Apple Inc. updated the software that runs its iPhones on Friday in hopes of decreasing dropped calls, improving battery life and cutting the time it takes to synchronize the device with a computer.

Shortly after Apple made the new software available on its iTunes online service, some users offered positive feedback on Internet forums, saying it appeared the device was getting faster at handling key tasks.

In contrast, an August update that was supposed to improve the iPhones' connectivity to high-speed data networks drew mainly negative responses claiming it didn't work.

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Apple also said the new update "improved accuracy of the 3G signal strength display" — meaning the phone would show more "bars" on the connection meter.

However, the quality of the connection was not necessarily affected by the update.

Cupertino, Calif.-based Apple said the new software will also improve e-mail reliability and reduce crashing applications.

Besides complaining about such bugs — which have given Apple's high-end reputation some relatively rare knocks — iPhone owners have grumbled about missing text messages.

After the update is installed, the device will chirp its text message alert several times.

Shares of Apple fell $4.16, or 2.7 percent, to $148.49 in afternoon trading.