Apple (news, site) has released the next update for iPhones and iPads to developers, giving us details on the upcoming collection of new tricks for both devices.


Tether Your iPhone

When Verizon unveiled its iPhone launch a couple of days back, it mentioned the personal hotspot as a feature, but AT&T users shouldn't worry, as it is being rolled out to all iPhones and iPads in the next update of iOS 4.3. This has just been released to developers and includes a range of features for Apple's mobile range.

The feature, long asked for by users, will allow other devices to connect to your phone and use the cell signal for Internet access of other systems. The practical uses of this aren't that widespread in the age of rampant mobile broadband use. However, if your home broadband dies, or a router fails, it can provide a useful backup until the cavalry arrives.

Finding Friends

Another new feature is Find My Friends, which could be tied into the GPS and mapping applications, allowing pals on a network to keep a track of each other when they're trying to meet up, get split up in a mall, etc. We can't wait until someone comes up with a real-world game of augmented reality PacMan with friend's racing down blocks to eat the pills.

iPad users will get to benefit from a number of new multi-touch gestures, as demonstrated in the video with new swipe gestures, accessing menus and other features. Grumpy iPad users upset at having their lock switch turned into a mute button in iOS 4.2 will now have the option to choose which function the button performs.

Coming Soon

The other major change is that third-party developers will now be allowed to use the AirPlay feature to stream video content from the phone to a compatible device. This could help make your iDevice more of a media center gadget, sending your content to the TV or other screen.

Finally, tucked away in a dusty back room of the OS, are some references to forthcoming models of iPhone and iPad, nothing we don't know already but it means these devices are more likely to launch before the next major update, due in the summer.