Apple on Wednesday released the first major update to its iOS 4 operating system for the iPhone and iPod touch.
Image Gallery: Apple iPhone 4, A True Teardown
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iOS 4.1, as the upgrade is called, offers a number of enhancements over the original. It adds the Game Center social gaming platform, 99 cent TV show rentals through iTunes, and social music app iTunes Ping, which lets users track what songs and artists their friends are listening to.
iOS 4.1 also adds High Dynamic Range (HDR) photography to the iPhone and iPod touch. The HDR feature lets users capture a wider range of light intensity and can combine multiple exposures into a single image.
Beyond adding new features, iOS 4.1 also fixes some noteworthy bugs. It corrects iPhone 4's hyperactive proximity sensor, improves Bluetooth connectivity, and speeds up iOS 4 performance on iPhone 3G.
iOS 4.1 is available as a download from iTunes. It's compatible with iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and iPhone 3G, as well as the second, third, and fourth-generation iPod touch models. iPod 4G, released this week, runs iOS 4.1 natively.
Apple released the original iOS 4 in June, when it shipped iPhone 4. Most notably, iOS 4 brought multitasking to the iPhone. The feature lets users engage in a number of tasks or activities simultaneously. For instance, they could listen to a Pandora music stream while using other third-party apps.
iOS 4 also eased application organization through a feature that lets users create new folders simply by dragging one app icon on top of another of the same category, such as Games. E-mail display was also improved, as iOS 4 offers a unified inbox that pulls together messages from all of a user's e-mail accounts.
iOS 4 also supports Apple's new iAd mobile advertising platform, which lets publishers embed ads within their applications. Unlike with previous iPhone ads, users don't have to leave the app to interact with the ad.