Apple Releases iOS 4.3 for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch

Apple (s aapl) released iOS 4.3 Wednesday, a couple of days before its expected release date of March 11, alongside the official launch of the iPad 2. The update includes many new features, like Personal Hotspot for iPhone, Home Sharing, iPad hardware switch function customization, improved AirPlay and better Safari performance.

We’ve covered the new features as discovered in the developer preview, and as announced officially by Apple at the iPad 2 event last week, but here’s a quick rundown of what you can look forward to when you get this update up and running on your iOS device:

  • Personal Hotspot. Share your iPhone’s data connection with other devices via Wi-Fi. Personal Hotspot can support up to five devices, but you may be limited to three depending on your carrier.
  • Home Sharing. Access your shared iTunes libraries from your iOS devices. Home Sharing used to be limited to Macs and the Apple TV, but now you can wirelessly stream music stored on your Macs on your iPhone or iPad using it, so long as the devices are on the same local Wi-Fi network.
  • Lock/Mute Switch for iPad. Change your hardware rotation lock switch into a mute switch in your iPad’s Settings. This is one users asked for, and it’s great to see it finally arrive.
  • AirPlay for Third-Party Apps. Now third-party apps have full access to the AirPlay API, letting them stream video to your television via Apple TV. This is great news for people with extensive local video libraries.
  • Improved Safari Performance. Mobile Safari runs much better using iOS 4.3, thanks in large part to improvements in how it handles JavaScript performance. We shared some impressive benchmarks that show just how much speed is improved just the other day.

Notice any other changes? Let us know in the comments.

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