Apple will release a new version of iOS4, adding HDR photo capture, fixing iPhone 3G performance, and finally adding Game Center support. The 4.1 update will be available next week for iPhone and iPod touch (though not all models).
Steve Jobs brought out developers from Epic Games to show off a ‘Epic Sword,’ a graphically impressive fantasy slasher they’ve been working on, and demonstrate how Game Center will work for you.
Although the molasses-slow experience many iPhone 3G ran into when they upgraded to iOS4 should be at least improved, we’re also glad to see that embarrassing cheek-dialing might be a thing of the past for iPhone 4 owners: Apple is finally tackling that faulty proximity sensor.
The 4.1 update will also debut HDR photo capture, allowing you to combine photos of varying exposure to create amazing composite images.
The most surprising nugget Apple’s including in iOS 4.1 is the ability to take HDR photos. You’ve seen plenty of these before—photographs with vibrant, unreal colors—but what are they exactly?
You know, photographs. The HDR stands for “high dynamic range”—the range between the lightest and darkest areas of the image—and the idea is that they look more similar to what your eyeball sees than regular photographs.
HDR images are achieved by blending several photos with different exposures—usually at least over-exposed and one under-exposed—to make for a more dynamic scene. Jobs suggested that the iPhone and iPod Touch would be shooting real HDR photos, that is, a combination of a few shots snapped in rapid succession, as opposed to just some software approximation of HDR.
HDR photos have long been maligned as a gimmick, creating over-saturated circus shots. But on a smartphone they kinda make sense—tons of people use apps like Hipstamatic and Camera+ to jazz up their photos, and built-in HDR is bound to give iPhone shots a bit of extra punch.