Jun 082011
 
icloud-what

The amount of rumors and speculation about what kind of iTunes cloud service Apple would make available was massive and started to rival new iPhone rumors.  Now that it’s been announced, there’s still a bit of confusion as to what iTunes in the Cloud is, what iTunes Match is, why it costs $25 a year and why would you want to buy it.  Let’s see if we can clear that up a little based on what we know today.

“iTunes in the Cloud” works today, see how to enable it here.  This allows you to do a few things.  One, it lets you go through all your previous iTunes purchases and re-download them on up to 10 devices, no additional charge.  For clarification sake, when Apple says “devices,” this means computers too — the idea behind iCloud is that a PC or Mac is just another “device” in the mix.  Secondly, if enabled, when you buy new music on *any* device or computer, it will automatically put that new music on *all* of your devices.  A simple concept that “just works.”  Third, and probably obvious although easy to overlook, is your iTunes purchases are automatically backed up in iCloud, so there is no risk of losing music files due to hard drive or device failure. Again, totally free, works today, even with purchases made years ago.  To re-download previous purchases on an iOS device, fire up the iTunes app and look for “Purchases” icon.  To do it on a desktop, start up iTunes (10.3 and up) on Mac or PC and again go to the “Purchases” section.

What happens to all the music you didn’t get from iTunes, say music ripped from CDs or purchased from Amazon or elsewhere?  This is where “iTunes Match” comes in.  iTunes Match will scan your library, find all the matches in the iTunes store for your existing music and make them available in iCloud.  This then allows you to download any of it to all of your devices, and automatically “upgrades” your music to the “iTunes Plus” version of 256 Kbps AAC — just like if you had bought it from iTunes in the first place.  In the event there is no match, it will have to upload the actual files from your library, which is the only time any uploading will happen.  The added side benefit is that your music collection, regardless of how it was attained or what sound quality it is, is now completely backed up in iCloud at high(er) quality.  Apple reminds us with over 18 million songs in the iTunes store, they like the odds of having most of your music available to be “matched.”  This provides a significant advantage over Amazon or Google’s solutions since you don’t have to upload your whole library, and also represents why Apple had to negotiate and pay out to the big music companies to offer this service.  That’s where the $25 a year price tag comes in.  The price is a flat fee, regardless of how much music you have.  They say whether you have 5,000 songs or 20,000 songs, it’s $25.  Also note, your music doesn’t count against the 5GB file space for iCloud  (while we’re at it, pictures, apps and books don’t count either).

Should you sign up for iTunes Match when it comes out this fall?  That will depend on your situation.  If you have one device and/or most of your purchases came from iTunes anyway, I don’t see it being worth the cost.  However, if you have many devices and a lot of songs from Amazon or CDs, it could be convenient to be able to grab any song from your iTunes in the Cloud library to put on any device on a whim.   Got a new iPhone?  Use iCloud on the device to load any music you want at will.  Setting up a new PC or Mac?  Same idea, your music library is available without have to transfer it to a thumb drive or external hard drive.  Lastly, let’s not forget the backup aspect of your entire music library is also worth considering.  Unlimited space for backing every piece of music you own?  Not a bad deal at $25 a year if you have a huge library, the price is low enough for many and with no restriction on size or amount of songs, the service compares well to similar solutions.

A few things to consider:

1) At this point, it doesn’t look like there is any streaming going on with your music, it seems to be a straight download of a music file.  While the initial offering of iCloud is solid, it’s probably safe to assume that Apple will only look to enhance it over time, so streaming and additional features may come in future revisions.  Some Apple patents circulating through various news sites have all but confirmed this.

2) To get to your music in iCloud, you have to use iTunes, there doesn’t appear to be any web app or third party application support available.  iTunes on the PC, Mac and iOS devices looks to be the only gateway to your music.  That could change over time, but I wouldn’t count on that.  Music from iTunes Match is DRM free (as indicated by a slide during Jobs’ presentation) so once downloaded, you’ll be able to use those files as you see fit.

3) It’s unclear if Apple will let you upload your non-iTunes music without paying for iTunes Match, basically using iCloud as a big “hard drive in the sky” as Jobs put it.

The good news is, iTunes Match for your non-iTunes purchases is the only part of iCloud that has any price tag on it, and if you’re happy with your current setup in terms of syncing, backing up and moving around music files obtained elsewhere, then this premium service is completely avoidable.

More details are available here:
http://www.apple.com/icloud/features/

Jun 072011
 
icloud

Apple’s WWDC keynote yesterday was so chock full of information, it’s taken some time to process what’s new and coming for both the Mac and for iOS devices.  One of the biggest pieces was the iCloud stuff, which parts have been made available starting yesterday.

iCloud auto syncing for apps, iTunes purchases and Books are available now if you want to sync items to/from multiple iOS devices.  Of course, if you only own an iPhone, there isn’t much to see here (see update below), although each of the store apps (iTunes, iBooks, App Store) now has a “Purchased” section, allowing you to review everything you’ve purchased and re-download it at no additional charge.  This already worked somewhat with the iBooks and App Store, although it was a little unclear if you would be double charged or not, and is new for the iTunes music store.  Now it’s in its own section, lets you re-download anything on any of your devices and you’ll never be double billed for the same content.

For those with more than one iOS device, here’s how to setup iCloud syncing today:

Go into your settings app on each of your iOS devices and go to the Store option.  Here you can turn on auto downloading of new items of purchases made on other devices (including free stuff).  There’s also an option to control whether this only happens on wifi or force it to happen on cellular data too.  So what exactly does this do for you?  Say you have an iPhone and an iPad.  You turn on auto downloading on your iPad.  You buy a new song on your iPhone, and it will automatically download to your iPad next time your iPad hits a wifi spot — no effort needed on your part (or does it over cellular if you turned that on.)  Same goes for books, and apps.  You may want to consider leaving the app auto download option off if you’re the type who likes to try out many free apps (an app hoarder) because you could end up cluttering your iPad (or iPhone) with lots of apps you may not want on both devices.  Books and music make better sense in most cases.  Also remember that iBooks syncs things like bookmarks, notes and your current page between devices too.

Why is this great?  It cuts out the step of having to resync the device you made your purchases on back to iTunes on your Mac or PC, then having to manually sync your other device(s) to iTunes just to get the new content.  Painful.  Now it’s automagic — the way it should be.

Of course, I’m looking forward to the additional iCloud components (photos, docs, iTunes Match) coming in the fall with iOS 5, but this will get you started today.  You can see more about iCloud here.

UPDATE:

Figures that right after I wrote this article, Apple released iTunes version 10.3 for Mac and PC, which enables the same three options above on the desktop.  So now, purchases will auto download to your iTunes library as well, without have to sync via cable.  Also added in 10.3 is the iBook store, previously only brows-able on iOS devices.

Note that “iTunes in the Cloud” is currently only available in the US due to licensing restrictions.

You can download the latest iTunes version via Apple software update or manually here.

May 042011
 
Apple-logo

Apple made good on its promise to address the location tracking concerns of its users last week, as we discussed here.  This update claims only to do those things.

This update contains changes to the iOS crowd-sourced location database cache including

  • Reduces the size of the cache
  • No longer backs the cache up to iTunes
  • Deletes the cache entirely when Location Services is turned off

The update is available for all devices that can run iOS 4.

Hook up to iTunes and hit the update button.

Apr 272011
 
Apple-logo

Apple today posted a Q&A piece on their website, outlining exactly what location information the iPhone stores and how it is used.  The short version is that the iPhone maintains a cache of wifi hotspots and cell towers in the area to help better assist apps that use location services.   This allows your phone to find your location much faster than if it used GPS alone.   So even though the tracking is no where near as invasive and sinister as many media outlets have incorrectly reported, Apple will be making some changes in an update in the near future.  They will no longer store a backup of this cached data on your computer and fix the supposed bug that when you turn off location services, the location data cache will be permanently deleted.

Highlights:

Why is my iPhone logging my location?
The iPhone is not logging your location. Rather, it’s maintaining a database of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers around your current location, some of which may be located more than one hundred miles away from your iPhone, to help your iPhone rapidly and accurately calculate its location when requested.

Can Apple locate me based on my geo-tagged Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data?
No. This data is sent to Apple in an anonymous and encrypted form. Apple cannot identify the source of this data.

Why is Apple tracking the location of my iPhone?
Apple is not tracking the location of your iPhone. Apple has never done so and has no plans to ever do so.

Full Official Press Release here.

Mar 312011
 

So with this week’s slightly unexpected launch of Amazon’s cloud storage and cloud music player, you’ve started to think about the possibilities and conveniences of a cloud stored music library.  It definitely has some worthwhile advantages:

  • Online/offsite backup of your music library
  • Easy access to your music anywhere
  • Save space on your phone by not storing a copy on device

It was probably less surprising that Amazon’s Cloud Player doesn’t really work with iOS devices.  There’s a workaround, described here, but it’s clunky at best.

Apple’s iTunes Locker / MobileMe revamp has been rumored to be coming for quite some time, but it’s yet to materialize.  Signs seem to point to it being caught in limbo as negotiations with the big music labels are holding it back, a step it seems Amazon chose to skip, much to the labels chagrin.  So while we wait for an Apple solution that may or may not come, what can an iPhone user turn to in the mean time?

It may surprise you that Apple already has rudimentary support for this type of cloud music storage.  Of course, this option requires a MobileMe subscription, which currently goes for $99 a year — there’s a 60 day free trial if you want to give it a test drive.  You get 20GB of storage, along with other features like email, calendar, contacts and a photo gallery.  The “iDisk” cloud storage works like many others and has the advantage of a universal iOS app.  An undocumented feature of the iDisk app is that it will stream music files from your iDisk, and even continues streaming music when in the background.  While it doesn’t load any meta data or album artwork and doesn’t seem to support playlists, it does actually work in a very basic way, today.  You can even share files using iDisk…but don’t tell the music labels that.

Dropbox works in a similar fashion to iDisk in the way it handles music, and offers 2GB for free, with a universal iOS app.

Of course, those are services that aren’t really optimized for streaming music.  That’s where long-time players mSpot and MP3Tunes come into play.  mSpot, in direct response to Amazon, recently announced they would be increasing their free account storage limit to 5GB.  This was a smart move by mSpot, since it has the advantage of being iOS compatible (through a universal app) right away.  With new found interest in cloud music storage being spurred on by Amazon, potential customers may look for more compatible options since being locked out by Amazon.  Also available is MP3tunes, which offers 2GB of storage for free and also has an iPhone app.  Each of these services has an application that you load on your PC or Mac, which monitors your music library and automatically uploads new tracks to your music locker, keeping your local and cloud libraries in sync.

All the services mentioned here have some sort of free or trial subscription so that you can test drive them to figure what best suits your needs. Who knows, they may even end up being better than an official Apple solution, whenever it arrives.

Mar 192011
 
MC939

With my new iPad2, I decided to go all in and get the Apple Smart Cover with it — along with the HDMI adapter covered here. Is it worth the extra $39 or $69 if you go for the leather option? Let’s take a look.

Apple has a nifty video ad for the Smart Cover that makes it almost look fun. The video does show how it works and stays true to my experience with it, save one minor “action” they use when moving the iPad from the typing position to the upright position with one finger. See my video demonstrating that below.

It definitely is one of the more unique cover/case type products I’ve seen for consumer electronics, so I decided to add one to my iPad2 order. I went with the $39 polyurethane cover in gray. For the most part it works as advertised. It covers the iPad2 screen, and provides auto locking and unlocking when opening and closing the cover. It’s worth noting that the auto unlock feature with the Smart Cover does not override any security settings on your iPad, so if you force it to prompt for a passcode on each unlock (or after a specified interval) the Smart Cover does not override that. The magnets keep it in the exact place it needs to be, and it only goes on one way, so no need to worry if you put it on right or not.

The protection it offers the iPad2 is mostly minimal. I’d say the main feature of the cover is actually more of a stand than a cover or case. It’s about as close as you’d come to a built in stand for the iPad2, and feels almost like an extension of the iPad itself. It provides two standing positions, one in a table top, typing position, and the second in an upright, near 90° angle great for viewing and interacting with content where you’d do minimal typing. However, don’t expect this to be a sole form of protection for your iPad if you are notoriously rough with your devices. There is zero protection for the back, which the aluminum surface is much more scratch prone than the glass screen. Also, I’d expect drop protection to be near zero too, although I don’t want to test that first hand. When not in use, I stick my iPad2, with smart cover on, in a generic, padded, neoprene 10″ netbook sleeve, for added scratch and drop protection. The best thing about the smart cover is that it adds minimal weight and bulk to the sleek iPad2 design so  you almost forget it’s there and never gets in the way.

So is it worth $39? For the most part I’d say yes, although if you’re the paranoid type with your devices, you’ll probably be better off going with a third party solution with more complete coverage, which are already taking advantage of the iPad2’s built-in magnetic sensor for automatic locking and unlocking. That feature is not unique to the Smart Cover, and you can even test the iPad’s lock/unlock sensor with any common refrigerator magnet by placing it on the lower-right side of the iPad2. It would be hard to recommend the leather one at $69, unless you really want a more “sophisticated” leather look and are not concerned about additional protection. Early reports on the leather models state that they are showing signs of wear only after a weeks worth of use.

Here’s a quick video I put together demonstrating the Smart Cover:

Mar 172011
 

I haven’t seen too much coverage on what you can do when outputting the iPad2 to a TV or monitor, so I decided to see how it all works. Using the “Digital AV Adapter”, it’s pretty simple to output the iPad to a HDTV. It mirrors the iPad screen as advertised, even the home screen. Rotating the iPad also is mirrored on the external screen, so it’s always replicating what you’re seeing on the actual iPad screen. It doesn’t up-scale the resolution, (unless your TV is set to do that, of course) so you’re basically seeing a 1:1 ratio (1024×786) on the external screen. Apps are all also mirrored completely on the external display. Additionally, with the HDMI adapter, it will send the sound output over HDMI as well, which is great.

Some apps are “external display aware”, so you may get different results, depending on the app. Netflix is one of these apps, and how it works is you can browse the library of titles on the iPad while the external display just shows a red Netflix screen. Once you start playing a video, it goes full screen on the external display at 720p, and the iPad just shows controls for pausing, fast forwarding, etc. Same is true of another favorite app of mine, the MLB app. Other apps that have embedded video like news apps or even Safari work fine, and when you tap the full screen icon, it will show in full screen on the TV as well with no letterboxing. No trickery needed…it just works. I even gave the Hulu Plus app a shot. I don’t have a Hulu Plus subscription, but the app is free and it will let you watch a few select things for free to “tour” the application. I was half expecting Hulu to have some clever block in their app preventing output, but that’s not the case (yet?) While the Hulu video didn’t go completely full screen on the external display, it was still completely mirrored on the TV.

Taking a look at the Keynote app, which is another “external display aware” app, it lets you output your slides to the TV, and gives you options of showing just the slides or slides with your own notes on the iPad screen only. Great for giving presentations so your not broadcasting your personal slide notes to everyone in the room.

Of course, being a gamer, I was thinking it’d be pretty neat to play some games on the big screen. It’s probably not the most ideal from a comfort standpoint, but I just wanted to see how it’d work. I’ve hoarded a few higher end games through various sales, so I had a few I wanted to test out.

First up, I gave Rage HD a test. The intro movie played only on the TV, while the iPad was blank. Then the game’s main menu showed only on the iPad. Once the game started, the TV remained blank, and all that I could see on the iPad was the HUD and no other graphics. Definitely weird. After playing around with it, I found if I pause the game, disconnected, then reconnected the connector, the full game showed on both the TV and iPad, and I could play the game. It’s probably not the most optimal way to play the game because I kept looking down to tap the controls, but it works.

Next I gave Infinity Blade a shot. It had no problem mirroring the full game on both displays. Graphics were crisp on both. Same goes for Dead Space and Madden, no issues with either. While I don’t see the iPad replacing the Xbox or PS3 in your entertainment center anytime soon, it’s not as far away as you’d think. Graphically, the iPad2 can rival and even beat those consoles, although touch controls will always be more limited than analog controls.

One thing I did find, that’s not widely reported, is that the original iPad/iPhone VGA adapter will also mirror the iPad2’s display to a VGA connection. It’s $10 cheaper than the HDMI one, and will work great in more business settings where low cost VGA projectors are everywhere. Chances are most small/medium business won’t have a high-def projector or display in their conference rooms yet, so the VGA adapter is a safe bet if you’re planning on doing presentations. The down side is that you’ll lose the sound output, so you’d have to use a stereo cable off of the headphone jack if you needed to output the sound elsewhere.

So overall, I’m impressed with the output functionality of the iPad2. It really makes it take a big step closer to replacing a computer with this functionality, and it can be useful in a lot of different scenarios. I don’t see it being a permanent item in an entertainment system, but it’s not really meant for that. More of a temporary hook up for presentations or other demos of a “hey let me show you this” type situation. I’ll have a video demonstrating all this in the near future, time permitting.

Mar 142011
 
macmini

In what I’m expecting to be a bit of an Apple fanboy week for me (yes my iPad2 has shipped and is scheduled to be delivered this week), I wanted to share an experience I had of setting up a Mac Mini for my parents over the weekend.

A little bit of back story:  My parents are not the most computer literate people around, although they’ve grasped email and do some online banking, they’re not stuck in the stone age either.  They’ve used some form of a Windows PC for all of their computing experience, and really never even seen a Mac, let alone used one.  However, my parents, and my Mom in particular, are avid iPad1 users for doing things like checking/sending email, playing games and reading books.  They even stream some of their favorite shows at the breakfast table via the ABC app that they may have missed the night before.  They purchased their iPad last summer and have loved it since day one.  These are people without any technological biases, unlike many of us who pretty much eat/breath/drink tech every day of our lives.  They don’t really know the difference between operating systems (mobile or desktop), and could care less about Steve Jobs or any of that stuff.  They’d never get any of the snide jokes we make about Apple’s “walled garden” or Android being “open” when it only suits Google.  They just want things to work, and not require an extensive background in technology to do things.

They’ve had a Dell desktop computer running Windows XP for about 6 years now, which was getting to be quite sluggish and running out of disk space.  50GB doesn’t go as far as it used to, even for casual users with iTunes libraries full of music and lots of digital pictures.   I offered to set them up with a Mac Mini, to which they had no real idea what that meant.   I said that a Mac is a bit different than a PC, but for the most part things will be very similar, and possibly a little less stressful.  The vexing thing for my parents was always the need to manage antivirus on the PC.  I’ve tried to set them up with low maintenance solutions, first with AVG, and then going to Microsoft’s Security Essentials, but even that would have its troubles from time to time.  If it wasn’t able to update on a particular day, all sorts of errors and warnings exclaim that “your computer may be unprotected!”  Other cryptic and ominous sounding messages would tell them their computer was unsafe, even though the antivirus was active, it hadn’t updated in a day or two.  These are things that most computer savvy people may ignore, but something that can be unnerving to novices who hear things about a killer virus going around the internets destroying everything in its path, in the most sensationalist way that only main stream media can achieve.  Of course the first thing that was asked was “What kind of antivirus do you need to run?”  After telling them you don’t really need to worry about that (although, yes, there are plenty of Mac viruses out there, if you practice safe computing, you won’t need to worry about them) they were quite amazed.

The next thing they found amazing was the Mac Mini form-factor.  Apple has a way of creating something that is not only functional, but looks and feels great while doing it.  Love them or hate them, the Mac Mini definitely has one of the smallest and sleekest form-factors for a desktop computer.  Along with that, they noted how much quieter it was versus their old Dell, and that it wasn’t spewing tons of hot air after running for a while.

Getting them set up on the desktop was fairly straight forward.  Switching from the Start Menu system in Windows to the Mac OS X dock they found to be an improvement, and common things they do, like using Firefox, Gmail and iTunes were obviously unchanged.  The thing that really won them over was iPhoto.  Since getting their first digital camera around 4-5 years ago, they’ve taken tons of photos of pretty much everything.  I had previously tried to set them up with some ways to try to keep them organized on Windows, starting from just creating a folder organization scheme in Windows Explorer under “My Pictures” to introducing them to Google’s Picasa, and all resulted in limited success that I think served more to confuse them than to actually organize anything. Questions like “how do I email this picture to someone” were frequent and the answers always changed depending on the method the picture was stored.

iPhoto was just the thing they were looking for.  By dragging and dropping a backup copy of their photos into iPhoto, it automatically organized them into events based on their previous folder structure, and then started by recognizing every one’s faces.   My Mom even quickly learned how to do a slide show (without any help), and was amazed that it was no effort to do, with fancy animations and transitions, all set to music with just a couple clicks of the mouse.  I even had her scanning multiple pictures at once on her HP multifunction without any driver or software install procedures.

To end the whole thing up, as I left them, they were excited to go “play” on their new computer later that day, without my guidance or supervision, and are actually looking forward to using the computer, rather than just fighting with it to do the tasks they wanted to do.  For my next trick, we were already planning on replacing my Dad’s 4 year old iPod classic, which he uses religiously with all the traveling he does each month, with an iPod Touch, so I’ll show them Facetime so they can video chat while he’s away.

I was a bit unsure how they’d take the transition from PC to Mac and was a even bit surprised it on how smooth it went.  The whole experience reminded me that  Apple really does try to focus on the end-user experience so that your average day-to-day user doesn’t have to worry about what’s going on under the hood.  Just turn it on and go.  Even with the advancements Microsoft has made in Windows 7, it still can’t compete with Mac OS X in terms of usability, and there really are no Windows equivalents to the programs that come bundled with every new Mac in iLife.

Mar 092011
 

I was wondering when Apple would get around to adding more content to the current AppleTV, it was just a matter of time.  Today comes announcements of both MLB’s and NBA’s live game video streaming services are now on the AppleTV 2.  You’ll have to be a subscriber of either service to take advantage of it, but it’s good to see things starting to happen on the AppleTV.   What other services would you like to see on the AppleTV?

Also, along with today’s AppleTV update, 5.1 Dolby Digital sound is now enabled in the Netflix app (for select titles), which makes it the second device to support that feature (the PS3 being the other).

Linkage:

MLB.TV on  AppleTV
NBA League Pass on AppleTV

Mar 092011
 

Apple’s latest update for your favorite iDevices is out, and you’re probably wondering what’s new. The 4.3 release isn’t as flashy as some of the previous releases, but let’s quickly go over what to look for.

What devices is it for?

  • iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 (GSM only)
  • iPod Touch (3rd/2009 and 4th/2010 generation)
  • iPad 1 and iPad 2

All other devices are left out in the cold.  No Verizon iPhone update this time around which already has some of the features from 4.3.  At some point, expect iOS versions to converge again across all current devices, like 4.2 did with the iPad.  I’d guess iOS 5, which may be announced in April.

What’s new and exciting in 4.3?

Apple’s own iOS page gives us some of the bigger details, and there’s a few small tweaks not mentioned as well.

  1. Airplay Enhancements
    Third party apps can now take advantage of Airplay video streaming to the AppleTV.  Previously it was limited to Apple’s own apps like Youtube and the iPod app.  Now it’s open for all to use.  The catch is, a developer will actually have to add this support into their app, and some, like Hulu, I would guess will never add this functionality. Netflix has also said they won’t add Airplay support their app because Netflix is already natively supported on the AppleTV, so it doesn’t make much sense to stream to it from an iPhone or iPad. The great AirVideo app already supports Airplay video, and provides a great way to stream almost any video format to your iPhone or iPad, which can now then, in turn, stream to your TV via the AppleTV.   Expect more apps to support it in the future.
  2.  

  3. Safari Javascript Performance
    Mobile Safari is getting Apple’s “Nitro” javascript engine that’s already present in the desktop version of Safari.  Early testing shows this to increase the overall responsiveness in Safari some, but don’t expect it to be a huge difference.  This seems more of an incremental update, but still nice to have.
  4.  

  5. iTunes Home Sharing
    Through iTunes Home Sharing, you can now stream to your iPhone or iPad content from your PC’s iTunes library.  A nice addition, but this will only work while you’re on the same local network as your PC.  Since it’s through iTunes, this will only work with media files that iTunes supports.
  6.  

  7. iPad Side Switch Configuration
    After the internet uproar when iOS 4.2 changed the switch on the iPad from a rotation lock to a mute switch, Apple has appeased those who complained by letting you decide how the switch should work.  In the Settings app, you can pick from a mute switch or a rotation lock.  It’s your call!
  8.  

  9. Personal Hotspot for iPhone 4
    Already available on the Verizon iPhone, GSM iPhones will be able to share their connection via Wifi with up to 3 devices.  Carriers can request the device cap be upped to five.  For AT&T users, it’s limited to 3 devices, and also means you’ll have to add the tethering and hotspot feature to your plan, at a cost of an extra $20 a month.  This comes with a 4GB / month data cap, and can be added and removed at any time, no long term commitment needed. For those still grandfathered in on the AT&T unlimited plan, to get the hotspot feature, you’ll have to give up unlimited data forever — there’s no going back.   This will end up costing you a net of $15 more per month, since unlimited data is $30, and the standard 2GB plan which you’ll be switching to is $25 (+$20 for hotspot/tethering).
  10.  

  11. Other Minor Tweaks
    Some other minor, but nice adjustments in 4.3 is that you can cancel app downloads in progress.  Maybe you started to download an app that’s taking too long, or you’ve changed your mind mid-download; now just hold your finger down on the app and delete it like you would any other app. Also added is simultaneous downloads of app updates.  4.3 lets you download and install to 3 apps at once, which should definitely help streamline the on-device update process. 

    Additionally, some of the new text tones that were added in the last update have been adjusted and shortened to make for more appropriate text tone notifications.

     

  12. Garage Band and iMovie
    Apple’s exisiting iMovie app will be going universal, for significant video editing on the iPad.  The only catch is that it will only work on the iPad 2, presumably due to the added horsepower the iPad 2 has with its dual core CPU.  Another iLife program, Garage Band, is coming to both versions of the iPad.  It even supports connecting real instruments to the iPad by using an appropriate adapter. Both apps are $4.99 in the App Store.

That pretty much covers what to look for in the latest update.  Apply the update by connecting your device to iTunes and clicking the “Check for updates” button.