I was VERY HAPPY to see the iOS 4.1 update hit the streets last week. Although I had already had my iPhone 4 replaced for the yellow photo white balance issue, I was still having annoying proximity sensor issues and sometimes people would complain that my voice was very garbled while talking on my bluetooth headset. iOS 4.1 really hit the spot in a big way. First off, for most people it corrected the "taking an indoor shot coming out all yellow problem". I did some tests with another iPhone 4 here at my house that hand't been replaced and I took a shot while it was running iOS 4.0.2 and then took the same shot after applying the iOS 4.1 update and well, see for yourself:
click the image above if you want to see it larger.
Although my replacement iPhone 4 is still slightly better than the other iPhone 4 here, the iOS 4.1 is a drastic improvement.
So my biggest complaint was certainly dealt with here (although several people on Apple Discussion board are still having yellow camera issues even after the 4.1 update). Also since the update I've rested the iPhone 4 on my shoulder during calls (as I was able to do with my iPhone 3GS) and so far the screen has not inadvertantly become active allowing my face to press buttons. Proximity sensor issues seem to be fixed! GREAT! Lastly, I've used both my Jawbone ICON bluetooth headset and the bluetooth system built-in to my cars without issue and without complaints from the people I talk too. Speaking of bluetooth, iOS 4.1 finally adds full support for bluetooth stereo headsets that have forward/backward buttons to advance tracks. Yay! Although I don't have any active iPhone 3G's anymore, my friend with an iPhone 3G says that her speed has returned and that her iPhone 3G is responsive once again. Cool!
We even got a bonus HDR feature to allow everyone with iPhone running iOS 4.1 to take better shots that are more properly exposed in challenging lighting situations.
One step backwards
It isn't all good news for me. Apple for some reason took a feature away in this update that I had become accustomed to. I was quite bummed to find out that in iOS 4.1 you no longer have a one-button option of assigning a ringtone for a specific contact. I think it was in iOS 2.0 Apple added the ringtone option right on the main display of a contact so that you could assign a ringtone WITHOUT having to edit the record. For whatever reason in iOS 4.1 we're now back to having to tap Edit, scroll down and assign a ringtone that way.
While this doesn't sound like a big deal (and it isn't if you're only doing one here and there), it's a big deal when you want to assign ringtones to several different contacts. I have about 100 contacts that I assign ringtones to. Granted once it's done, you usually don't have to do it again. Also even in iOS 4.1 once you assign a ringtone the ringtone option DOES appear on the main display of that contact from here on out if you want to change it. However, if you ever need to refresh your contacts as I recently had to do (to solve a missing contact photos bug) by turning OFF MobileMe syncing and then turning it back on, all of your custom ringtone assignments will be lost and you'll now have to tap twice as many times to reassign them. Ideally I'd love to see the option of assigning ringtones to "Groups" of contacts as this would make it much faster for me to assign the ringtones I want to specific groups of people (ie. friends, coworkers, family, etc.)
Apparently Apple also removed over the air syncing of notes from the iPhone 3G and iPod touch 2nd gen.
The Bottom Line
Overall I'm ecstatic with the fixes in iOS 4.1. However, I do wish that it didn't take features away for no apparent reason (or at least give us an explanation). If you're on iOS 4.0.x you definitely want this update! It will make your iOS device perform better overall. I also can't wait for the iOS 4.2 update for iPad coming in November!