Apple issues iOS 4.1 beta update to developers

Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) released its iOS 4.1 beta update to registered iPhone developers. Tweaks include more accurate calculation and depiction of the smartphone's signal strength (based on a formula recommended to Apple by operator partner AT&T), a revamped Game Center application (Apple's forthcoming matchmaking and leaderboard service for iPhone gaming), spellcheck disabling and the addition of favorites to the new FaceTime video calling feature. Apple evangelist Michael Jurewitz first tweeted confirmation of the iOS 4.1 beta on Wednesday afternoon--the update is available for download via the iPhone Dev Center.

During a press conference Friday, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said the company would offer the more than 3 million customers who purchased an iPhone 4 a free case that he promised would improve the smarphone's much-discussed reception issues. Jobs spent much of the press conference defending the design and performance of the iPhone 4, contending that other phones suffer from the same reception problems; he explained the problem is due to physics, and argued that the iPhone 4 antenna issue has been blown out of proportion by an overzealous tech media, stating that just 0.55 percent of iPhone 4 users have called Apple's customer care department about the phone's antenna or reception. Further, he said the iPhone 4's return rate is 1.7 percent--far lower than the iPhone 3GS's 6 percent return rate. Jobs added the iPhone 4 drops less than one additional call per 100 than the 3GS, a figure he said he suspects is due to the larger percentage of iPhone 3GS devices being shrouded in a case.

"So here's what we're going to do to make our users happy," Jobs said. "The first part is the software update, that fixes the way the bars report and other bugs, that's out now. Second, people said the bumper fixes everything... ‘Why don't you give everybody a case?' Okay--we'll give you a free case."

For more on the iOS 4.1 beta update:
- read this article

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