What is going on with the iPhone 3.0?

On Tuesday, Apple gave a preview of the iPhone OS 3.0 Software. Let me say this: It was impressive! The iPhone 3.0 update brings with it greatly increased functionality including Cut, Copy and Paste as well as many more innovative and exciting features! Slated for release sometime “this summer,” the new update will be free for all iPhones and $9.95 for the iPod Touch.

Greg Joswiak, Vice President of Worldwide iPod and iPhone Product Marketing and Scott Forestall, Senior Vice President of iPhone Software, hosted the event with Forstall spending the majority of the time divulging the details of the software upgrade.

iPhone 3.0 boasts more than 1000 API’s (Application Programming Interfaces) that developers use to increase functionality of the device.

It also delivers more than 100 new features for the customer.

Some of the increased functionality that is available to developers now include:

In App purchases

  • Support for subscriptions
  • Additional game levels
  • Purchasing new content within the application itself

Peer to peer connectivity

  • Automatic discovery
  • Bluetooth (without pairing) can be used for sending and receiving information
  • Not just for gaming

Accessory support

  • Custom applications that support specialized hardware
  • Using the dock connector or wireless bluetooth technology

Broadened support for Maps

  • The ability to embed google maps service into third party applications
  • Pan and zoom controls
  • Custom annotations
  • Current location
  • Geocoding
  • Turn by Turn direction (with a caveat of “BYOM: Bring Your Own Maps”)

Push Notifications (Yes the very same feature promised to us last year!)

  • Background application processes drain battery and decrease performance of the application in the foreground, hence the rationale for a unified push notification service for all developers
  • Notifications include a badge, customizable tones or text alerts
  • It is optimized for mobile networks
  • Now scalable to the extent Apple didn’t forsee when they first announced the service (ESPN sends out 50 million alerts per month to its user base)

Also briefly mentioned support for:

  • In-app emails
  • Proximity sensor
  • iPod library access
  • New standard for streaming audi and video over http (goes through firewalls)
  • Shake and many more

A few select developers were asked to showcase their applications using iPhone 3.0 after only 2 weeks of hands-on experience with the new OS.

Meebo profiled the use of push notifications that was a crucial component for developing for the iPhone platform

Electronic Arts showcased their SIMS 3 game. The use of the iPod media library and in-app purchases were highlighted

Oracle was able to enhance two of the five apps available on the App Store to utilize push notifications and in-app email for more timely and convenient communication for better productivity

ESPN showed off the new media player that automatically optimizes itself to the available bandwidth, in other words- your media will know what connection you have (WiFi, 3G, Edge) and reconfigure itself to give you the best experience.

Lifescan, a Johnson and Johnson company, demonstrated a custom application that integrates directly with a glucose meter used for obtaining blood sugar readings for diabetic monitoring. They further showed that blood sugar control can be enhanced by using this technology, thereby limiting or avoiding serious complications from diabetes.

ngmoco:) displayed the use of push notifications, in-app purchases and peer to peer gaming

Smule introduced a new instrument called Leaf Trombone and demonstrated peer to peer connectivity by playing a duet of Phantom of the Opera using the Leaf Trombone

Additional user enhancements that will be available with iPhone 3.0:

  • Cut, Copy and Paste function (Finally!)
  • Landscape views for all key applications including Mail, Notes, Messages
  • MMS with ability to send, forward or delete individual messages, contacts, audio files, photos and locations
  • Voice Memo application that can run in the background and records audio which can be edited (trimmed) and share via email or MMS
  • Calendar gains the ability for sharing via CalDAV and subscriptions
  • Stocks application now sports landscape view, news, headlines and details of companies
  • Spotlight search that can now allow for searching within Apple’s key Apps such as Mail (can also search on IMAP servers if the email is not available directly on your iPhone) and a global search function located to the left of the first home screen that can search through all your emails, messages, contacts, applications, etc.

All these enhancements are truly amazing! No other cell phone or mobile platform has been able to duplicate what Apple has done in delivering additional features and functionality.

It’s nice to know that when you purchase an iPhone or iPod Touch, the discovery and progression of creativity and usefulness doesn’t stop at the cash register. For no money or a nominal fee, boatloads of new features will be available to 30 million (iPhone and iPod Touch users) in the next few months.

Remember that what was announced were only a small fraction of the enhancements that will be arriving in the next few months. In addition, the original iPhone and iPod Touch may not be able to take advantage of all the features in iPhone 3.0 due to hardware differences from their iPhone 3G and 2nd generation iPod Touch cousins.

Also, the WWDC, which is Apple’s Developers Conference that is usually scheduled in June each year, may bring with it announcements of new iPhones or a new category of devices that are more like touch screen tablets (ie. MacTablet). This OS software will be the basis of those new devices, so the functionality will be greatly increased, probably more so than what Apple let on in their preview.

Whatever is yet to be unveiled is sure getting a lot of buzz and excitement surrounding the imminent release of iPhone 3.0!

What are your thoughts on the latest preview? Do you plan to wait a bit longer in purchasing the iPhone 3G to see if new iPhone hardware is announced?

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