may be true, but considering how advanced these devices are, it shouldn't be too hard to include a spam filter.
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