iPhone OS 3.0 Unvailed

Well, I don’t know about you but today March 17, 2009, Apple brought us some major awesomeness all in one fell swoop named iPhone OS 3.0. Apple has been on a roll from day one by living up to their word that all updates will work on all devices and they will continue to update and improve the OS. To date Apple has successfully issued a total of 12 iPhone OS updates, which includes one major OS upgrade going from v1.0 to v2.0. That’s an average of 6 updates within a 12 month period since the iPhone was released pending no minor update release before the 3.0 released. That alone is 10 points in my book for Apple.

Now update number 13 brings us v3.0 of the iPhone OS and lots of goodies. So let’s take a brief look into what we have thus far in no particular order.

For the end-user we have:

  • Spotlight – Apple’s system-wide search feature sits just to the left of the first homescreen. Flicking over to the left brings up Spotlight were you can search all the built-in and third party apps in your iPhone.
  • Bluetooth – A2DP (stereo bluetooth) Now you can purchase those Motorola S9 headphones you’ve been eying for the past 2 years. (iPhone 3G Only)
  • MMS – The SMS app is now replaced by Messages. An all-in-one audio/video and texting app. (iPhone 3G Only)
  • Cut/Copy/Paste – need to post a series of pics to your wordpress blog. Well now you can. Copy and paste a photo from any app to Mail, Messages or other suporting app. The days of remembering long non-active links from email to enter in Safari. Copied and pasted the wrong data, then just shake your device to erase it.
  • Voice Memos – Don’t want to miss a beat at that next lecture. Now you can record the audio and send it via email or the Messages app to listen to again later.
  • Notes Sync – No longer be worried about loosing important notes as you can now sync them to you computer.
  • Sending Photos – Don’t send picture via mail because of the one pic per email restriction. Well, warm up the typing finger because now you can send multiple pictures via Mail.
  • Landscape – Activating landscape mode is now system-wide. Notes and Mail just got a lot easier to view and create.
  • Subscriptions – Have a newspaper subscription you’d like to get on your Kindle for iPhone app? It’s now possible as apps can support subscription purchases. This goes the same for games where users can purchase more levels of a game without leaving the app.
  • Turn-by-Turn Directions – Apps can now use the built-in GPS to access the Core Locations to create turn-by-turn navigation software. Developers will have to license maps on their own due to Apples contractual agreement with Google but with developers like TomTom waiting with already developed navigational software and maps for the iPhone, the wait won’t be long.

For the developer we have:

  • iPhone OS SDK Beta – Now available with 1000 new APIs.
  • In-app purchases – If you’re play a game with only 10 levels you can purchase the next 10 levels without leaving the game.)
  • Peer-to-Peer connectivity – Allow developers to create better multi-user, or multi-player games or information exchange using Bluetooth without the need for pairing.
  • Push Notification Service – Developers can now use Apple’s servers, to trigger badges (e.g. Mail’s unread message counter), custom sounds, and modal alerts (e.g. new SMS message box).
  • Embedded Maps – Lets developers embed Google Maps functionality into their own applications with full interactions, but can also customize annotations.
  • Accessory support – Developers can now interact with “made for iPod” certified accessories via the Dock port or Bluetooth. Let’s see what develops. Hopefully Nike + iPhone Sports Kit is coming soon.
  • iPod Library access – Gives developers access to on-board audio content, so users can listen to their own music, in 3rd party apps.
  • Tethering – Here’s something apple hinted at so let’s see if we have to wait for AT&T Tethering Plan to do so.

As usual all you iPod Touch owners out there must fork over $10.00 US for the upgrade, but considering the added functionality you get that was originally just meant for the iPhone it’s a bargin.
MMS unfortunately is not possible on the original iPhone due to the cell radio used in that device which is different from that of the iPhone 3G. The version of the built-in Bluetooth Stack on the original iPhone is completely devoid of the A2DP feature and apparently can’t be added. For a more detailed thoughts on this check out the The iPhone Blog for all the iPhone goodness and new features revealed though the SDK.

While I think Apple did an outstanding job with this update it’s still not perfect but again no device ever is. No multi-tasking for instance will be a bummer for many but most of the major issues have now been resolved. Now we just have to be patient till it’s release in June. Those of you like myself who still have the original iPhone now have a good reason to upgrade. I’m waiting till June, hoping for an updated hardware release. Like 32GB and a forward facing camera but that’s just me.


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