Apple Shows Off iOS 4.3 at iPad Event [UPDATE]

iPhone, iPod touch and iPad users will be getting a long-anticipated update on March 11 with the release of iOS 4.3. Apple CEO Steve Jobs gave journalists a preview of the update during the company’s iPad media event on Wednesday morning.

iOS 4.3 includes an updated version of Mobile Safari that should offer better performance, and also uses the Nitro JavaScript engine just like Safari on Mac OS X. According to Apple, the new version offers double the performance for JavaScript compared to previous versions of Mobile Safari.

iOS 4.3iOS 4.3 offers big performance improvements

The iOS update includes the option to use the iPad’s slider switch as a rotation lock or a mute switch, which should make first generation iPad owners lamenting the loss of the hardware-based rotation lock in earlier software updates happy.

iOS 4.3 offers improved AirPlay support, too, thanks to the addition of the ability to stream video from the Photos app. The update also include iTunes Home Sharing support, so video, music and audio books can be streamed to your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch.

Second genration iPad owners will get Photo Booth support thanks to the tablet’s built-in cameras. Until now, Photo Booth has been a Mac OS X-only application.

Apple plans to release the iOS 4.3 update on March 11, the same day the second generation iPad will be available.

[This article has been updated with additional information about iOS 4.3.]