IOS 4.1 Out: Apple Decides iPhone 3G Will Not Get Game Center, iPod touch 2 Does



Both the iPhone 3G and the first generation of the iPod touch have been snubbed by Apple for the Game Center service coming with the just released iOS 4.1 update. Available now through Apple’s iTunes, iOS 4.1 brings a variety of new features to the iOS platform. Both the iPhone 3G and 3GS have been cut from the new HDR photography features that are now accessible on the iPhone 4 with the update, and Apple’s decision to support Game Center on the iPod touch 2 but not the similarly spec’d iPhone 3G will surely rub many iPhone 3G users the wrong way.

What is going on here Apple? Why no love for iPhone 3G users? Are there simply too many of them out there still that you need to peddle the iPhone 4 to? The rumor that T-Mobile will be getting the iPhone 3GS later this year (which I will report about in another posting today) makes me wonder if this is all just a ploy to be able to put out some extra marketing angles. Users of the unlockable and jailbreakable iPhone 3G on T-Mobile’s network are unable to use 3G speeds (limited to 2G due to hardware incompatibilities between iPhones and T-Mobile’s network), so why not give them a little extra push to just go with T-Mobile officially and get 3G speeds with a T-Mobile specific iPhone 3GS?

Game Center is similar to Microsoft’s Xbox Live, with scoreboards, achievements, multiplayer matchmaking, etc. It integrates some social network features as well. I cannot think of a single hardware limitation that would prevent the iPhone 3G of running Game Center since the iPod touch 2 is nearly identical inside (besides the obvious lack of a cellular radio). What is Apple’s game here?

Shame on Apple. I wonder if Apple will eventually change its mind after angry an backlash from customers, or if some enterprising jailbreakers will be able to put Game Center on iPhone 3G’s anyway. Of course, Apple can figure out which devices are really iPhone 3Gs through your iTunes ID and its iTunes program/store, so depending on how far Apple wants to go with this game, it really can keep all iPhone 3G’s out of Game Center if it wants to. Microsoft already blocks modded Xbox and Xbox 360 units from its Xbox Live service, so Apple may consider doing it too in the future.

Remember, the iOS hacking scene is warning against updating to iOS 4.1 yet as it may make it impossible to eventually unlock your iPhone and no jailbreak is currently available. However, it does considerably improve iOS 4 performance on all older iPhone models and adds new features. And make sure to backup as well!

Let me know what you think of this latest development.

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