Apple today announced the availability of iOS 4.2, the newest operating system for the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.

The company says iOS 4.2 brings over 100 new features from iOS 4.0, 4.1 and 4.2 to iPad including Multitasking, Folders, Unified Inbox, Game Center, AirPlay and AirPrint.

“Once again, the iPad with iOS 4.2 will define the target that other tablets will aspire to, but very few, if any, will ever be able to hit.” said the ever modest Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO in a written statement.

The following is an overview of some of the key features.
  • Multitasking means iPad users will be able to switch quickly between their favorite apps.
  • Folders allow iPad users to organize their apps into logical "folders" similar to what iPhone and iPod touch users have been doing for some time.
  • A new Unified Inbox brings fast inbox switching and a threaded message view to iOS device owners.
  • Game Center allows iPad, iPhone and iPod touch users to play online games with friends and publish their scores and achievements.
  • AirPlay is a new feature for streaming music, video and photos wirelessly from iPad, iPhone and iPod touch to Apple TV. iOS users will also be able to use AirPort Express and AirPlay to stream wirelessly to any stereo or powered speakers, or directly to AirPlay-enabled speakers coming to market in the months ahead.
  • AirPrint lets iOS users print directly to AirPrint enabled printers.

Other new features that iOS 4.2 brings to the iPad include: the ability to rent TV episodes directly to iPad using the iTunes App with a 30 day viewing window and a 48 hour session window once playback is started; the ability to easily find and highlight specific words and phrases on web pages in Safari; enhanced enterprise support so businesses can take advantage of stronger security features, new device management capabilities and improved enterprise integration; industry-leading accessibility enhancements; and support for 25 additional languages, including Korean, Portuguese and Traditional Chinese.

The iOS 4.2 update is available today to download to iPad, iPhone and iPod touch by syncing the device with iTunes 10.1. iOS 4.2 is compatible with iPad, iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, second and third generation iPod touch (late 2009 models with 32GB or 64GB) and new iPod touch. Some features may not be available on all products. For example, Multitasking requires iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, third generation iPod touch (late 2009 models with 32GB or 64GB) or later.