iOS 4.1 offers new photo features, bug fixes

Before jumping into Apple's music and entertainment news, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced iOS 4.1, the latest update for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Jobs shows the new features of iOS 4.1. James Martin/CNET

Though music and entertainment were the of focus of Wednesday's Apple press conference in San Francisco, CEO Steve Jobs devoted a few minutes to the next release of the company's mobile operating system. iOS 4.1 will be available next week for the iPhone and iPod Touch. And in a change from previous OS updates, it will be free for iPod Touch users.

Here's a summary of the new features that Jobs announced. We'll add to this list as we learn of other additions and we'll follow up with a hands-on review after next week's release.

Bug fixes
These will be for the proximity sensor, Bluetooth, and iPhone 3G performance. Though Jobs didn't detail the specific problems that Apple is fixing, we've experienced the latter two issues on the iPhone 4 and previous models. In fact, Bluetooth connectivity with stereo headsets was one of the first issues we noticed with the iPhone 4 the day it went on sale.

I'll be most interested to see how the update will change 3G data reception. As you'll remember, Apple's previous 4.0.1 update from July addressed only how the device displays bars on the signal meter. And that same month, Apple gave away free bumpers after customers complained about problems with the iPhone 4's antenna.

Apple's music event

Here's a brief rundown of what Apple announced at Wednesday's press event.

iOS 4.1
Free update for iPhone, iPod Touch will be available next week

iOS 4.2
To come in November.

New iPods
A major refresh of iPod lineup, including the Shuffle, Nano, and Touch

Ping
New iTunes 10 with social-networking music features

Apple TV
New, smaller cloud-based Apple TV

For more details on these announcements, read our summary post here .

HD video
You'll now able to upload high-definition (HD) video over Wi-Fi.

TV rentals
Though iTunes has long offered movie rentals, iPhone and iPod Touch customers will now be able to rent television programs on their devices.

Game Center
Ever since Jobs first announced Game Center at the iOS 4.0 announcement last April, we've known that the feature was coming later in the year. And now, after five months of waiting, it's finally here. CNET's Scott Stein will take a deep dive into Game Center when it's ready.

HDR photos
Taking a page from the standalone camera world and from the Pro HDR app, the iPod Touch and iPhone will gain the capability to take HDR photos, which stands for high dynamic range. It's an added step that will help you get the best photos, particularly when the light may be challenging.

When you tap the option on the screen, the device's cameras will take three photos in rapid succession. One image with normal exposure, another will be underexposed, and the third will be overexposed. To finish off, the devices will combine the shots into a single HDR photo. You'll find it in your photo gallery along with the normal image.

As I mentioned, we'll follow up with a closer look at iOS 4.1's features when it's released next week. Until then, tell us about your favorite new addition. And if Apple missed something, let us know that, too.

 

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