As promised earlier this week during the "Let's Rock" press event in San Francisco, Apple has delivered the new 2.1 firmware update for the iPhone and iPod touch. Unlike previous updates that are described simply as bug fixes, this one includes a list of specific improvements including most notably better call reception and fewer dropped calls, improved battery life, and better performance when viewing or searching contacts.

Addressing recent concerns, Apple also closed the security loophole that allowed certain data to be accessed by bypassing the passcode, and introduced a new option to erase the phone's data after ten failed attempts to enter the code. Some other features include Genius playlist creation, faster installation of third-party applications, and it's now much faster to backup to iTunes.

It's definitely a worthy upgrade, though one can't help to think that this should have been firmware 2.0. To get it simply connect your iPhone or iPod touch to your computer and click Update in the iTunes Summary tab. The update is free for all iPhone users and iPod touch owners who already bought the 2.0 firmware.