As I had predicted, Apple introduced iOS 4.1 at the iPod event last Wednesday. It is officially scheduled for release on September 9th, but there are ways to download the Gold Master that was seeded to the members of the Apple Developer Program. I am not one — not yet, anyway — but I couldn’t take it anymore.
The installation was extremely simple, with no remote activation or anything like that. This is because the GM is essentially the very same that will be pushed to the masses in a week. I simply pressed the option key while clicking on ‘update’ in iTunes and I got a dialog window to choose the .ipsw file from the disk. After that, it took its sweet updating time and lo and behold, my two-year-old device was running the latest incarnation of iOS.
I am extremely pleased to report that my iPhone 3G has come back to life. After using it extensively, to the extent of purposefully opening all sorts of apps in rapid succession to make it crumble, it stood strong. I can assure you that this is not placebo: it’s pleasant to use again. Most importantly, it doesn’t randomly freeze for a random amount of time in a random fashion in random apps. Sometimes it does take its time when the lock screen comes up (perhaps it does some cleaning when it automatically locks, and it reloads something?), but other than that, it’s completely different from 4.0.x.
Mind you, this is still a two-year-old phone and there have been two major revisions since it came out, so do not expect The Flash in your iPhone (hey! that’s a geeky double-entendre! neat!), but it’s definitely a major improvement. One disappointment stands, though: 3G units just don’t have the hardware to run the Epic Citadel demo, but — once again — is anybody really surprised by that?
The real irony is that my iPhone 3G was such a pain to use in the past couple of months (especially with the annoying freezes) that I honestly can’t even say whether 4.1 makes it as fast as 3.1.2, or if it’s still slower than that. All I know is that it’s faster than 4.0.2, and that’s all I care about.