Apple has clarified the compatability of Game Center, the service that allows users to play online with friends and random matches. Unfortunately, it will not be available on the iPhone 3G. This means that 2 tent-pole features of iOS 4 are not available on the device, the other being Multitasking. The feature will be available for the 2nd Gen iPod Touch however. Presumably this is due to the performance issues that have dogged the 3G running iOS 4.
Tomorrow Apple is scheduled to release iOS 4.1 for iPhone and iPod Touch. Now would seem to be a good time to look at what features there are to look forward to and what Game Centre and HDR Photographs are.
Game Centre: Game Centre is the first definitive solution to Multiplayer Gaming on iOS devices. Game Centre allows users to Play with friends, online and offline within games. Users will be able to send an invite to a friend (even if they are not playing the game) or can pit their skills against a stranger of similar ability. The service logs usage stats, supports achievements and leader-boards, all depending on the game. In essence, Game Centre will be the XBox Live of the iPhone.
High Dynamic Resolution Photographs (aka nicer photos!): Strip away the jargon and in essence HDR is all about enhancing photographs. The way it works is your iPhone takes three photos in very quick succession, the trick is the exposure level: one under exposed, one normal and one over-exposed. These are then merged together. The idea behind it is that colours and textures that may normally be washed out or over-shadowed are brought out and the result is a much richer and generally better photograph. What will be interesting is whether this feature will be available on the iPhone 3G as not every iOS 4 feature is available on the device.
Ping: Apple’s new controversial social network within iTunes will be available on iPhone and iPod Touch. Ping allows users to follow artists, get updates on what they are up to and share music with friends; 4.1 brings these capabilities to the iOS. Ping has attracted over 1 million users but has come under criticism due to it’s limitations, for example, no Twitter or Facebook connectivity.
High Definition Video Uploads: As the iPhone and soon the iPod Touch can shoot movies in HD, Apple has added the capability to upload these videos to YouTube or MobileMe. This feature will only be available over a WiFi connection due to the bandwidth required.
The update also brings bug fixes for the Proximity Sensor, Bluetooth connectivity and, at last, a fix to the iPhone 3G’s sluggish speed when using iOS 4. The update will be available tomorrow.