The first iOS 4.3 beta was released to developers today. Unfortunately, it drops support for the iPhone 3G and iPod touch 2G. However, it brings some fantastic features.

Mobile hotspot: When the Verizon iPhone was announced, the mobile hotspot feature was mentioned. The iOS 4.3 update brings mobile hotspot capabilities to the iPhone 4 (does not work on the iPhone 3GS or the iPad). The mobile hotspot allows one to create a WiFi network from the iPhone, allowing up to 5 devices to connect and utilize the iPhone’s Internet connection.

Gestures: iOS 4.3 brings more gestures to the iPad. With either four or five fingers, one can:

Swipe up to reveal multitasking bar
Swipe to the left to go to back the last used app
Swipe to the right to go forward
Pinch to go back to the home screen

Note to developers: Gestures may not be enabled in beta by default. Connect your iPad to Xcode and enable the iPad for distribution.

Rotation Lock: When the iPad was originally released, the switch on the right side acted as a rotation lock (prevents the ipad from adjusting when you turn it sideways… Which is important for when you want to read your iPad when lying on your side.) When the iOS 4.2 was released, it changed the switch on the iPad to a mute button (the rotation lock was then placed on the multitasking bar). Many users greatly preferred having the switch be a rotation lock, so Apple is bringing that back with iOS 4.3.