Apple iOS 4.1 Update Adds Features, Fixes Bugs

Apple is set to release the first major update to iOS 4 -- the current operating system on the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad -- sometime today. The upgrade contains new features and bug fixes to problems that have been annoying some users since iOS 4's introduction.

The upgrade, iOS 4.1, wasn't available as this story was being written, but is expected to be released Sept. 8, according to multiple media outlets. Apple's Web site on the morning of Sept. 8 simply said that the iOS 4.1 update was "Coming soon."

The feature that's been getting the most publicity is HDR, or high dynamic range, photography. HDR automatically adjusts exposure on photographs, fixing over- or under-exposed areas of the picture.

The "Game Center" is similar to online game networks for systems like Sony's PlayStation or Microsoft's Xbox Live. Game Center includes the ability to challenge friends to games or match up searchers with others playing a game, compare scores and other features.

In addition to the upgrades, numerous patches are coming that should cheer users, especially iPhone 3G owners. Many have complained about slowdowns since installing iOS 4; in fact, it's been bad enough that many users have simply uninstalled the upgrade, and stayed with iOS 3. iOS 4.1 appears to have solved that problem, according to this blog posting from the site Lifehacker, which has a video comparison of the speed of a 3G iPhone with iOS 4.0 and 4.1.

Another issue users hope is corrected deals with the phone's proximity sensor. The sensor chip senses when the phone is being used for a call, and keeps the user from doing things like accidentally turning on the speaker or hanging up the call. The sensor doesn't work right for many owners, resulting in frustration with a feature that had worked well since the initial version of iOS.

One problem that won't be fixed with iOS 4.1, of course, is with the infamous external antenna, which has resulted in more bad publicity for Apple than any issue in years. The

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Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.