"The [iPhone] 2.1 software update is a big update. It fixes lots of bugs," said Apple chief executive Steve Jobs. "You'll get fewer call drops; you'll get significantly improved battery life for most customers."
In addition, Jobs said the update will patch a number of bugs related to third-party App Store applications, namely crashes experienced by those users who've installed a large number of apps. Backing up to iTunes will be "dramatically faster," he added.
Meanwhile, some of the other "great new performance enhancements" that Jobs alluded to, but did not describe, are being discovered by first-generation iPod touch owners who've just installed iPod touch 2.1, which will be very similar to Friday's free iPhone Software 2.1 update.
One AppleInsider forum member remarked that he was "blown away" by the speed at which App Store applications are able to update themselves after applying the 2.1 update. The process seemed to have sped up fivefold, he said. What's more, icons of updated applications now retain their pre-set position on the Touch's home screen, rather than being thrust to the end of the home screen, where they previously needed to be forcibly repositioned by the user.
Another forum member notes that a second line of information, containing artist and album info, is visible when viewing songs. The responsiveness of the iPod application has also seen improvements, and a longer scrub bar makes it easier to scan through songs, he said. The app's 'shuffle' and 'continuous play' buttons have also been repositioned.
Separately, Wired has highlighted changes to the iPod app's Podcast manager. A completely filled blue dot next to a podcast subscription serves as a notification that a new episode is available, while a half dot means that a user hasn't finished listening to a particular episode.
AppleInsider will provide full coverage of Apple's iPhone 2.1 software on Friday afternoon.