Apple released its iOS 4.3 software update for the iPhone 4 today. It offers a surprising number of extra feature for business travellers at no additional cost. Here are the top five:
#1 Personal hotspot
With the new update, you can turn your iPhone 4's mobile internet connection into a Wi-Fi hotspot that any Wi-Fi enabled device, such as a laptop or iPad, can access.
As just about everyone knows how to connect to a Wi-Fi network these days, it's a much more elegant way to use the phone's internet connection with other gadgets than the previous methods Apple had allowed.
We've written a step-by-step article on downloading the new update and how to set up the iPhone 4 Personal Hotspot feature. (It's embarrassingly simple, to be honest.)
#2 Connect your iPhone 4 digitally to hotel TVs
Surprise! One of the features that was mooted as being great in the iPad 2 (pictured above) -- the ability to connect it digitally to hotel TVs and watch HD TV episodes and movies -- has popped up in the software update for the iPhone 4, too.
So, although we can't show you a picture of it yet, swap the iPad 2 in the picture above with an iPhone 4, and you'll have a pretty good idea in your mind's eye of what we're talking about.
You'll need to buy the $US39 (AU$38.79) Apple Digital AV Adapter in order to make use of it. (That link is for the US Apple Store, as it's not yet listed on Apple Australia's site.) The cable comes with a power-in connector on it too, so you'll be able to charge your iPhone at the same time as watching your choice of episodes.
However, once you've got the cable, you'll be able to plug your iPhone 4 into an LCD or plasma hotel TV and watch high definition TV episodes and movies on it. Apple says the iPhone 4 is able to play videos at up to 720P resolution (1280 x 720 pixels) which is, although not "full-HD", technically a high definition video format.
If you're sick of the high prices being charged by the iTunes Store in Australia, can we suggest checking our previous article, how to get a US iTunes Account, to stock your iPhone up with good movies and TV episodes at a cheap price before your next trip?
#3 Use your iPhone 4 for giving presentations
Although the digital video out feature above is not the same as on the iPad 2, which is able to 'mirror' its screen display to any TV, the iPhone 4 digital video out feature does allow Apple's PowerPoint competitor, Keynote, to display presentations on a TV or projector using the Apple Digital AV adaptor.
If your company is an all-Windows shop, and you use PowerPoint for presentations, you can also save your PowerPoint out as image files (one file per slide) and display them on a TV screen using the iPhone 4's photos app.
You'll also be able to demonstrate websites on a TV via the iPhone, as the Safari web browser supports video out as well.
#4 Make SMSes less (or more) annoying
The iPhone has a feature that gives you repeated dings for new SMSes you haven't yet read. While this feature is handy for people who have their phone buried in a bag and might not otherwise hear it, it's annoying if you're in a meeting and you're deliberately ignoring the SMS.
The new iOS 4.3 software allows you to configure how many times you want to be alerted to a new SMS - 1, 2, 3, 5 or 10 times (or not at all).
Firstly go to settings from your home screen...
Then select the "messages" menu option...
Tap the "play alert tone" option...
... and choose how many times you want to be reminded of a new SMS waiting to be read.
#5 Faster web browser
The iPhone 4 is already a remarkably snappy phone when it comes to browsing the web -- especially when married up with a high performance mobile network like Telstra Next G, which can deliver webpages to the phone quickly.