Tonight at its annual music-centric event Apple dropped the bomb on a handful of iPhone news as well. Most of all, it's the iOS 4.1 update for iPhone. The Apple iPad will sit this one out but will join in on the fun with iOS 4.2 in November.
iOS 4.1 for iPhone is mainly a bug-fixing update but it introduces several new features as well. The bugs we're talking about here are well-known - issues with the proximity sensor and Bluetooth functionality of iPhone 4 plus the dismal performance on the iPhone 3G. Beside that iOS 4.1 brings about the much awaited Game Center functionality, some in-camera HDR magic, and HD video uploads (plus TV show rentals, if you care).
While iOS 4.1 will hit only the compatible models of the iPhone and iPod Touch, the next version of the iOS - 4.2 - will make sure the iPad gets up to speed as well. iOS 4.2 will be available to iPhone, iPod and iPad all at the same time - but you'll have to wait till November to get it. iPad users won't be happy.
Besides showing the iPad some love, the iOS 4.2 update will bring along a new feature to the iPhone just as well. AirPlay will allow you to stream multimedia to and from your iDevice.
But back to iOS 4.1 update, the star of tonight's show. If you don't remember Game Center from the initial iOS 4 announcement, we'd be happy to remind you it's a way to add a social, multiplayer element to all compatible games in the AppStore. Besides the obvious benefit of displaying overall rankings and scoreboards, Game Center will also allow you to invite friends to a quick game or play in multiplayer mode with total strangers.
The next new feature, HDR photography, is not exactly new to the iPhone. We've had apps do real HDRs on iPhone 4 before, but it's nice to have the HDR engine straight in the default camera interface. HDR on a cameraphone is not a new concept but it's only recently making its way to other smartphones. Anyway, we're sure you'll enjoy it. Just remember - use it, but don't abuse it.
Here's a nice HDR shot we made with the iPhone 4 using the dedicated, paid HDR Pro application.
iOS 4.1 update will be available next week. We really hope it gets jailbroken fast enough.
Apple also announced a new iPod Touch among other things this evening and though it bears the iPhone 4 specs, it's impressively thin. And it shoots HD video. We'll cover that and all the rest of announcements tomorrow in our more general tech blog.
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