Apple announces that it is releasing iOS 4.2 (the company says by 10 a.m. Pacific Time) as a free software update that brings the features of iOS 4 – multitasking, fast application switching, and a unified mail Inbox – to the iPad for the first time.

The update procedure is an easy one – attach your iDevice to your Mac or PC, select it in the iTunes source list, and simply click on the ‘Check for Update’ button. When you have finished, the rock-and-roll begins.

The update adds the new ‘AirPrint’ and ‘AirPlay’ features to all compatible devices. ‘Airplay’ is an updated version of Apple’s ‘AirTunes’ feature, and it will allow you to stream video through the new Apple TV. The other new, and extraordinary, feature is ‘Airprint’, which allows your iDevice to print directly and wirelessly to a handful of HP ‘ePrint’ printers.

Okay so let us have a look at the iOS 4.2 through the eyes of a iPad user. First of all the multitasking feature is a revelation on this magical device, helping you to get a huge productivity boost. Applications now have the ability to run portions of themselves in the background. while other applications are running in the foreground. Another great feature is that as you switch between the applications, you will find them right where you left them, and you have the new ‘fast application switcher’ interface that appears when you double-tap the home button. I am sure that the fast application switcher will become a habit from the first day of use, and you can take full advantage of your new productivity boost. Just do not forget – you are not on a Mac.

Another great feature is the new unified Inbox. If you use more than one account – one work mail and one personal mail – you already know the four taps required to switch from one Inbox to another. Now, you can forget all about that. No taps – this is the new motto coming from Apple’s update – you will find a unified view that stitches all your Inboxes together.