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iPhone OS 2.1 might be coming soon

A beta version of an update to Apple's iPhone operating system is making the rounds with apparent GPS-related improvements but no sign of a 3G reception fix.

The new iPhone 2.1 firmware will apparently improve the iPhone 3G's GPS performance. CNET Networks

A new firmware update for Apple's iPhone 3G is said to include improvements for its GPS functions, but it's not clear whether that software will do anything to correct the iPhone's reception issues.

GearLive reported Thursday that Apple has provided a beta version of the firmware, which is being called iPhone OS 2.1 beta 1, to developers in its program. The new software is said to provide additional features for developers who want to use the iPhone's built-in GPS chip.

If that's the case, it would alleviate some of the concerns raised by David Pogue in his review of the iPhone 3G about the GPS capabilities, that the iPhone couldn't be used for turn-by-turn navigation. But while that would be a nice improvement, that's not the main concern on the mind of iPhone 3G users.

Posters in the growing thread on Apple's discussion board complaining about iPhone 3G signal issues were excited by the possibility that the new firmware update might correct their problems. Apple has not acknowledged any issue with the iPhone 3G's ability to maintain a connection to worldwide 3G networks, but complaints have been pouring in about a higher-than-usual frequency of dropped calls and weak signals in areas that accommodate other 3G phones without problems.

As of this moment, it doesn't appear that anyone has uncovered any networking-related fix in the new firmware, but it hasn't been live for very long. If anything pops up, we'll let you know.