Apple is planning a major upgrade of the iPad and iPhone operating systems in Australia this week with the release of iOS 4.1. The move could eliminate problems caused when users upgraded older iPhones to iOS4.0.
The new software will be available as a free update for all iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3G users. Owners of the second- and third-generation iPod touch devices will also be able to download the software for free. The update will be pre-installed on Apple’s newest iPod touch.
Apple has confirmed that the update fixes a number of glitches found in IOS 4, including problems with the iPhones proximity sensor, improvements to Bluetooth connections, and a fix that will help the new operating system run much faster on the iPhone 3G.
In a move to compete with upgrades that are coming with the launch of Android 2.2, Apple has moved to significantly improve the performance of several applications found on the iPhone.
Among the upgrades is the introduction of new technology known as High Dynamic Resolution that helps users take better photos.
Whenever a picture is taken, three versions of the same image are captured; the iPhone will then stitch these pictures together, taking the best elements of each, to generate a photo with the right contrast, colour balance and sharpness. Unfortunately for users of older iPhones, HDR is only available to iPhone 4 owners. However, all iPhone users will receive an update that makes it easier to use their camera controls when taking a photo in landscape.
Other upgrades include:
:: Game Centre: The new software finally brings long-awaited support for Game Centre, Apple’s social gaming service, to compatible devices. Game Centre enables users to play against other people, anywhere in the world. Users can choose to play against a friend, or pit their wits against a total stranger. Parents will also be able to disable Game Centre if they don’t want their child playing with other people online.
Ping: Apple’s new music social network, Ping, will be available on the iPhone and iPod touch following the IOS 4.1 software update. The service, which is part of iTunes, attracted more than a million users in the first couple of days after launch, and the new operating system will enable Ping users to monitor and access their profile through their mobile device, and to see what songs their friends have recently purchased, and keep track of their favourite artists.
High definition video uploads: The iPhone 4 and the new iPod touch are capable of shooting high-definition video, and the IOS 4.1 update makes it easy to upload this footage directly to the web. Users will need to use a Wi-Fi connection to instantly publish their HD videos to YouTube or Apple’s cloud-based data-synchronisation service, MobileMe.
The updates will be available in Australia on Thursday.