photo.jpgToday the highly anticipated iPhone update was released to the masses. I had been excited about this update because of all of the various rumors circling around on the internet. The biggest rumor was that cut & paste would finally be added with the 2.1 update. There were many more big rumors, and they all had me itching to get my hands on 2.1.

The Update
Updating my iPhone didn’t seem to go as smoothly as I had anticipated. iTunes was forcing a backup to happen before the update, which makes sense. I like having a recent backup before making big changes. But when the backup completed iTunes would disconnect the iPhone briefly which would then cause an error with the 2.1 update process. So, after attempting this twice and wasting a ton of time as it ‘backed up’ my settings, I declined the upgrade, backup up my iPhone via iTiunes and then performed the upgrade. This worked perfectly. Too bad I had already spent an hour and a half trying to perform the 2.1 update the way iTunes wanted to do it.

The Experience
This minor setback didn’t phase my excitement to see what new features may await me with iPhone 2.1. I unplugged my iPhone from the USB cable and slid the unlock graphic to the right. To no surprise it looked the same. But it was already operating faster than it had before. Which is a great improvement. I opened a few applications and noticed that it was consistently opening and closing applications noticeably faster. I am liking this more and more so far. So, I began trying to find the new features.

The Features?
A feature that has sadly been missing with the iPhone is the ability to download your Podcasts without syncing to your computer. I checked out iTunes on the iPhone and the iPod application, but quickly realized that any hope of this update making it into 2.1 was dashed. I guess 2.2 may have this…. maybe. I also realized that there is no cut & paste available in 2.1. Another vital component that is for some reason missing on the iPhone, yet it seems so basic. In fact, I couldn’t seem to find a new feature. After scratching my head I decided to head over to apple.com and see what the official ‘new features’ actually are in 2.1

So, what did they add?
Here is the official list from Apple

  • Decrease in call set-up failures and dropped calls
  • Significantly better battery life for most users
  • Dramatically reduced time to backup to iTunes
  • Improved email reliability, notably fetching email from POP and Exchange accounts
  • Faster installation of 3rd party applications
  • Fixed bugs causing hangs and crashes for users with lots of third party applications
  • Improved performance in text messaging
  • Faster loading and searching of contacts
  • Improved accuracy of the 3G signal strength display
  • Repeat alert up to two additional times for incoming text messages
  • Option to wipe data after ten failed passcode attempts
  • Genius playlist creation

This list seems far from impressive. Certainly nothing to get excited about. Unless you really like the new ‘Genius’ playlist function…. which is pretty cool. So I tested out a few of the fixes.

I installed a few applications and it truly is a much better experience than with 2.0.2. I also noticed that when you upgrade an application it keeps it on the screen you had it placed, previously it would get moved to the first available open slot, often causing me to need to rearrange my applications after one app would be updated.

Essentially I am disappointed with the 2.1 software in regards to any of its ‘enhancements’. It is really just a patch to fix bugs that should have been worked out with a 2.0.3 release but they tossed in a few ‘enhancements’ so they could use the 2.1 label. However, I am grateful that the iPhone is now more stable and operates a bit snappier. I was just hoping for more. Maybe next time Apple. Maybe next time.