Apple’s iOS 4.1 announced at the yearly Apple media event in San Francisco CA and it is the first major update to the operating system for the iPhone, iPod, and iPad since the release of iOS 4 in June 2010. For the operating system formerly known as the iPhone OS, Apple has stepped up their game yet again. While the developers of the iOS 4.1 added multitasking, video chat and other sorely missed features in its earlier version, this time they have added even more features, but is it enough to keep users satisfied?
Major Bug Fixes
The iOS 4 seemed to have numerous problems, according to many of its users. Some of these included a proximity sensor that was too sensitive that led to users making the phone do things while on a call, the Bluetooth issue with difficult to manage connections, and the iPhone 3GS issue that made the iPhone 3GS run very slowly. The newest iOS update claims to have fixed these bugs in addition to adding even more features.
The proximity sensor fix is probably the biggest fix that most people are waiting for, aside from the Game Center (more below). The proximity sensor was supposed to turn the touchscreen off automatically when the iPhone sensed that the user was on a call. However, user reports stated that this sensor was not working properly and did not turn the touchscreen off, causing them to lose a call by accidentally ending it when their cheeks touched the phone. Other users reported that their cheek movements would also turn on the speakerphone and cause other commands to input against their will.
Apple said they would investigate the lag time and shorter battery life reported by users who updates their iPhone 3G and 3GS to the iOS 4 in July 2010. Apparently, Apple found those reports to be true because the newest update, iOS 4.1, reduces lag time and ramps up battery life. Additional reports, according to the Wall Street Journal Online stated that the iPhone 3G became excessively overheated after updating to the iOS 4 and this is another problem the newest point release promises to fix.
The Bluetooth connection problems were one of the first bugs reported after CNet reviewers updated their devices. They stated that the iOS 4 had some difficulties pairing with some headsets; however, those Bluetooth headsets that are A2DP compatible did not have as many problems than those that are not.
Added Features: Game Center
Aside form the major bug fixes, the iOS 4.1 promises many added features as well. For example, the Game Center is now ready for download for all iPhone 3GS and 4 users, though the original iPhone 3G is not included with this update to the iOS. The Game Center is a built-in application made for “social gaming,” much like any other social network. It allows users to play against other people in real-time as well as play against the iOS. Users can also befriend other players and even chat with them in some gaming platforms. This is a feature that was originally announced at the beginning of the iOS 4 release, but finally made available with iOS 4.1.
Added Feature: iTunes Rentals & HD Video
Even though the iTunes application always allowed for iTunes movies rentals, the newest update to the iOS 4.1 mimics the Netflix application, as it now allows rentals of television shows as well. The shows users can rent cost $0.99 a piece, but unlike Netflix, users can watch instantly from their iPhone device-without paying for a costly monthly subscription first.
Another feature sorely missed in previously versions of the iOS is the ability to upload HD video. While this version of the iOS 4.1 allows the ability using Wi-Fi only, users no longer need to synchronize their iPhone or iPod Touch to do so. Users can now upload their HD videos direct to YouTube and Mobile Me without connecting to a computer.
Added Feature: HDR Photo
The added high Dynamic Range setting when taking photos on the iPhone now allows users to take great photos. The setting takes three photos and then combines them to form a single, perfect photo. While this setting depends on the lighting and other things that can alter photos, such as movement, color saturation and other things, the fact that Apple added this feature was completely unexpected. It is not available for anyone using an iPhone 3G or 3GS, though.
Other features have also been added to the iOS 4.1 update, such as easily accessible FaceTime, Ping in iTunes and spell check disabling, among others. Most users have found that the bug fixes are the best additions, although some still say their proximity sensors are still not working properly. Additionally, Apple has usually made all of their updates backwards compatible for earlier models, which has kept many Apple fans loyal to the brand. However, the fact that some of these updates not available for earlier versions of the iPhone make it difficult for some users to remain loyal to Apple.
“Complete iOS 4.1 Walkthrough,” 9to5Mac
Erica Ogg, “Apple to Investigate iOS Problem on iPhone 3G,” CNet News
Erica Ogg, “Slow iPhone 3G? iOS Update Could be on the Way,” CNet News
Kent German, “iOS 4.1 Hands-on Look,” Phone Atlas, CNet Reviews
Nicole Lee, “iPhone 4 Issues with Stereo Bluetooth headsets?” CNet Reviews
Ed Hansberry, “iOS Game Center Leaves iPhone 3G Behind,” Information Week
Jeff Bertolucci “Gripes about Proximity Sensor add to iPhone 4 Woes,” PC World business Center
Tim Gideon, “Apple iOS Game Center: Hands On,” PC Mag
Jennifer Valentino-DeVries, “Apple Probes Complaints About iOS4 on iPhone 3G,” Wall Street Journal Online