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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!

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  • david

    I have a persistent issue with my iPhone 4 and bluetooth. It constantly drops my bluetooth connection in my car. I never had this problem with my 3GS. I was hoping the 4.1 update would fix it. Though, it did fix the awful sound quality everyone was complaining about I still get dropped connections. I exchanged my iPhone 4 this weekend and still have the same problem.

  • honkj

    interesting, i remembered just today that you had done an article about the Yellow camera bug, and was going to look for your blog to ask about the update, and low and behold i found your new entry in MacSurfers… good timing. and great news.

    now someone tell me why in the world would Apple cripple the ipod touch4 with less of a backside camera than the iPhone4? geesh… always something.

    did they think it would eat into iPhone sales? they get a big chunk of change with each sale of the iPod Touch….

    I don’t care if it had to be thicker by another millimeter… I want a descent camera so i don’t have to carry two devices around….

    and why redesign the wheel, just take the iPhone4, and pull the phone out, and call it a touch, a GPS would have been nice too… and i love the aluminum band, and back glass…

    how much more did they spend to do new tooling for the new design…. when half the parts could have been interchangeable… they should of made all the parts interchangeable… as it stands, it looks like NONE of the parts are interchangeable, not even the front touch screen complicating their manufacturing by a factor of 2…. how much did/does that cost them?

  • “Apple cripple the ipod touch4 with less of a backside camera…”

    honkj, it’s not crippled. That word implies they made the feature worse than on the previous iPod touch. The previous iPod touch doesn’t have any camera. There’s no doubt that any camera is better than none at all.

    But if you think it’s worse, I’ll gladly trade you my 2nd Gen iPod touch for one of those new 4th Gen models, and I’ll just have to suffer with that camera.

  • Rick Minto

    The proximity sensor was an issue for me with iOS 4.0.x. After upgrading to 4.1 the sensor performance is better, but not perfect. For example, if I move the phone away from my head for a second, the keypad will reactivate, and deactivate again, but not quite fast enough to avoid the occasional ear-dial. I suppose I will just have to learn not to hold it wrong! I have a ticket open with the Apple Support Desk; I am wondering if I should try getting my iPhone4 exchanged for a new one. What do you think?