Jobs: iPhone 2.1 update due Friday, fixes 'lots of bugs'

Apple CEO promises it will mean fewer dropped calls, fewer app crashes

Apple will release an iPhone update Friday that CEO Steve Jobs promised "fixes lots of bugs," including the dropped call problem that's plagued users since July.

User reaction was mixed on Apple's support forum, where some took a wait-and-see approach while others remained skeptical.

Near the end of Tuesday morning's roll-out of new iPods, Jobs announced iPhone v2.1's delivery date and gave a quick overview of its contents.

"It's a big update," Jobs said. "It fixes lots of bugs. You'll get fewer call drops, you will get significantly improved battery life for most customers. We have fixed a lot of bugs where [when] you have a lot of apps on the phone you're not gonna get some of the crashes that we've seen." He also said that iPhone 2.1 would dramatically cut the time it takes users to synchronize their phones to iTunes.

Users have complained about all four problems Jobs mentioned, but the one that has gotten the most attention from both customers and the media is the dropped-call issue.

Within days of the July 11 debut of the iPhone 3G, US buyers began posting messages on Apple's support forums detailing weak signal strength -- even in areas supposedly covered by AT&T's 3G network; slow download speeds; and frequently-dropped calls.

Three weeks ago, Apple released iPhone 2.0.2, an update the company said improved the phone's 3G functionality, a claim most users disputed. Since then, Apple has been hit by at least two lawsuits seeking class-action status that accuse the company of deceiving customers by claiming the iPhone reliably connected to 3G networks.

Reaction to the news of the impending iPhone update was mixed on Apple's support forum.

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Gregg Keizer

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