Apple has announced their iPhone 3.0 software. Their last major update brought downloadable applications to the phone, and their aim with this next release is to bring more features that people want. So what are some things that they have added?
Well first off, Cut, Copy and Paste. Using a double tap you can select text to cut or copy, and double tap later to paste. Simple enough implementation. You can even shake to undo, neat.
Complete device search, or spotlight, and landscape typing are also included, as well as sending and receiving MMS messages. Spotlight is a utility that allows you to search your entire device, including music files and applications. A couple of the other things they are adding include, stereo bluetooth support, notes syncing, shake to shuffle, anti-phishing, auto-fill and YouTube accounts. You can now forward SMS messages as well. I know a lot of people will be happy with these updates alone.
Apple has opened up more options for charging for apps. Devs can now choose to sell subscriptions to their content, or even levels for games in a buffet type manner. The new options for different business models is great for developers, but not as great for users. Basically it enables the devs to squeeze a little bit more money out of app store patrons. I think this is a good thing, however, as it will continue to add more apps to the store, and possibly ones with increased functionality.
The iPhone will be enabled with P2P access that is automatic and simple. With peer to peer access easier, apps will be able to transfer information quickly and easily, broadening the functionality of the phone. We will see how open Apple is with this, but potentially it could be used to transfer photos etc.
Accessory makers will be able to develop applications to use specifically with their accessory, which means that your next Bose speaker dock may have the equalizer controls within an iPhone app, rather than not having them at all. They are even allowing more niche applications like a blood pressure monitor that could be plugged directly into the iPhone to record it and utilize it the information. Also people with diabetes will be able to monitor their glucose levels directly on the phone, with their insulin meter talking directly to their phone via bluetooth. I know one medical professional specifically who would like to use only one device, and is looking for the ideal. This could bump the iPhone up there in the running.
One thing that I would like to see is an attachment for gameboy-like buttons. This would really allow for more in depth gaming on the iPhone. It seems like this now would be possible, though it would probably require support from Apple to work correctly.
Background notifications will be enabled. According to Apple, applications running in the background cause an 80% decrease in battery life, opposed to 23% when the app is merely checking for notifications. One thing they fail to mention is that apps like Pandora will still not be able to run in the background, and have no need for push applications. This will be disappointing for some thought the battery life would be absolutely pitiful if you were listening to Pandora and playing a game. The battery is bad enough already, so I think that Apple was between a rock and a hard place but made the smart decision, though it may not be the popular one.
They are opening up new APIs to developers. What this means is that app makers will be able to use more of the iPhone’s features in their apps. Things like access to the music library, proximity sensor and full use of the GPS (Turn by turn directions anyone?). Another example would be that within a game, you could access your music library as a character, select a song and play the song. EA demonstrated this with their game, The Sims.
One thing notably absent from the official announcements is bluetooth tethering. In a question and answer session, Apple said that they were working with carriers to get this function up and running. They also said that they have no hardware announcements at this time. Bluetooth keyboards will not be supported, and P2P will be limited to devices running bonjour, Apple’s personal flavor.
The update will be available to all iPhone owners for free this summer, probably when the next iPhone comes out. For iPod Touch users, it will be $9.99. I am surprised that they didn’t try to sell the update as part of the next iPhone. That means that whatever they come out with will have to have some serious hardware updates to sell (faster processor anyone?). I don’t believe that anyone has the right to complain anymore about Apple intentionally nuetering the phone, though due to human nature, we will probably start demanding satallite TV on the iPhone around July.