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Apple unveils iOS 4.3 and new apps

Not content with launching the Apple iPad 2 and Smart Covers on Wednesday night, Steve Jobs had another revelation for fans.

Apple announced the introduction of new iOS 4.3 software, the latest version of the operating system used on the iPhone, iPad and iPod touch.

New features include faster Safari mobile browsing, iTunes Home Sharing, changes to AirPlay and the ability to use the iPad side switch to either lock the screen rotation or mute audio.

You can also turn your iPhone 4 into a personal Wi-Fi hotspot to share the data connection wirelessly.

Much of the excitement on Wednesday’s showcase in San Francisco came from the news that Apple will be releasing apps for both iMovie and GarageBand onto the iPad.

Costing around £4 each, and available in the App Store, iMovie means owners can shoot a 720p film from their iPad 2 and then edit it directly from the device.

You can also post them straight to YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo and MobileMe or share them via AirPlay and Apple TV streaming. Thanks to the new HDMI connector for iPad, you can also play footage back on a high-definition TV with one simple lead.

GarageBand’s arrival also had music fans in a lather, thanks to an eight track recording studio, and a mix of instruments controlled by the touchscreen.

From a piano to an organ, drums to a guitar, you can learn a musical instrument or create a No1 hit, all from the iPad 2. The gadget even knows how hard you are pressing the screen when drumming, to replicate the correct soft or loud sound.

There are now more than 65,000 native iPad apps across 20 different categories and it’s growing fast. The addition of the gyroscope to the iPad 2 will also give developers new ways to interact.

These new updates will be available on March 11, a full two weeks before the Apple iPad 2 launch in Britain on March 25.