Apple iOS 4.1 goes live

Apple has released version 4.1 of its iOS mobile operating system bringing some great new features and fixes.

The free download is available now through iTunes and is compatible with any device capable of running iOS4 although some features of the new release will not work on the iPhone 3G, and iPad users will have to wait until November for a compatible release.

Probably the most notable release is Game Center which aims to cement Apple's current standing as the biggest name in mobile gaming by offering game-related services to multi-player gamers.

The new service operates a bit like Xbox Live or PSN in that it brings gamers together and allows people to save high scores and achievements and discover their ranking on a global scale. Game Center-compliant titles can be downloaded from within the App and you'll get live notifications if anyone invites you to a game.

High Dynamic Range photos are another major improvement to the OS. In simple terms, every time you take a photo using your camera-equipped iDevice, the software takes three shots all with slightly different exposures. In high end cameras this is called bracketing and generally requires some off-line digital tinkering to combine the resultant images.

iOS4.1 does all of the magic seamlessly and provides pictures with better overall exposure, with dark shadows and glare being eliminated by the combination of the three shots.

Full blown iTunes got an upgrade to version 10 a few days ago and now the mobile version has been given some love. You can now rent TV shows direct from your Apple device and Apple's social service Ping is in place (although that was added in a manual update a few days ago).

The iPhone 4's camera has always been capable of shooting HD 720p video, but getting that video onto any oyther device has required some hoop jumping. Users can now upload HD videos to either YouTube or Apple's own Mobile Me service straight from the handset.

The update also fixes a number of major and minor bugs, the most important of which os probably a problem with the proximity sensor which is supposed to disable the touch screen when you are holding an iPhone against your earhole.

iPhone 3 users will also be pleased to hear that Apple has reportedly fixed the sluggish performance experienced after upgrading to iOS4.

Other minor features and additions include better Bluetooth functionality, improved parental controls, the ability to turn the spell-checker off globally, a new Cherokee keyboard layout and a redesigned calendar App.

iOS4 has been in the hands of developers for s few weeks now and, as there are no known issues as yet, it's a welcome addition for Apple fans everywhere.