With the Apple's release today of the iPhone 2.1 firmware update, that's the exact question many people will be asking. Hey, we at TiPb asked it ourselves -- for all of about 0.1 seconds before diving headlong into iTunes, for the good of our readers, of course.

So what's new in iPhone 2.1, is it compelling enough for you to update, and who should avoid it at all costs?

Answers after the jump!

What's in the 2.1 Update

According to Apple, iPhone version 2.1 contains many bug fixes and improvements, including the following: 

  • decrease in call set-up failures and call drops 
  • significantly improved battery life for most users 
  • dramatically reduced time to backup to iTunes 
  • improved email reliability, notably fetching email from POP and Exchange accounts 
  • faster installation of 3rd party applications 
  • fixed bugs causing hangs and crashes if you have lots of 3rd party applications 
  • improved performance in text messaging 
  • faster loading and searching of contacts 
  • improved accuracy of the 3G signal strength display 
  • repeat alert up to two additional times for incoming text messages 
  • option to wipe data after ten failed passcode attempts 
  • Genius playlist creation 

  In addition, there have been some minor UI tweaks, which can be seen in our iPhone 2.1 Gallery.

Who Should Update?

While some may feel, especially given recent history, that best practices are to wait a few days for the guinea pigs... er... early adopters to kick the tires and discover any deal-breaking bugs, if you're already suffering from any of the problems listed above, especially 3G connection issues, dropped called, frequent crashes, or severely long backups, or if the latest security fixes are a must, then bite the bullet and update asap. There's always a risk something might go wrong, but you're likely suffering immense frustration already, and the benefits in that case clearly outweigh theoretical drawbacks.

Who Shouldn't Update?

First and foremost: those of you who have jailbroken your iPhone 3G or 2G, or unlocked your 2G. While the 133t hax0rs over at iPhone DevTeam are Scotty-class miracle workers, they will always lag behind Apple and it might take them a few days, or even weeks, to crack whatever Apple's cooked into the latest/greatest firmware. (Like the iTunes 8 patch they've already let loose). If you're rolling with a jailbroken or unlocked iPhone, stay clear until you're given the all-clear. We'll always let you know right quick when/if there are any developments in that area.

Likewise, if you're one of the 98% Apple claims already has a rock-solid 2.0.x iPhone, and won't absolutely die if you don't get Genius Playlist functionality, like, immediately, then you have nothing to lose by hanging back and waiting a few days to make sure 2.1 doesn't blow up in anyone's faces. Keep reading TiPb, and in a week or so, when confidence levels are high, you can take the plunge -- if you feel like it.

Also, Vista users who haven't yet fixed their iTunes 8 problems are encouraged to do that first, before chancing even greater BSOD wrath with 2.1.

Conclusion

Bottom line, if you're happy with your 2.x (or even 1.x!) iPhone right now, save yourself the potential pain frustration and wait to update until there's a compelling reason to update.

If, on the other hand, 2.x is giving you nothing but headaches, or the 2.1 features are must-haves, go ahead and update now. Things can't get any worse, can they? And ZOMG! you can has Genius Playlists in ur iPhone like nowz!

Whatever you do, let us know. And if you do run into problems, be sure to head on over to our forums and harness a little crowd-sourced help!