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iOS 4.3 hitting March 11

Apple's new version of iOS 4 adds Home Sharing, Photo Booth, multifinger gestures, and more.

Sarah Tew/CNET

We previewed iOS 4.3 back in January, and now the time has almost come: the latest version of Apple's iOS software will be available March 11.

What's new this time around? Well, not as much as iOS 4.2, but there are some notable upgrades--especially if you're an iPad owner.

Support for additional multifinger multitouch gestures and swipes adds four-finger fast-swapping between open apps and a one-handed way to flick the app dock up, instead of double-clicking the home button. In fact, you'll probably be using that lone physical button a whole lot less now.

There's also a new app, Photo Booth, that will add tools for taking and tweaking self portraits, similar to what exist already on Mac OS X. Obviously, this app's limited to the camera-equipped iPad 2.

Home Sharing will allow other PC or Mac iTunes libraries with Home Sharing turned on to be accessible on your iPad, locally streamed.

Wi-Fi hot-spot support will finally enable AT&T iPhones to share their wireless connection with other devices, much like the Verizon iPhone 4.

For Apple TV owners, there are some improvements to video streaming and AirPlay support. AirPlay will also support photo slideshows, as well as well video and audio streaming from third-party apps to other devices.

The built-in Safari browser should also see performance improvements running JavaScript, thanks to a new nitro JavaScript engine.

Now playing: Watch this: A sneak peek at iOS 4.3

Other small changes include yet another font switch for Notes, extra notification beep settings, and--thank goodness--an ability to restore the use of the physical iPad's orientation lock switch, which has been co-opted to become a "silencer" switch since iOS 4.2.

Meanwhile, make sure you check out the rest of the news of today's iPad 2 announcement.