iOS 4.3: Better AirPlay, Hotspot Settings, iPad Gestures

Apple (s aapl) finally allows third-party apps to broadcast video content to Apple TV 2 in the new iOS 4.3 beta released today. Also new in the beta is support for a variety of new multi-touch gestures for the iPad, and new settings for creating a Personal Hotspot, as we suggested it might include earlier.

The update represents major improvements to Apple’s mobile operating system. The new AirPlay support allows any third-party app to share video over-the-air with the new Apple TV. That means Hulu Plus, Netflix(s nflx), and any other streaming video application could potentially beam content to your big screen TV. AirPlay is disabled by default in the new beta, but at least now developers have the option of turning it on.

iPad multi-touch gestures introduced in iOS 4.3 include the ability to pinch with four or five fingers to exit an app and return to the home screen, or to swipe up to reveal the multitasking bar. You can also swipe left or right to switch between your open apps. I’m surprised it took so long for these to appear. The iPad also gets a setting to let users choose whether to use the hardware switch to mute or rotation-lock the device.

Finally, iOS 4.3 does seem to offer Personal Hotspot capabilities, like those unveiled at Verizon’s press conference (s vz) Tuesday for its version of the iPhone 4. These settings are definitely available for the iPhone, but it’s not yet clear whether they’ll also be available to 3G versions of the iPad, which can’t yet even share its connection via tethering. And even though the settings are there, that doesn’t mean every carrier will take advantage of them.

There’s also a new FaceTime icon (on iPod touch devices) that looks a little odd, and it looks like 4.3 won’t be available for the iPhone 3G or iPod touch 2nd generation.

Which new feature are you most excited about?

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