Ina Fried

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Ahead of iPad 2 Launch, Apple Releases iOS 4.3 in All of Its Hotspot Glory

Apple on Wednesday released the latest update to the operating system that power the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch.

The iOS 4.3 update brings a number of features including faster Web browsing and improved streaming media support. For iPhone 4 owners, it also adds the ability for the device to act as a portable hotspot. Until now, the feature has been available only on the recently released Verizon iPhone.

It also allows the button on the iPad to act either as a mute button or as a lock for the screen orientation, depending on a user’s preference. The button initially locked the screen in portrait or landscape mode, though Apple changed it to be a mute button with iOS 4.2. Now people will have the choice.

The iOS update is a free update for the iPhone 3GS, GSM (non-Verizon) iPhone 4 models, the iPad and recent iPod Touches. Apple has not said when the improvements will come to the Verizon iPhone, although, as mentioned, it already has the hotspot.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs previewed the OS update at last week’s iPad event, but had said it would not come until this Friday.