The event of the day started out with Steve Jobs introducing his “partner in crime,” Steve Wozniak, who was in the audience. After a quick welcome, Steve Jobs started with a recap of new Apple Store retail locations including Paris, China, and London. The London store marked the 300th Apple Store and they are now in 10 countries. The foot traffic volume is amazing. Apple now sees on some days over a million total visitors combined coming through their stores. Another interesting stat — over 50% of Macs sold in Apple Stores are still to new Mac users, aka Switchers. A stat that has amazingly held for years.
120 million potential Angry Birds players.
Next up for the day is a recap on how iOS is doing. Steve took pride in noting that there are over 230,000 new iOS activations per day. This does not include upgrades. This goes well over and above the Google quoted 160,000 Android devices activated every day. That brings us up to a total of over 120,000,000 active iOS devices. That’s a staggering number for a new platform that is not even 4 years old.
How about some stats on apps? There have been over 6.5 billion apps downloaded so far. That’s over 200 downloaded each and every second. Also quoted was that the App Store recently surpassed 250,000 applications available, which is a number we’ve been tracking over at 148Apps.biz App Store Metrics page.
We’ve all been waiting for 4.1 for some time now, and Steve Jobs, seemingly sensing our anticipation, started the keynote with the iOS 4.1 announcement. As Steve would say, “I think you’ll like it”.
Bugs Fixed- Unlike some of the rumors that were floating around online the last few days, 4.1 will fix all of the issues that were plaguing the iPhone. The proximity sensor issue is taken care of, the bluetooth issues are fixed, and 4.1 will make the iPhone 3G not seem like it’s quite as outdated.
HDR Photo – HDR Photo looks to be a really cool new photo feature that will make your photo’s even nicer on the iPhone. Instead of just taking your standard, whitewashed or overly dark pictures, HDR photo will take 3 pictures at once, an underexposed one, an overexposed one, and the standard one. In a bit of Apple magic, it blends the three together to make your photo super pretty. Whitewashed and overly dark photos will magically become good looking, details that you never knew existed will pop up in your photos, and we will see world peace in 2011. Maybe I got a bit excited there.
GameCenter – GameCenter, Apple’s attempt at unifying social gaming on the iPhone, looks to be far better than I expected. They didn’t go into too many details, but unlike the current social gaming networks, Apple’s GameCenter can push game invites straight to your phone. That’s right, no emails for game invites, no going into silly websites to see what friends are playing what, just a solid push system. Jobs made a funny quip that if you don’t have any friends, GameCenter will auto match you up with other people who are on a similar gaming level.
I can’t believe I am saying this, but I’m pretty excited for GameCenter.
4.1 will be out next week, so be ready for some GameCenter invites from all of us here at 148Apps as soon as it launches.
Also announced in the keynote was 4.2, which will finally bring all these cool features to the iPad. Poor iPad users have been waiting far too long to get folders and multitasking, but all they have to do is wait a bit longer.
Also included in 4.2 is AirPlay and wireless printing.
Wireless printing does exactly what it says, finally allowing your iDevices to print from any printer in your wireless network. Will business users (people stuck on BlackBerry) finally stop complaining that iDevices aren’t business savvy? Probably not.
AirPlay is the new redux of AirTunes, allowing not only music to be streamed, but video too. Now I guess college party hosts around the nation will start mixing videos instead of play lists…. oh the 21st century.
4.2 will be out on the iPhone, the iPod Touch, and the iPad in November.
Up until a few weeks ago, I was running on an iPhone 3G, a task that really wasn’t so bad until I upgraded to 4.0. I held out for many weeks, but was eventually sucked in by my phones need for folders. There were just too many pages of apps to go through, and I really didn’t want to go and delete all of them.
4.0 though was a nightmare. It worked well at first, but then after a few days was painfully slow, causing my phone to crash when doing even the most simple of tasks. Games that were already pushing the phones limits turned into digital sludge. Even though Apple had taken away some of the 4.0 features on the 3G that people wanted the most, the phone, post-upgrade, was a real pain in the rear.
People all over the web were up in arms, saying stuff like, “DON’T UPDATE YOUR iPHONE 3G TO iOS4!” (found here) and “You will be sorry…” (here).
MacRumors.com reports that Steve Jobs himself responded to a recent complaint. the upset user stated that, “I’ve waited patiently through 4.0.1 and 4.0.2, looking for a fix that will make my phone work again. I’ve read the forums that advise me to jailbreak my phone or use some other method so I can downgrade back to a version of iPhone 3, however I’m not prepared to use a method that is not supported by Apple.”
The response from Jobs was simple,
“Software update coming soon.
Sent from my iPhone”
Hopefully this means that 4.1 is coming out really soon, and that my old iPhone 3G will be fast again. I’ve since moved on to the lovely iPhone 4, but would be more than happy to pass the old unit off to someone else once it works at a serviceable speed.
Let’s face it, iOS 4.0.1 is looking a bit long in the tooth. After suffering for the last 20 days (I know, the horror) without a new update, Apple has shipped beta 3 of iOS 4.1 to developers just a week after the previous beta. The usual beta cycle speeds up near launch, and with beta 2 only lasting for a week, the Apple fanboys are pining for the release.
What will it do though, and why is it 4.1 instead of 4.0.2?
Well, there are two answers to that. The first answer is painfully obvious. I know, and Apple knows, that people don’t get very excited over x.x.1 increments. That’s like getting a penny raise at your quarterly review. We also know that Apple never gets to x.9 of a piece of software, they always end up transitioning after x.4 or so, so why waste the extra numbers?
The second answer is that it includes a bunch of new features, one of which Apple hopes may change the way you play games forever (that may have been a bit dramatic).
Game Center is Apple’s answer to all of the different mobile X-Box Live clones that are infesting the App Store. Having to remember login info for Openfeint, Plus+, Crystal, and whatever else there is out there is maddening, so having a unified game center will be great. According to Apple, Game Center will let you “invite friends to play a game, start a multiplayer game through matchmaking, track their achievements, and compare their high scores on a leader board”.
It all looks very similar to the rest of the game portals, but if everyone jumps on board, it will be nice to only have to manage one system. Maybe then I’ll know what “Level 15 Experienced” means in a game, because right now my Plus+ ranking means nothing to me. I don’t even know what games are on the network!
I have to say though that I’m not very excited about the design of Game Center. To me, it looks a bit like a cheap gymnasium rather than a cool, clean place to challenge your friends. Maybe it’ll grow on me.
Unfortunately, as was discovered earlier today, Game Center was not included on iDevices older than the 3GS on beta 3, meaning that the millions of people that haven’t upgraded yet will probably be left out of the party. “Upgrade or die!” says Apple (in my daydream). Complete unification of the game centers will have to wait until everyone has bought a new phone.
The proximity sensor has been a real problem thus far on the iPhone 4 for some users but it seems to have been ignored because of Antennagate 2010. Every once in awhile, when you are on the phone, the proximity sensor just stops working and your face starts hitting all the buttons on the screen. It’s not too big of an issue when it just hits mute or something, but dropping a call due to your face is ridiculous. We already have enough issues with phone reception.
Fortunately, according to Macrumors, word is out that the sensor has been fixed. Thank you Apple.
This video, with its dreamscape music, is almost haunting. It’s like the iPhone 4 has a mind of its own!
Bluetooth AVRCP Support
I admittedly don’t use my phones bluetooth a lot, but apparently when you do, peripheral devices, such as your cars dash, can only control the iPod volume, and not do simple things like changing tracks. With the addition of AVRCP though, you should be able to control song changing through the buttons in your car, not just the ones on your device.
In case you are one of the parents who decided that your 10 year old should get an iPhone 4, Apple has included parental controls that deactivate FaceTime altogether, from in the call and from the Contacts app. No more prank FaceTime chats for the little ones, no sir.
I wonder what happens if they try to use an app like Chatisfication. Could be an interesting experiment for when the update hits.
– According to CNET, there are two major security holes that will be fixed soon (probably in 4.1). Says the article, “One flaw is in the way the browser parses PDF files, enabling the code to get inside a protective sandbox, and the other hole allows code to break out of the sandbox and get root, or control, privileges on the device.” The problem is said to be so severe that CBSNews reports that the German government has issued an official warning, and that they are currently investigating the matter.
– MacRumors reports that you can now turn off spell check… which is helpful for the one person on Earth who doesn’t text.
– Cult of Mac reports that 4.1 fixes the HSUPA upload speed issues. The issue was “a bug (that) limited the upload speeds using HSUPA (High Speed Uplink Packet Access) to about 50-100 kilobits per second — 15 times slower that the maximum possible speeds. Only HSUPA is affected by the problem; download speeds are not affected.”
Well that’s about it for now. Maybe we’ll see “one more thing” once the update goes live to the public, but it would be hard for me to imagine that Apple would throw out a whopper and not tell anyone. And no, the “death grip” issue has not been fixed. Your bumpers will still be arriving in 4-6 weeks.
With iOS 4.1 coming out soon, gamers have been prepping for the launch of Game Center, an X-Box Live-like center for the unification of Apple gaming. Early versions of the 4.1 beta included Game Center support on all devices, but the newest version, 4.1 beta 3, dropped iPhone 3G Game Center support altogether. Apple states that the 3G, as well the original iPhone, are simply too slow to run the service.
I’m not exactly sure about the amount of people that are still using iDevices older than 3GS, but I assume that the number is quite large. Adding no support for older devices could be a huge blow to Apple’s dreams of iDevice gaming unification, but I guess that Apple’s message is clear, upgrade or be left behind.
Or who knows, maybe Apple will bring Game Center back to the older iDevices for the 4.1 launch or a later release. We’ll just have to wait and see.