You can’t up a camera’s megapixel count without a hardware change, but there are a good number of things that can be done in the software to improve photo quality. You can tweak the color filters, or polish up auto-exposure for example. We’re not quite sure what Apple changed in the iPhone 3.0 firmware camera settings, but it looks like it was for the better.
Russian iPhone fan site iPhones.ru took roughly 30 sample shots between two iPhones, one running the old firmware, one on the new. Everytime, they say, image clarity and contrast was improved. Of course, there’s no saying that one of the lenses wasn’t just a bit smudgier than the other, nor can we prove that these guys didn’t take the 2.2.1 shots while riding on a unicycle – but the idea that Apple brushed up the camera’s software settings between releases doesn’t seem too crazy to us.