The 4.2.1 firmware update that rolled across all iOS devices brought a lot of new advertised features such as AirPrint, AirPlay, Game Center, and even welcomed small improvements such as the ability to search in page in Mobile Safari, but out of all devices it affected, the iPad was the device to benefit the most: bringing it up from the ancient 3.2.2 firmware and enabling it to do something the rest of the iOS devices have been able to do for awhile, namely drag-and-drop folder creation and multitasking.

For web developers like myself, some of the unadvertised updates that came from 4.2.1 are an Accelerometer API, WebSockets, and better HTML5 support (enhanced forms, canvas and SVG).

Out of all these updates, my favorite things about this update (besides finally being able to multitask on the iPad) is the iPad’s support for onhashchange and the HTML5 audio tag. The iPhone has been able to do both for a good long while but since the iPad lacked it, I had to do some code forking in my Flash to HTML5 JavaScript interpreter. Previously In the place of an audio tag, I used the video tag – a really similar element with identical API’s but different in many ways. My next entry will cover these differences as well as the benefits and pitfalls of working on a project that specifically targets webkit and webkit mobile devices.

Learn more about the developer specific improvements of 4.2.1 here.

Happy Holidays!