Perhaps, just perhaps, there is a glimmer of hope for iPhone 3G users who made the mistake of “upgrading” their devices to iOS 4. U.K. technology news site The Register is reporting that an unnamed, unhappy 3G owner e-mailed Apple CEO Steve Jobs over the weekend to kvetch about the degraded performance following the installation of the updated software, and received in reply the message “Software update coming soon.”
Jobs’ e-mail communications are famously terse and this being no exception, I went to the tea leaves to figure out what he actually meant by that statement. We know that iOS 4.1 is in beta test, and is currently on its third release to developers; I would imagine that a final release is due within the next few weeks, based on the hints that have leaked around Apple’s code of omertà. Nothing in those rumors has spoken to this issue, but this is Apple’s last chance to appease a significant fraction of its mobile user base.
It’s certainly possible that Apple paid attention to the blowback that ensued from 3G owners who realized that their phones had turned into paperweights after the update. If iOS 4.1 is able to restore the usefulness of these devices, which Apple continued to sell well into this year, it could undo the self-inflicted damage to the company’s reputation of providing hardware that “just works.”
What is actually causing the problem may never be known. Although I am moving from tea-leaf reading into sheer fantasy by saying this, it wouldn’t surprise me to learn that Cupertino’s consumer electronics behemoth never actually tested iOS 4 on the 3G before the software’s release two months ago.