On Friday, March 11, Apple launched the iPad 2. Two days before, in preparation for the event, iOS 4.3, and iTunes 10.2 were released. The launch of the new iPad was heavily hyped in the press and, amongst other goodies, a video was widely distributed showing a new multi-finger gesture that would replace “home” button pushing to bring up the multi-tasking screen. Sadly, the feature was not implemented in the actual release. The only new feature to surface was Home Sharing in iTunes. This feature adds some “server” functionality to iTunes. The iTunes library can now be shared among users of the same local network. While new to iTunes, and undoubtedly liked by iTunes fans, the same capability was already available in several iPad apps, for example, Air Video. Most current iPad owners would miss little if they passed up the upgrade except….
Hackers quickly discovered that the missing multi-tasking gestures could be enabled by Macintosh users. Many “how to’s” quickly appeared on the Internet. For your convenience, here is one of many links. I have enabled the gestures on my iPad and while I highly recommend the procedure I will point out some caveats. First, and obviously, only Mac owners running the latest OS version (Snow Leopard) can implement it. Second, the procedure requires the installation of the Mac XCode package. This package is over 4GB in size. It took me several hours to download. Finally, after installation, running xcode will not be obvious to a Mac newbie. It does not appear in the Applications folder. There are several ways to bring it up, the easiest being to type “xcode” into the “spotlight” box in the upper right corner of the screen. Another is to go to the /Developer/Applications folder and double-click on the xcode icon. As of this post I have not seen any comments from Apple.