Apple released its iOS 4.1 update for iPhone and iPod Touch Sept. 8. In addition to fixing some bugs, the update introduces features such as Game Center and iTunes TV show rentals.
Apple released its iOS 4.1 update for mobile devices Sept. 8. In addition to
fixing a handful of software bugs, the upgrade bakes the company's new Game
Center, iTunes TV show rentals and Ping
social networking service into the iPhone and the second-, third- and
fourth-generation iPod Touch.
The update preserves standard-issue iOS 4 features such as multitasking, the
iBooks e-reader, app folders and the ability to change home-screen wallpaper.
Bug fixes include a proximity sensor issue and Bluetooth connectivity. For
iPhone 3G users running iOS 4, performance should now be faster.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs, unveiling
the additions during his company's Sept. 1 event in San Francisco, focused
especially on the iOS 4.1's multiplayer-centric Game Center, which will compete
against not only Nintendo's and Sony's portable game systems, but also the
upcoming Windows Phone 7's "Games" Hub. He also highlighted the
update's 99-cent TV show rentals and high-dynamic range (HDR)
photography, the latter of which merges multiple exposures into a
Jobs claimed some 120 million devices currently run iOS, with 230,000 new
iOS activations per day. Apple's iTunes service claims 160 million registered
users, a potentially huge base for its Ping social networking
service, which allows members to swap information about their favorite artists,
songs and albums.
Apple plans on following the iOS 4.1 update with iOS 4.2 for the iPad, which
will offer wireless printing in addition to features such as stronger security,
and device-management capabilities.
During the Sept. 1 event, Jobs introduced a revamped iPod Touch, iPod
Shuffle and iPod Nano. The newest-generation iPod Touch-which he jokingly
referred to as an iPhone "without a phone"-now features the company's
FaceTime video-conferencing application, along with a high-resolution Retina
Display and HD video recording; the 8GB version will retail for $229, the 32GB
for $299 and the 64GB for $399.
Those hardware and software updates to its product line position Apple for
even greater competition against its rivals in the mobile space, including
Google and Microsoft. Google
is reportedly finalizing plans for a homegrown music platform that would
challenge iTunes, and its Android smartphone platform continues to swallow an
ever-larger piece of the smartphone market-share pie.
For its part, Microsoft is prepping to launch Windows Phone 7, a total
revamp of its smartphone franchise, by the end of 2010. Apple's iOS 4.2 update
could also lessen any competitive differentiators between the iPad and the
Windows 7 tablets rumored to be forthcoming.
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.