Experiences with the iOS 4.2.1 upgrade

I recently upgraded my iPad and iPhone 3GS to iOS 4.2.1 with eventual success, but some problems along the way. In both cases, the OS installation appeared to go fine, but later in the day when I launched the iPod app to listen to some music, nothing showed up. All my music, podcasts, and playlists were missing. When I plugged each back into iTunes, the utilized space graph showed that the music must still have been there, but somehow the iPod app didn’t see it. Another sync for each (with a REALLY slow backup in the case of the iPad) restored the music to its previous state without having to re-download any of it to the units.

iOS 4.2.1 seems like a very nice system, but Steve Jobs’ quote saying “iOS 4.2 makes the iPad a completely new product” is a bunch of crap. The iPad with iOS 4.2 gives almost the exact experience of the earlier iPad OS, but with a few goodies around the edges. The multitasking, for example, is very nice and probably more useful on iPad than iPhone, but most users won’t notice it. Apps launched fast on the iPad before, so the slight improvement of swapping in an app that was in the background is not as impressive as it is on a slower device like my iPhone 3GS. And the iPad’s battery is big enough that it can handle the slight additional power draw of background apps.

I played a bit with AirPlay by sending music and sounds to my home stereo via an original Airport Express. It works well. When I get an Apple TV, I’m sure it will be even better, with the ability to stream video.

I am also very pleased with one particular bug fix. I have a nice Samsung bluetooth stereo headset that is great for listening to music wirelessly, but the play/pause controls didn’t work on the iPad (but they did on the iPhone under iOS 4.1). Under the new iOS, they work on iPad as well! Nice job, Apple!

So far, iOS 4.2 is a big plus for the iPad and a small improvement over iOS 4.1 on the iPhone.

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