iOS 4.2.1 on iPad: Like a new tablet!

The upgrade to Apple’s iOS 4.2.1 operating system on the iPad didn’t come soon enough, but it’s here now… and well worth the (free) upgrade! Honestly, when compared to other devices out there such as the iPhone 4, the iPad was beginning to get a little “long in the tooth”–not from a hardware standpoint, but from a software/operating system perspective. I’m quite pleased with the upgrade.

I’m not sure how I managed to get along without the ability to quickly switch between open apps (which includes some limited multitasking), folders that allow me to neatly organize my apps, and a simple, unified inbox. These are truly essential features that I now use daily. This version also appears to correct my biggest complaint about the iPad: sloooowwww sync with iTunes on my Windows 7 PC! Granted, I haven’t tested this fully yet, but under iOS 3.2 my backups would take nearly forever–sometimes up to 8 hours–and now those extended sync times appear to be just a bad memory.

Still missing in action but really needed in the iOS? I’d like to see these features included in a future revision:

1. The ability to create folders within the email app, locally when using POP3 and on the server when an account is configured to use IMAP.

2. Some way to distinguish between active apps running in the background and those that are simply held in a suspended state. The former take up considerably more memory than the latter. For that reason I would like to be able to close some apps at times to ensure everything continues to run smoothly and minimize the risk of crashes.

3. A true file access system that allows multiple applications to access the same identical file, provided the format is consistent. For example, I’d like to create PDF files from Note Taker HD and open them in GoodReader.

Your thoughts? Please post your comments below.

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3 Responses to iOS 4.2.1 on iPad: Like a new tablet!

  1. Dan Bricklin says:

    Actually, iOS 4.2 did make it easier (with the right coding on my part) to open PDFs easier in Note Taker HD and other apps from Safari and Mail, and the new Note Taker HD 4.5 (which came out a few days ago) does “Open In…” out to other apps, so you now can create a PDF in it and open the result in GoodReader (one of the products I tested on). Thanks for letting me know that people care about such things!

    Of course, lots of us would like a common repository to access without copying, like you ask for. That would open up lots of cool possibilities, though I understand how Apple may worry about the security implications if they didn’t design it right.

    -DanB

  2. admin says:

    Dan, that is great news. Thanks for pointing this out. I tend to use GoodReader as a central location to maintain all of my reference files, regardless of the source. Occasionally it would be nice to go back and forth with another app when I want to do some additional editing, without having to move the file (“Open In…”) to each app.

    Many users are accustomed to using a file-centric OS so not having that capability makes things awkward for us. Regardless, Apple got it mostly right on their first attempt with the iPad.

  3. admin says:

    For what it’s worth, this post regarding the iOS 4.2.1 update is a bit dated now. iOS 5.0, and subsequently iOS 5.1, have brought the iPad to a completely new level. There are many very good published reviews available on the benefits to upgrading so I won’t attempt to write one here.

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