Apple Shows Off iOS 4.1, Launches New Gadgets for Music, Video

Today, at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Apple founder and CEO Steve Jobs unveiled iOS 4.1 for the iPhone and iPod Touch in an event that focused on the company's consumer technology. Since the presentation was billed as a music-focused event, I chose to follow the Internet

Today, at San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, Apple founder and CEO Steve Jobs unveiled iOS 4.1 for the iPhone and iPod Touch in an event that focused on the company's consumer technology. Since the presentation was billed as a music-focused event, I chose to follow the Internet broadcast from the comfort of my office.

My decision proved rewarding, after a fashion, as I was treated to an error-filled implementation of Apple's much-touted HTTP Live Streaming. Video and audio of the feed was interrupted several times during Jobs' presentation, but as far as I can tell, I don't think I missed anything terribly important.

The next update to Apple's mobile OS includes fixes for the iPhone's proximity sensor, Bluetooth connectivity and performance issues on the iPhone 3G. The iPhone photo-taking software has been updated with the ability to take photographs with what the company calls high dynamic range, or HDR. This essentially takes three images with each press of the shutter, one with "standard exposure," one underexposed image and one overexposed image. This update to iOS 4 will be available the week of Sept. 6.

The Apple supremo also offered a peek at iOS 4.2, which will be available in November for all iOS devices. This will include everything that was baked into iOS 4.1, and will add wireless printing features and AirPlay (formerly AirTunes) for WiFi streaming of music, videos and photos over iOS devices.

Jobs also took the wraps off new designs for the iPod line, including an iPod Shuffle with real buttons, an iPod Nano with multitouch and a much smaller design than that of the current model, and an iPod Touch built around Apple's A4 processor and the "Retina" display, which premiered earlier this year on the iPhone 4. The new iPod Touch will also include front and rear cameras, support for Apple's FaceTime WiFi-based video chat, and the three-axis gyro that was built into the iPhone 4. The new iPod models will be available next week.

Following the announcement of iTunes -- with a new logo for the 10th major release of Apple's media management software and a social networking scheme dubbed iTunes Ping -- Jobs showed off a much-expected second-generation Apple TV, with a rental-based model that adds Netflix and YouTube streaming to its ability to stream from one's computer. The new unit is much smaller than its predecessor, with no onboard storage; this change was made possible by the switch to the all-rental, all-streaming model. It will ship later in September.