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Wednesday, January 19, 2011, 10:00 pm PT (01:00 am ET)

iOS 4.3 adds new Photo Stream service, iPad FaceTime and PhotoBooth

The developer release of iOS 4.3 beta 2 includes mention of a new MobileMe-based Photo Stream picture sync feature, apparently part of a new Media Stream service, and includes versions of a standalone FaceTime and PhotoBooth app for iPad.

Photo Stream cloud sharing and sync

"Photo Stream uploads and stores the last thirty days of your photos on MobileMe and downloads them to all of your devices," according to text appearing in iOS 4.3 beta 2.

Apple previously offered a feature in iPhoto called photocasting, which allowed users to share an album with friends via an email link. Once shared, the album would appear in their iPhoto source list and stay updated (as new photos were added) via an RSS feed, similar to a podcast.

That feature was replaced by MobileMe Gallery, an online "cloud" service that stores selected photos on Apple's servers, for open or password-protected access by other users. MobileMe Gallery also supports movie sharing.

The new Photo Stream feature appears to make MobileMe Gallery sharing automatic, apparently enabling users to automatically share all their photos as they take them

Once in the user's MobileMe Gallery, they can be made available publicly or to select friends and family just like the existing MobileMe Gallery. It appears the feature will also allow a user to keep his or her own devices synced via the cloud, so that recent pictures snapped by an iPhone would also appear on the user's iPad, for example.

Photo Stream appears to be part of new Media Stream development, suggesting that the same type of service might be offered for sharing and syncing movies. There's also hints that the service may offer hooks for third party developers to use, enabling them to take advantage of the automatic media sync and sharing features just as they are now able to tap into MobileMe contact and calendar data sync, or desktop app preferences sync to regularly update the settings of an app installed on a user's various Macs.

New FaceTime, Photo Booth and Camera apps for iPad

Apple will also apparently be bundling a new standalone FaceTime and PhotoBooth apps for iPad, as well as including a Camera app to take advantage of the rear facing camera, which has been anticipated for some time.

While not installed in the developer build, FaceTime and PhotoBooth apps are depicted in a wallpaper preview image that has changed since the previous developer beta (shown below, first discovered by MacRumors). The image inadvertently leaks the internal development of those apps.

On the Mac, Photo Booth includes support for using Quartz Composition filters to distort, transform, chroma key (blue screen), or apply other affects in the pictures and videos it captures. Additional Quartz Composition filters can be created using Apple's free Quartz Composer application and installed for use by Photo Booth. The depiction of Photo Booth as an app on the iPad suggests similar functionally within the new iOS version.

iOS FaceTime PhotoBooth


Also in iOS 4.3 developer builds

The iOS 4.3 Beta 2 release also previewed full handed gestures for rapidly moving between multitasking apps or returning to the Home screen, although it warned that feature was experimental and not planned for public release in the next build.

The first beta of iOS 4.3 introduced a personal hotspot control panel, new multitouch gestures for the iPad, and updated SMS alert settings. Resource files accompanying the release also provided hints at a handful of new iPad and iPhone models, as well as a potential "Find My Friends" social networking feature.