Apple is, of course, holding a press conference today to address the growing public relations bruhaha surrounding reception issues with the iPhone 4, but the company has also pushed out updates to its iOS mobile operating system for both the iPhone and its iPad tablet device. iOS 4.0.1 for the iPhone contains Apple’s new signal strength indicator, while iOS 3.2.1 for the Apple iPad addresses Wi-Fi issues and a selection of other problems.
Apple’s iOS 4.0.1 update applies to the iPhone 3G, 3GS, and (of course) the iPhone 4. The update is comprised of a complete new version of the iOS operating system (almost 600 MB), rather than just a small patch, but the only apparent chance from iOS 4 is a new signal strength indicator: Apple announced earlier this month it was “stunned” to learn it has been calculating signal strength incorrectly, and that its original formula over-represented the amount of signal available at certain locations. iOS 4.0.1 uses what Apple says is a more accurate signal strength indicator, and that in turn should help address the degree of signal loss users perceive if they hold an iPhone 4 with the “grip of death” that attenuates reception. The update is now available via iTunes; users can connect their phone to a Mac or PC, then use iTunes’ “Check for Updates” function to get the software.
Early reports from users with the iOS 4.0.1 update report that it indeed reports lower levels of signal strength in some areas where iOS 4.0 reported strong signals; however, users can still cause significant drops in data and voice reception by holding the phone so their hand spans the lower left antenna port.
Apple has also just seeded an iOS 4.1 beta to iPhone developers.
iPad users will be happy to know Apple has also released iOS 3.2.1 for all iPad devices—and the update is far less controversial. iOS 3.2.1 contains a fix for Wi-Fi connection issues that emerged shortly after the iPad shipped; the update also fixes a copy-and-paste problem in PDF documents, improves video performance, helps the iPad’s VGA video output work better, and adds Bing as a search engine option for the iPad’s built-in Safari Web browser. The iOS 3.2.1 update for iPad is available as a free update; users just connect their iPad to a Mac or PC, then choose iTunes’ “Check for Updates” function.