Ping, Game Center and Streaming Rentals in iOS 4.1

 

 

Apple’s iOS 4.1 update is expected to come out this week and it brings a slew of new features. Ping, Game Center, and streaming television show rentals are all here. Keep reading for the details.

Ping

The biggest new feature in iOS 4.1 is a toss up between Ping, Game Center and streaming video rentals, but I think I have to nominate Ping for the title. A social networking tool, Ping is a revolutionary concept. What could be better than social networking? Social music networking. I’ll avoid the snarky comments on how Apple is going to get us all to buy even more music from them and get us to brag to our friends and associates about our sophisticated tastes and focus on the positive. RIP MySpace.

Ping is an integral part of iTunes X (I know everyone is referring to it as iTunes 10 but hey, iTunes X just sounds catchier) and it of course makes an appearance on iOS 4.1. Open up your iTunes app to get started and find the ‘Ping’ icon down at the bottom. If you have ever used a social networking site, you should be able to figure it out pretty quickly. You follow people to stay updated on what music they like, what they think of it, etc. To edit your profile information right now, you need to use your PC and the full version of iTunes X, but that really isn’t a big deal. The next update to iOS will probably change that. The biggest flaw though, is that you can only discuss music available for sale on iTunes in your country.

Game Center

Game Center is another social network but game oriented instead of music oriented like Ping. When the service rolls out with the iOS 4.1 update later this week, it will feature leader boards, achievements and even matchmaking services for multi-player gaming. Think Apple’s response to Xbox Live. You can of course also post updates, friend people and do the general social media stuff that you have grown accustomed to (and possibly addicted). I will do an in-depth feature on Game Center when it is fully operational.

Streaming Rentals

Streaming television show rentals are making a splash in iOS 4.1 and for only $0.99 an episode, this is a pretty good deal. With 30 days to watch and 48 hours to complete the episode once you start it, you won’t feel the pressure from the 24 hour deadline many streaming services impose. Like Ping, the streaming rentals are accessible from the iTunes app on your iOS device. Standard definition video is only available when using an iPod touch, iPhone or iPad, but if you decide to shell out the bucks for the Apple TV, you can stream in high definition through that. The interface on the iTunes app is a little clunky, but since this is a brand new thing, expect it to get better with each iOS update.

Let me know what you think of the new features once iOS 4.1 rolls out.

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