Late Thursday night Apple iPhone users were treated to a firmware update that addresses an assortment of bugs and adds new features to Google Maps. However, some long-anticipated features are still glaringly missing in action. iPod Touch customers also received an update.
Version 2.2 of the firmwares are available through iTunes. The updates squash bugs that affect the devices’ scheduling for e-mail fetching and improves the stability and performance of the Safari browser.
Both devices are now capable of downloading podcasts over the air using a 3G network or Wi-Fi access, and iTunes will sync the files to users’ computers. Minor usability updates make it possible to turn off auto-correction on the virtual keyboard, and pressing the home button now returns users back to the first home screen.
Notably, Apple tweaked the sound quality of saved voice mail messages for the iPhone and troubleshooted its code to reduce incidents of dropped calls.
I’m a telecommuter and work two jobs from my apartment in Manhattan. Network coverage in my area is exceptional, but I still have to contend with frequently dropped calls. Given how I do not possess a land line, dropped calls affect my ability to work, and any improvement is welcomed.
Some other new features for the iPhone include Street View in Google Maps, as well as walking directions and information about public transportation (where available). Those capabilities were not provided for iPod Touch users, and GPS turn-by-turn directions remain unavailable for either device.
Apple still has not added voice-dialing to the iPhone, both editions of its software still lack fundamental copy and pasting, and iPhone users will have to wait a little while longer for MMS. RIM’s Blackberry Storm has those capabilities.
The latter two shortcomings go hand-in-hand: I received a notification that contains a log-in and password for AT&T’s Web site to retrieve MMS messages, and it is cumbersome to view messages unless I’m at my computer. (So late night photos of drunken friends in compromising situations remain unseen)
The iPhone Dev Team, a group of developers that is working to unlock the phone to additional providers, recommends that iPhone owners that have ‘jailbroken’ their devices hold off on installing the 2.2 update from Apple.