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Hands-on with iOS 4.2 Gold Master

As we wait for the full release of iOS 4.2, CNET dives into some of the updates and new features for the iPhone 4 and the iPad.

Finally you will be able to use multitasking features on your iPad. Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET

Over the past two weeks iPhone and iPad users alike have been waiting for the promised iOS 4.2 update. After a false alarm last Friday, Apple pushed out Gold Master developer versions of the update today and Wednesday. So as we wait for the real deal--which could come as early as tomorrow--we downloaded the Gold Master to give the update a trial run.

Apple won't release an official list of new features until iOS 4.2 becomes available to the general public, but we scanned through the additions that have been observed so far. Nothing will blow your mind, but we're never one to pass over new features, no matter how small they are. The iPhone 4 gets a few interface tweaks, more customization for message alerts, printing for photos and Safari pages, additional parental controls, and an option for jumping directly to a FaceTime call from a messaging thread. You also get the ability to search for text on a Safari page, which is most welcome. iOS 4.1, which came out in September, added high-dynamic range photos, support for TV show rentals on iTunes and brought back the Field test mode.

iOS 4.2 for iPad has plenty of features to offer as well. Not only does it bring Apple's tablet device up to speed with the latest iPhone OS features like Multitasking, App folders, and GameCenter, but iPad users will also get some interesting additions of their own. Under iOS 4.2, the iPad now lets you search for local printers, search for instances of a word on Web pages, adjust brightness from the multitask screen, and much more.

We'll continue to add new features as we find them. And once the update goes live, we'll follow up with more analysis. In the meantime, keep clicking that "check for update" button in iTunes.