If you upgrade an iPad to iOS 4.2 this week you’ll notice the difference right away: The software update adds support for multitasking, Game Center, icon folders and much more. But most of those features were already available to iPhone and iPod touch users with iOS 4.1. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any goodies packed into iOS 4.2 for handheld users though. In addition to the much-hyped support for AirPlay media streaming and AirPrint connections with internet-enabled printers, there are a number of other under-the-hood changes.
One of those features is accelerometer and gyroscope support for the mobile Safari web browser. That might seem like a small thing, but ultimately it could lead to the development of third party web apps which can act more like native apps since they can tap into your phone’s hardware.
Developer Maximiliano Firtman put together a very simple demo which lets you move a ball across a screen by tilting your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad. You can check out the demo at ad.ag/wjmtgt. I tried it with my iPod touch and it worked perfectly. When I visited the same page with my Google Nexus One browser, I got an error message saying my browser wasn’t supported.
If you don’t happen to have an iOS 4.2 device handy, you can check out Firtman’s video demo after the break.