updated 12:10 am EDT, Wed September 29, 2010
Build 8C5101c may set stage for future products
The just-posted iOS 4.2 beta 2 (build 8C5101c) reveals a previously unknown feature being considered for final release: allowing users to mark uploaded YouTube videos for public or private viewing. Alongside other additions already announced (such as Airplay and AirPrint), observers are beginning to wonder if the stage is being quietly set for iOS to leap to additional products.
The upcoming iOS 4.2 release is already poised as a major update, bringing not only iPad support but adding wireless printing -- prompting HP to quickly unveil three iOS 4.2-ready printers -- and the revamped version of AirTunes, now called AirPlay, that adds video streaming to AppleTVs to the existing audio streaming.
9to5Mac.com today reported that iOS 4.2b2 also sports expanded YouTube controls, allowing users to mark videos as "public," "private" or "unlisted" as they can on YouTube's own website.
The beta has already run into some controversy after reports that the first beta changed the iPad's orientation-lock hardware switch to a mute function (as it was originally billed before the product was formally unveiled) met with hostile reaction from some users. The screen-lock function is still present in the beta, but appears as a "virtual button" in the multitasking bar. Changes such as this cannot yet be considered permanent, but the move does bring the iPad into a consistent arrangement with the iPhone 4, which also uses the "virtual button" technique for orientation lock.
The rapid evolution of iOS has led Chris Seibold of AppleMatters.com and others to speculate that Apple may incorporate iOS 4 into future products (such as a limited-focus netbook-like device, writes Seibold) if doing so won't cut into sales of existing iOS products.
The second beta of iOS 4.2 is available to registered developers for all but the first-generation iPhone and iPod touch, as well as the current iPad. Apple expects the finished version to arrive in November.