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iOS 4.3: Top three new features hidden in the iPad beta

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(Read caption) iOS 4.3, the latest iteration of Apple's mobile operating system, was launched this month in beta form. At left, the Apple logo is shown at an Apple store in Virginia.

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iOS 4.3 is a go. This week, Apple provided developers with an enhanced beta build of the iOS 4.3 operating system, which is expected to be released sometime in early 2011, possibly in conjunction with the Apple iPad 2. We're still sussing out the details, but one thing seems clear: contrary to previous rumors, this iOS won't include a four- and five- finger multitouch feature.

Some bloggers had speculated that the new iPad 2 – likely powered by iOS 4.3 – would allow a range of complex finger commands, possibly obviating the need for a home button. But a multitouch feature "will not be enabled in iOS 4.3 for customers," Apple wrote in documentation provided to developers, according to Information Week. (The iOS 4.3 multitouch stuff does appear in the beta kit for developers to test. However, the functionality won't get a public roll out. Yet.)

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Which is not to say there isn't plenty of cool stuff in the iOS 4.3 toolbox. FaceTime and PhotoBooth are apparently included – lending credence to the iPad 2 camera rumor – and the tech site has found some information that appears to show that Apple may be expanding into the social networking realm with iOS 4.3. Specifically, Apple could in the future allow users to share photos through a "Media Stream" feature.

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"We speculate that.... this is going to go way beyond photos in the future," writes's Mark Gurman. "We think Apple will expand this to music and videos, maybe like AirPlay between mobile iOS devices where you can watch or listen to your friends’ media and of course Apple will provide easy buy links to iTunes."

Earlier this week, Apple announced that it had earned a record revenue of $26.74 billion during the first quarter of 2011, which includes the holiday season. “We had a phenomenal holiday quarter with record Mac, iPhone and iPad sales,” Apple chief Steve Jobs said in a press statement. “We are firing on all cylinders and we’ve got some exciting things in the pipeline for this year including iPhone 4 on Verizon which customers can’t wait to get their hands on.”