Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Righting Wrongs: iOS 4.1 Mini-Review

ios41_thumb[1]Apple’s iOS 4.1 is due out tomorrow for all iPhones and iPod Touches except the very first ones – this is the one that was announced during last week’s iPod keynote, the update that’s supposed to magnify the strong points I wrote about in my first review of iOS 4 while downplaying the difficulties I encountered using the new OS for ten days in Japan.

I managed to snag the release version of the new OS a day early, and I’ve been using it all day in an effort to learn enough about it to give you a fair assessment before launch day. My verdict? At least tentatively, I can say that this is the version of iOS 4 you want.

First, and most importantly for iPhone 3G and second-gen iPod Touch users, the new OS has been optimized for older devices. Full details and speed comparisons are available from the whiz kids over at Anandtech, but suffice it to say that iOS 4.1 will make your old iPhone 3G just about as speedy as it was while running iOS 3. You shouldn’t expect any further speed significant upgrades for this older hardware – Apple wants you to buy new things, after all – but this update will relieve the users who have complained of speed problems on these devices.

These speed improvements seemed evident on my iPhone 3GS as well, though I have no bar graphs to show you in this case. Scrolling and opening apps seems more responsive. Trying to close my multitasked apps no longer hangs up the phone, nor does the Mail app display the frustrating tendency to crash that it did while I was abroad. It's mostly small changes, but they all combine to make the device seem faster.

As far as new features, I haven’t had much time to dive into them as of yet. Game Center is… present, though none of my current games seem to be supported. Expect a flurry of app updates over the next couple of weeks as developers rush to add support and optimize their apps to take advantage of iOS 4.1.
Snag the upgrade via iTunes when it comes out tomorrow, and let us know what you think in the Comments section!