Apple took the wraps off the upcoming iPhone 3.0 OS this afternoon – along with a new SDK – giving us a look at what we can expect from the software update when it’s available later this year.
iPhone 3.0, according to Apple, boasts over 100 new and updated features. Some of the more basic new features are (finally) Cut, Copy and Paste (text and photos, within and between apps), landscape and landscape keyboard support for all primary iPhone apps (including Mail and Notes), MMS support (including photos, contacts, audio and location), Auto-fill in Safari which will remember login information for web sites, Parental Controls, CalDAV shared calendar support, YouTube account support, updated news feature in the Stocks app, and Notes sync.
Push Notification will also be added to iPhone 3.0. Because the iPhone does not (and will not) allow processes to run in the background (other than the native iPhone applications), Push Notification allows software developers to push alerts to your iPhone to prompting you to launch their app and view new data. This will be particularly useful with third-party messaging applications.
There are two new apps being added to the iPhone with v3.0 of the OS: Spotlight and Voice Memo. Spotlight is an app that will run on a new Home Screen window that’s to the left of the first Home Screen you see when you double press the Home button. This window is Spotlight, a new all-in-one search center for the iPhone which you can use to search through email, notes, calendar entries, apps, music and more. Voice Memo is a new app which allows users to record and edit voice memos, save them, email them or send them via MMS.
Apple is also allowing the iPhone with 3.0 to better communicate with accessories. Hardware accessory makers can now write apps which can interface with and setup and/or control their accessories. This will be particularly useful in that accessories makers will be able to allow the end user to adjust settings on the hardware without having to add a screen, buttons or other controls to the hardware itself.
iPhone 3.0 also adds A2DP Stereo Bluetooth support, meaning that you can finally use Bluetooth wireless headphones and earbuds with the iPhone and iPod touch without having to use a Bluetooth dongle. We don’t know why this has taken so long, but it’s finally coming. We hope that it will work with any Bluetooth audio device and not just the ones Apple will begin selling.
Apple is also un-crippling onboard Bluetooth to allow Peer-to-Peer data transfers. This will allow not only the transfer of contacts and other information to other Bluetooth-enabled devices, but also wireless gaming on the iPhone and iPod touch.
There were also details about changes to the iTunes App Store. With 3.0, the App Store will support subscriptions (for digital magazines, etc.) and other purchases from within apps, a feature creatively titled In App Purchase. With this feature, users can purchase additional elements of an app (levels, content, features, etc.) without having to leave the application.
We’re really excited about the new version of the iPhone OS, but we are a bit disappointed, too. There will be no video recording from the onboard camera added. There will be no turn-by-turn navigation, although Apple will make it easier for third-parties to create and sell navigation apps. There was also no mention of voice dialing capabilities. Better luck next time…
The iPhone 3.0 OS will be available in June or July of this year for the current iPhone, iPhone 3G and iPod touch devices. The update will be free to iPhone users, and $10 for iPod touch users. We also assume there will be a new model of iPhone released on or around the iPhone 3.0 release date.