November 8, 2010
By the ZippyCart Shopping Cart Reviews Content Team
Apple is set to release the latest operating system update to the iPad, iPod Touch, and iPhone, which is expected to secure their dominance in the mobile marketplace and ereader space. iOS 4.2 will be available for download shortly, and Apple fans are already starting to simmer and stir about the 100+ new features and innovations promised to them. Of the anticipated features, the most notable include multitasking, folders (that can hold up to 20 apps), printing, wireless streaming, and improved functionality for already existing apps and tools. But the question remains, will these new features actually be a game changer for ereaders, mobile commerce, and more?
To answer this question, consider the impact of the following feature changes:
1. Multitasking – The ability to multitask takes the iPad to an entirely new playing field by making it more like a laptop than ever. With iOS 4.2, users will be able to browse the Internet while taking notes in notepad and more. Consider how this will impact mobile commerce alone. A user can visit an online store to find a product they are interested in, open up the Save Benjis app to compare prices at both local and online stores, calculate the totals, all while writing up a shopping list using their notepad app. While it’s true that all of this can also be done using a computer, more and more people are turning to the convenience of a light-weight mobile device that doesn’t take eons to boot up. Because of this, multitasking can kick mobile commerce up a notch, so ecommerce merchants should be prepared and start setting up their online stores for easy use on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch, sooner rather than later.
2. Find text on web pages – This is such a simple addition to the iOS, that some may not believe it has an impact, but it could mean more than you think. When browsing the web on an iPhone or iPad, one of the most frustrating things for a user could be the inability to utilize the find function available on a computer browser. The find function lets you type in the word or phrase you are looking for and then navigate to it immediately, thus getting you through a web page faster. While this change is great for the average person browsing the web or reading an article, it could have a negative impact on website owners. This is because the find function allows a user to get through a site at twice the speed and keeps them from possibly discovering something new and unexpected on that site. With a change like this, you can expect time on site to go down slightly for any visits from an iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, and your bounce rate will increase as well.
3. The iPad screen lock switch changing to a volume switch – While Apple didn’t announce this as one of their big changes, those who have beta tested the new iOS 4.2 have found this to be one of the most frustrating new features. The iPhone and iPad both have a switch on the side which, until iOS 4.2, have done two very different things. On the iPhone, this switch takes the ring volume from mute/vibrate to 100% volume. For a phone, this is a very convenient function, as you can quickly put your phone on silent without taking a lot of time. On the iPad, this switch has worked as a screen lock, which keeps the screen from changing views if you move the iPad around. This simple lock has been something that avid readers have really enjoyed on the iPad, as it lets them use the iPad as an ereader without having to worry about the words suddenly jumping from horizontal to vertical from a simple shift in balance. While users will still be able to lock the screen on an iPad, they will no longer be able to do so with the switch on the side, because the new iOS 4.2 will turn that switch into a volume control just like an iPhone. Going forward, users with the iOS 4.2 upgrade will need to navigate to a screen lock button in the multitask panel. This small change has sent a lot of users into upheaval, as it takes away from the convenience of the iPad and has some questioning whether Apple is moving the iPad away from the ereader audience that many had hoped it would focus on.
4. AirPlay – One of the most exciting additions coming from the iOS 4.2 update is the iPad’s ability to wirelessly stream videos, music, and photos from the iPad to the new Apple TV or AirPlay speakers and AirPort Express. This sets the iPad apart in many ways, as it is so much more than a tablet, it is an entertainment center. This type of shift will likely increase iTunes purchases and help the Apple TV compete with the Boxee Box and Netflix.
5. AirPrint – While the iOS 4.2 update will take away the ease of screen lock, Apple is including the ability to print anything from the web, an ebook, and more. This convenient addition to the iPad will let many avid readers take their ebook from screen to print, which excites traditionalists who have adopted an ereader out of necessity rather than actual want. It is unlikely that this change will impact the iPad’s standing as an ereader too much, but it could tip the scales for some who are trying to choose between a Kindle vs. the iPad.