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Testing iOS 4.1 (photos)

CNET shows you the highlights of the latest iPhone and iPod Touch operating system, iOS 4.1.

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Kent German
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HDR photos

Apple's iOS 4.1 update offers new features and bug fixes the iPhone and iPod Touch. It also activates the long-awaited Game Center feature. Follow along in this sideshow for a closer look at the update.

In the camera viewfinder, you'll now see an option for taking HDR photos at the top of the display between the controls for the flash and switching between the front and back lenses.

The default setting is for HDR photos to be on, but you can turn the feature off. The HDR feature is available only on the iPhone 4.

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When you take an HDR photo, the camera will take three shots in rapid succession. One image with normal exposure, another will be underexposed, and the third will be overexposed. You'll hear only one shutter sound during the process.

To finish the process, the device will combine the shots into a single HDR photo. As it works, the screen will darken and a progress wheel will appear.

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The camera will save the image with normal exposure as well as the HDR image to your gallery. Here is the image shot with normal exposure.
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And here's the HDR image.
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Here are both images. Though many low-end camera photos can struggle with cloudy days--often their images are blown out--the iPhone did a relatively good job of handling it.

The HDR photo (bottom) is noticeably brighter than the normal image. It borders on too bright, but it's a better representation of actual conditions than the normal image.

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Both photos will save automatically to your photo gallery. You can see them in the bottom right corner.
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If desired, you can choose to save only the HDR image to the gallery. You can access this option in the Photos section of the Settings menu.
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Game Center

After installing Game Center, you'll see a new icon on your home screen.
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The initial screen of Game Center gives you the option of signing in with an existing Apple account or creating a new account. CNET's Scott Stein offers a deeper dive into "="" rel="follow">Game Center here.
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HDR videos

When conencted to Wi-Fi, you'll now have the option of uploading HD videos directly to YouTube and a MobileMe account. This is another iPhone 4-only feature.
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FaceTime to favorites

With iOS 4.1, you can initiate FaceTime calls directly from the Favorites menu in your phone book.
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TV rentals

Though you've always been able to purchase TV programs, you can now rent select episodes much as you with movies. Individual programs cost 99 cents. Note that you can't rent entire television seasons.
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The Ping option is now available from the main iTunes menu. For a closer look at iTunes 10, check out Jasmine France's review.
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Field Test mode is back!

By dialing *3001#12345#* on the phone keypad, you can see the signal strength in decibels. It's a negative number so the closer it is to zero, the better the signal.
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Welcome to iOS 4.1

You can confirm that your iPhone has 4.1 by accessing General option in the Settings menu.

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