Apple rolls out major software updates for iPhone, iPods [updated] | iLounge News


Apple rolls out major software updates for iPhone, iPods [updated]

Apple today announced the release of iPhone software version 1.1.3, a free update for the device which adds several new features including Maps with location, the ability to send SMS messages to multiple recipients, and the ability to customize the home screen. “iPhone doesn’t stand still—we’re making it better and better all the time,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “We’ve delighted millions of users with this revolutionary and magical product and it’s great to share these improvements with them.” The location feature of Maps uses both cellular and Wi-Fi triangulation technology to provide an approximate location to the application, which also sports a new interface. The iPhone’s home screen now allows users to move and rearrange application icons, and also allows the user to create multiple home screens, which can be filled with Web Clips, direct links to web-based applications and web pages that appear on the iPhone’s home screen alongside the standard applications. The update also adds support for chapters, subtitles, and alternate languages for videos, as well as support for the display of lyrics when listening to music. iPhone software version 1.1.3 is available now through the update feature in iTunes.

Alongside the software update for the iPhone, Apple has also released a similar upgrade for the iPod touch which adds the new features implemented in the iPhone update, including Web Clips, customizable home screen, and the new video and audio capabilities. This update is a free download and is available through the update feature in iTunes. Separately, Apple has announced a paid update for the iPod touch that brings the iPhone’s Mail, Maps (with Wi-Fi triangulation), Stocks, Notes, and Weather applications to the iPod touch; the application pack is available now from iTunes and sells for $20.

Updated Jan. 29, 2008: During the rush of new product and software announcements at Macworld Expo, we accidentally skipped specifically mentioning two software updates that were released alongside iTunes 7.6 — firmware version 1.1 for the iPod classic and firmware 1.1 for the iPod nano (with video). According to Apple, the updates add support for iTunes Movie Rentals and contain unspecified bug fixes, although users have reported Cover Flow and Click Wheel improvements, as well as a new audio bug affecting some iPod classic users. iPod classic firmware 1.1 and iPod nano (with video) firmware 1.1 are both available now through the update feature in iTunes.

Related Stories



Why won’t the update work for me?!

Posted by Will on January 15, 2008 at 2:46 PM (CST)


Wait, the actual update costs $20 for Touch users? Wow, thanks Apple, that’s what I call customer support.

Posted by kino on January 15, 2008 at 2:49 PM (CST)


The more pressing question is: will the new iPhone update break my TurboSim’d unlocked iPhone?

Posted by Don Trammell on January 15, 2008 at 2:53 PM (CST)


WTF!?!  They’re charging for updates now?

Posted by IsLNdbOi on January 15, 2008 at 2:53 PM (CST)


They aren’t charging for the “update” they are charging for specific applications to add to the touch. Though not “optimal” it would be better than nothing. It’s the perfect compromise in some ways. If you don’t want to pay for a full iPhone, but want the apps the iPhone has, you pay a little extra. It makes sense.

For people who are mad about this. Note that some of the software features the new Apple TV has are supposedly going to be back compatible with the original. It may be a “bad” presedance, but you take what you can get. I happen to know that multiple people in the past have said they would be willing to pay a price to have their software upgraded with new features generally not available after new releases, though this isn’t quite the same thing, it kind of relates.

Posted by studogvetmed on January 15, 2008 at 2:58 PM (CST)


I personally think that the upgrade is worth the price.  I love the ability that I can do everything for that the iPhone can do now on my touch and I son’t have a monthly bill.  believe me it worth 20 bucks1 and if you don’t like it you still have a choice don’t upgrade.

Posted by Robert M. Cepek on January 15, 2008 at 3:13 PM (CST)


I do not think that it is right to make the early adopters pay $20 to upgrade their software on the Touch when the new models will ship with this software preloaded.  Those of us with the 16GB models paid as much as an iPhone, so why are we treated as second class consumers?  Perhaps Apple just wants to get back at us for not switching to AT&T so they could get their monthly percentage of the service fees.  I am afraid Apple is becoming a modern day corporation only interested in bottom line, profit margins and making share holders happy and not the customer.  Boo Steve, you have disappointed this Apple fan.

Posted by CptOats on January 15, 2008 at 3:18 PM (CST)


Apple has ALWAYS be interested in their bottom line, but sure.

It is a little odd that new owners will not have to pay. It would have made most sense that it’s a pay for upgrade to the touch in general… That it’s not is certainly not “Apple like” As a non-touch owner I am on the outside looking in. I don’t know how I would feel if I were an owner to be honest. On the one hand I see the complaint and empathize, on the other I don’t see the big deal about charging for such a significant software upgrade (ala the iLife applications that come free with new macs but are a $79 dollar purchase for everyone else)... It’s an interesting duplicity.

Posted by studogvetmed on January 15, 2008 at 3:42 PM (CST)


As I see it, the issue is context. Let’s say Apple offers a suite of programs for the iPhone and iPod Touch, and both users have to pay for it. No problem, right?

Here, though, the iPod Touch user is definitely getting the shaft, in the sense that iPhone users (and I am one) are receiving their updates and modifications for free. It just doesn’t feel right for Apple to dangle that carrot in front of iPod Touch users and say, “Hey, you can have an iPhone, too, folks…just drop another $20 in the bucket and your device can look just like its cellular compatriot.”

I understand the complaints. Apple shouldn’t be chintzy with these things. It’s no skin off their posterior to throw a bone to some of their loyal customers.

Posted by Flippy Hambone on January 15, 2008 at 3:49 PM (CST)


You are right about the iLife, but Apple comes out with an upgrade annually, at best.  The Touch hasn’t even been on store shelves for 5 months and they are already trying to get us to pay for a software update?  I agree with you that it should have been a pay for upgrade to all Touch’s, even the new ones.  Then it would make sense to charge for the “applications” just like you buy word or Final Cut.

Posted by CptOats on January 15, 2008 at 3:54 PM (CST)


In situations like this, people get angry, stomp around and shout “no way will I buy this”...and then eventually they do.  That won’t happen here.  I am quote sure I simply will NOT pay $20 for a suite of apps that obviously should have been free, and which are hamstrung on the Touch anyway b/c of limited wireless access.

Maybe if Apple had thrown me a bone - a friggin’ SOLITAIRE game or something I could actually USE when out of free wi fi range (i.e. 90+% of the time) I would have been tempted.  This, no way.

Posted by Jim G on January 15, 2008 at 4:08 PM (CST)


THIS is BS. That is all I can say. I will be returning the Touch to the retailer I bought it from since it is within 30 days and wait to purchase a new one. Thanks allot Apple. Thanks allot, once again.

Posted by John on January 15, 2008 at 4:16 PM (CST)


Not being an iTouch owner (yet), I agree with studogvetmed.  However, what I’m truly interested in, as other are probably as well, is an increase in the capacity of the iTouch.  What’s the word on that?

Posted by rharse on January 15, 2008 at 5:22 PM (CST)


I think this has to do with the same law that made them charge $2 for the Airport Extreme update (to 802.11n). Because they’re booking revenue for the iPhone over 24 months, they can keep issuing updates that add functionality within that period with no legal hassles. I’m guessing that the accounting for iPods is different, so they have to charge. If you want to argue about how much they’re charging for the update, fine, but you can’t argue the necessity.

@CptOats: You did pay the same as (more recent) iPhone owners. You also got twice the storage capacity that we got for that price. So you can’t use equal price as a gripe point unless we can complain about why Apple isn’t doubling our flash memory. :)

Posted by daverobeson on January 15, 2008 at 6:22 PM (CST)


why cant i find the buton on itunes to download the software?

Posted by schaaking on January 15, 2008 at 6:36 PM (CST)


Remember the $5 fee for activating 802.11n wireless on some laptops that already (secretly) had the hardware? I believe the $20 iPod Touch software upgrade exists for essentially the same reason—the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

This act (established after the Enron fiasco) supposedly prohibits a company from adding unadvertised features to products that have already been sold without drastic consequences to how they do their accounting—it’s about revenue recognition. Apparently, Apple doesn’t want to mess with the paperwork on this, and after the backdating options scandal, I can’t say I blame them.

By the way, this fee doesn’t apply to the iPhone because Apple already accounts for iPhone sales over a period of time (monthly over two years, I believe) rather than all at once (because of the AT&T contract)—so it’s not affected by the accounting rules in the same way.

Jeremy Horwitz wrote a great article about it here at iLounge, and I’ll expect another article or editorial soon on the $20 software upgrade for the iPod Touch. Here’s a link to the older article:

Posted by BJ Nemeth on January 15, 2008 at 7:20 PM (CST)


I should have refreshed the comments before posting—DaveRobeson beat me to it with a brief explanation that I didn’t see when making my comment.  :-)

Posted by BJ Nemeth on January 15, 2008 at 7:22 PM (CST)


The Google Maps location feature isn’t working for me as I roam internationally with my iPhone in Brazil.  I have data roaming turned off and am using WiFi so maybe that’s why although it does show a cell phone signal to Brazil’s Oi network so it must be communicating with a cell phone tower even though it isn’t sending data through it.

Posted by Dyvim on January 15, 2008 at 7:42 PM (CST)


@BJ Nemeth

That’s fine but how do you explain the Apple TV getting a free update, a product released 6 months prior to the iPod Touch and is not subscription based.  If it wasn’t about money, then why not charge a nominal fee ($1 or $2) instead of $20?

Posted by Andrew on January 15, 2008 at 9:05 PM (CST)


@Andrew—I remember reading at some point that the AppleTV was also being accounted for on an ongoing basis (rather than all at once). Perhaps it was in the transcript of Apple’s financial call from a year ago, but I can’t find that at the moment to back me up.

I could be wrong about the effect of Sarbanes-Oxley, and I’ll wait for an article or editorial by iLounge’s Jeremy Horwitz for the real scoop on the $20 update.

One final thought—

If Apple had released this iPod Touch update for free, I imagine a vocal minority of iPhone early adopters would have whined that they only bought an iPhone because the iPod Touch was crippled.

Theoretical whine: “If I knew the iPod Touch would get Maps and Mail a few months later, I’d have never signed a two-year contract with AT&T!” Of course, they might whine anyway, even with the $20 fee.

Me? I’m *very* happy with my iPhone (and have been since I bought it), and I’m looking forward to Version 2 of the MacBook Air.

Posted by BJ Nemeth on January 15, 2008 at 9:31 PM (CST)

Subscribe to iLounge Weekly

Sign up for the iLounge Weekly Newsletter

iLounge is an independent resource for all things iPod, iPhone, iPad, and beyond.
iPod, iPhone, iPad, iTunes, Apple TV, Mac, and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc.
iLounge is © 2001 - 2018 iLounge, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Terms of Use | Privacy Policy