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Apple Pushes iOS 4.1 To Developers, Antenna Fixed?

Apple on Wednesday made iOS 4.1 beta available to iPhone developers. Apple also provided the accompanying iOS 4.1 SDK. Here's what's new in iOS 4.1.

If you hope that iOS 4.1 for the iPhone is going to fix the iPhone 4's current antenna problems, sorry, but it doesn't. According to early tests of the new software, the iPhone 4's signal attenuation problem still exists after updating to the 4.1 OS. There is, however, a very curious thing going on with the signal bars.

According to screen captures, the signal bars themselves are slightly bigger with iOS 4.1 than they are with 4.0. The smallest bar of the iPhone's signal display (the one on the left) is nearly invisible in iOS 4.0. It is noticeably bigger in iOS 4.1, in fact, based on a visual compiled by Gizmodo, it is twice as big as before. The second bar is perhaps 20% bigger, and the third bar is perhaps 10% bigger. The fourth and fifth bars have not been changed in size.

Let's get something straight: The size of the bars displayed by the phone have no correlation to the actual signal strength. This is flat-out visual trickery, if you ask me, and clearly shows how Apple is trying to change how the problem is being perceived rather than do anything to fix it. Perhaps we'll learn exactly what's going on here from Apple during Friday's iPhone 4 press conference.

That aside, there are few other real changes in iOS 4.1. So far, it appears that the Game Center has been completely redesigned. The old Game Center consisted of a rather drab design, and was dominated by dark colors. The new design is much brighter, and cheerful to look at. It isn't known if there are any new features within the Game Center.

iOS 4.1 apparently includes a new Bluetooth profile, as well. Apple has added AVRCP stereo Bluetooth controls to the iPhone OS Bluetooth stack. Stereo Bluetooth is what transports music wirelessly from a handset to a stereo Bluetooth headset. Stereo Bluetooth, also called A2DP, allows for basic play/pause and the streaming content itself. AVRCP is required, however, if users want to adjust the volume during playback, as well as skip forward and backward tracks. Why this profile was left out of iOS 3.x is a mystery.

The only other thing noticed so far by developers is a slight improvement to the spell-check feature of iOS 4.1, which has gained an "off" button. The FaceTime video chat app had added "Favorites."

That's it.

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