iOS 4.3 arrives ahead of schedule

The latest version of Apple's iOS has been released ahead of schedule. Some of the new features include a Wi-Fi hot spot for GSM iPhone users and improved JavaScript performance in Safari.

Screenshot by Josh Lowensohn/CNET

Apple today released its iOS 4.3 software ahead of schedule.

The software, which was originally set to be released on Friday to coincide with the launch of the iPad 2, went out to users as an update from within Apple's iTunes software this morning.

Among the new features are support for Wi-Fi hot spots on GSM iPhones , video streaming through Apple's AirPlay technology, iTunes Home Sharing, and improved JavaScript performance in Safari. iPad users also get a new option within the settings menu that lets them turn the iPad's side switch into either a mute switch or a screen orientation lock--functionality the company had changed with the release of iOS 4.2 .

iOS 4.3 was unveiled during the iPad 2 press briefing earlier this month, though developers got their hands on the first beta of the software in January. Apple released a Gold Master copy of the software just last week.

The new software is the first iOS update to leave out the iPhone 3G from the list of devices that Apple will support. Joining the 3G in devices that won't be eligible for the update include the original iPhone, as well as the first- and second-generation iPod Touch.

Along with iOS 4.3 for iOS devices, the Apple TV received a software update today that adds Major League Baseball's MLB.TV streaming service, as well as the National Basketball Association's League Pass. Both subscription services work in a similar fashion to Netflix, with users entering in their existing account credentials to gain access. That update only goes out to users with the latest version of Apple TV.

Stay tuned for our hands-on with how the hot-spot feature performs on the GSM iPhone.

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