By Stephen Schenck | January 12, 2011 6:09 PM
Sure enough, just like the rumors speculated, Apple is adding WiFi hotspot mode to AT&T iPhones. Today Apple released iOS 4.3 beta 1 to developers, and the hotspot isn’t the only addition you can look forward to in the iOS upgrade.
The beta iOS is now available for the iPhone 3GS and up, the iPad, and 3rd and 4th generation Touches; it appears that after trying so far to get iOS 4 running nicely on the iPhone 3G and 2nd-gen Touch, Apple is finally throwing in the towel. It was bound to happen sooner or later, but the timing seems a little odd, since iOS 4.3 doesn’t appear to place any new significant demands on the hardware.
AirPlay will now be usable for video while both browsing websites, as well as when running non-Apple apps, letting you more easily connect your iPhone to other devices. FaceTime gets a minor icon change for the Touch, but there may be more add-ons to it on the way, as the iOS code makes reference to what looks like a series of real-time video processing effects. You may be able to add “Tunnel of Light” or “Thermal Camera” effects soon.
While it may not interest smartphone owners just yet, Apple is also giving the iPad a multi-touch tweak, recognizing five-finger gestures. That many inputs sounds a little crowded on the iPhone screen, but Apple may end up finding a way to make it work.
Look for the proper release of iOS 4.3 sometime following the release of the Verizon iPhone.