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iOS 4.3 Beta hints at iPad 2 features

New multi-touch gestures for switching apps

Apple iPad multi-touch screen

Apple has sent a beta version of iOS 4.3, the iPhone and iPad operating system, to testers that features new multi-touch gestures that could appear in the iPad 2.

The update enables multi-touch detection for up to five fingers, leading to a range of new gestures to ease navigation on the iPad.

Principle among these is the ability to switch between apps by simply swiping across the display using four fingers. 

Currently, users must double-click the home button to access apps running in the background, and then sift through them to find the app they want.

Similarly, a pinch action using five fingers will permanently close an application. At present, you must the double-click the home button, hold down on an icon, and then press a small ‘x’ icon to close applications.

One further gesture, swiping upwards using four fingers, brings up the app tray.

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All these actions have been captured in a video that’s been posted on YouTube.

Home button to be removed?

These new gestures have sparked speculation that Apple might remove the home button from the iPad and iPhone, however, Apple has not indicated this to be the case.

Other rumours suggest the iPad 2 will go on sale in April, while leaked photos seem to confirm the presence of a camera on the new device – an oft predicted addition.

For alternatives to the iPad check our guide to the Best Tablets at CES 2011 and read about all the recently announced new tablets.

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