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Apple's iOS 4.3 beta reveals 'Find My Friends' feature, new iPads, iPhones

The first iOS 4.3 beta this week includes references to a new "Find My Friends" feature tied to MobileMe, as well as two new iPhone and three new iPad models.

Find My Friends

Hidden in the native Settings application of the first iOS 4.3 beta is a reference to a new "Find My Friends" feature, discovered by MacRumors. The strings for Find My Friends are associated with MobileMe, suggesting that the service would be tied to Apple's $99-per-year service.

The name suggests the feature could be similar to existing products like Google Latitude or Loopt. The official Google Latitude application was initially rejected from the iPhone App Store, but Apple eventually approved the software in December.

Apple's interest in a location-sharing service was detailed by AppleInsider in December, in a patent application filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Referred to in the documentation as "Friend Locator," the service would use Apple's push notification service to share their location with friends via GPS.

iOS 4.3 beta references new iPhone, iPad models

Also uncovered in the pre-release software are references to new models for the iPhone and iPad, as uncovered by Engadget. The beta features identifiers for two new iPhones and three iPads.

The iPhones are known as "iPhone4,1" and "iPhone4,2," while the just-announced CDMA handset headed to Verizon on Feb. 10 is referred to as "iPhone3,3." The lack of reference to an "iPhone4,3" is also of note.

The code also reveals three new iPads, referred to as "iPad2,1," "iPad2,2," and "iPad2,3." The first-generation iPad is currently available in two variants: a Wi-Fi-only model, and one with an added 3G radio compatible with GSM-based carriers, like AT&T in the U.S.

This week, a Verizon executive let slip that Apple plans to release a new iPad with a CDMA radio built in, to allow the hardware to connect to its network. That new CDMA iPad could represent the third model referenced in the iOS 4.3 beta.