Did Apple Deliver? iOS 4.1 Review (iPhone 4)

Last week Apple announced the impending iOS 4.1 for (iPhones and iPods) along with (iOS for iPad). The update is supposed to fix numerous bugs reported such as the proximity sensor not working properly on iPhone 4, connecting to iOS4 devices via Bluetooth, and iPhone 3G performance with iOS 4. A number of new features were also announced. So did Apple deliver the fix you’ve been waiting for?

With my new iPhone 4, I’ve experienced every issue reported except the Bluetooth problem. But, I was more anxious to get the iOS 4.1 update for no other reason than to look forward to a jailbreak in the near future. The Next Web answered my prayers and my iPhone 4 is now running iOS 4.1. But it’s not a pretty outlook for owners.

Proximity Sensor: Not Fixed

iPhoneProximitySensorThe proximity sensor is the most annoying problem on my iPhone 4. The proximity sensor is supposed to note when your face is near the phone and shut’s the screen off. This helps you avoid accidently touching a button while on a call. Unfortunately, some iPhone 4’s proximity sensors are not functioning properly. My own accidently run-ins include:

  • Calling my former dorm director while on the phone with my Dad
  • Pressing the number pad in the middle of several calls
  • Putting myself on mute
  • Ending calls

Now I use my earphones as often as possible. However, even that solution comes with its own set of problems thanks again to the proximity sensor! Oh look, it’s a catch-22. So very Apple like.


HDR photos are a hit or miss depending on the scenery. In well lit settings, they can help level out saturation. Objects that are blocked out of pictures because of too much white light, can be corrected in HDR mode. I noticed words in images with a lot of sunlight in normal shots, were more visible and clear in HDR mode.

In bad lighting, HDR may not be the best option. Images appeared washed out with a blue tint over them. Under no circumstances should you expect to take HDR photos with moving targets. Pictures become downright ghostly. Flash is also disabled when HDR is on.

View album



I have a pair of Cardo Bluetooth headphones (Amazon affiliate) and syncing via bluetooth with my iPhone 4 was easy. I walked about 20ft away with put 2 walls in between the Cardo’s and my iPhone 4 before experiencing problems.

I did experience a static noise when first pairing the headphones and my iPhone 4. Once I started playing music the noise stopped. I haven’t experienced any noise since. If you’re having bluetooth problems now, you can feel confident that iOS 4.1 may fix your problems.

MMS Bug Resolved

Gizmodo’s reported MMS bug from iOS 4.1 beta seems to be fixed. I haven’t noticed any MMS issues. However, my overall experience with iOS 4.1 leaves a foul taste. I’m still plagued with the same problems.

Other features that I haven’t had a chance to play with and will come with iOS 4.1 are:

  • HD video uploads over WiFi
  • TV show rentals
  • Game Center

TV show rentals are out of the question for me. However, I do look forward to using HD video upload over wifi and Game Center when iOS 4.1 becomes available to the public tomorrow.

Overall Rating: C- (try again in November)

All in all, the update is disappointing for me. It seems like Apple gets so focused on making this thing an all-in-one that it’s losing the most important part of the equation: It’s.A.Phone. Hence the latter part of its name, right?

Adding fuel to the fire are the 13 deteriorating AT&T towers in Brooklyn that are “assigned” without a realistic estimated completion date. My call to AT&T to check on this was randomly ended before I could reach customer service.  I really wish Apple would part ways with AT&T and go back to the old iPhone design. If nothing else, my iPhone 3G still worked as a phone even with iOS 4.

Better yet, Google can you please improve the tools you’re giving Android developers and really gun for building an incredible App Store?

Corvida Raven

A natural pioneer at grasping the rapidly changing landscape of technology, Corvida Raven talks tech in plain English on SheGeeks.net.