So we all know by now that the new software is out and it promises better battery life and signal strength and so on. We wanted to see the new changes for ourselves and see any differences that might be unmentioned within the ever sparse update documentation Apple usually provides.
Usability changes: The iPhone’s response time when opening applications is immediately noticeable. When you touch something on the screen it responds almost as you touch it, and this was true of the original iPhone software. The keyboard responds much more quickly now and allows you to type like you should be able to. Also, there used to be a delay when on the phone screen and you would change from Favorites to Recents and so on. This has been resolved and now it changes like you would expect.
Graphical Changes: The first change was noticed was the 3G icon has now been altered to just 3G without the old box that surrounded it before. This also holds true for when you are on Edge, now there is just an E. Not a big deal, but a change nonetheless. One of the features now includes more information when you are viewing songs. If you are on the song view, just under that is the name of the album and the artist to the right of that. The unplayed videos and podcasts still show a blue circle next to them and now played, but unfinished songs show the circle only half filled.
Feature Updates: We all know now that Apple added the Genius playlists to iTunes/iPod Touch and this extends to the iPhone as well. Enable the feature in iTunes and now your songs can have a Genius playlist right on the iPhone. Once you sync, you can click on the album art which brings up the scrubber. Within the scrubber view is the Genius Atom. Touch the Atom and you can get your 25 song playlist generated immediately.
Security Updates: There are numerous fixes for the passcode lock bug mentioned in the past few weeks, but here we will mention the two that you can see. Within the settings is a new feature for those who passcode lock their phones. If you want you can now have all of your data erased should Someone attempt to break into your iPhone and fail 10 times. You also have parental control options which allow the ability to turn off the camera, which I am sure Apple added to prevent leaks like our leaked Nano pictures from Kevin Rose.
Other Updates: If you have the original iPhone headphone adapter you can now not only click once to pause, double click to go to the next, but a triple click will jump back a track. Also, SMS will now alert you up to 2 times if you have not viewed your SMS Text message.
Additionally the iPhone 2.1 software appears to have fixed many of the stability problems of the past updates. Apple also claims that the update should increase battery life significantly. I think we found one way they have helped this to come to fruition. When using Safari at home we noticed that once switching to safari, the connection jumped from Edge to WiFi immediately. In the past the WiFi would stay connected and this decreases battery life. We are sure there are many more tricks Apple is using and we certainly hope they work. The signal strength also seems improved, however my home WiFi connection seemed decreased. Could this be where they put more power? The signal was still strong enough to allow a fast connection.
The 2.1 update is a much needed revision back to the original iPhone and how user friendly and responsive it was, but with the added benefit of applications and 3G. If you have an iPhone and are holding out for some reason, the benefits far outweigh any reason you would want to hold off.