On Tuesday Apple held the iPhone 3.0 event. The event announced the roadmap for the 3.0 firmware for the iPhone, iPod touch and whatever comes next (maybe a netbook or tablet?) With more than 100 new features, this release is definitely the biggest yet. That’s right; it’s bigger than the 2.0 release, which announced Exchange ActiveSync.
Even with the release of more than 100 new features, the focus of the event was really for the developers. Apple finally launched the push notification service, which coders have been clamoring for since they hinted at it a year ago. Apparently, there were some scaling issues, but the service is ready to go.
Apple decided the push service was the path to pursue because the phone doesn’t allow apps to run in the background. The idea behind that thought is…background apps affect battery life and phone performance. Push notifications allow you to close a chat program mid-conversation but still receive updates. Then, it allows you to reply when ready even though the app is not running.
I was lucky enough to get my hands on a beta copy of the iPhone 3.0 firmware update the day it was released. Early adoption rules! After doing some breathing exercises and removing the grin on my face that went from one ear to the other, I got a chance to play with the new firmware Apple will release in June to bring the iPhone back to the forefront of mobile technology.
It’s strange to run an Apple beta release. It feels sort of the way an out of body experience might feel. It’s very alien to run Apple hardware that has glaring issues. Nonetheless, Apple was able to add hundreds of new features without compromising the useability of the device.
Cut, Copy and Paste
Finally! You can now cut, copy and paste between applications. If you want to text someone a URL from Safari, now you can.
Like OS X, the entire phone is indexed so you can search across almost everything. If you enter a search term, such as “Jack,” your phone searches the iPod and returns your My Morning Jacket tunes, Jack Black’s contact info, emails, notes…anything with Jack in it.
Finally, you can type emails on a big, touchscreen keyboard. The way the Lord intended! SMS and notes too.
Not really a big deal to me, but apparently MMS matters to someone…
It’s kind of funny that a handful of times I’ve thought to myself, “You know this phone is great, but I wish it did [insert feature here].” It seems like everything I’ve thought of, so did they.
This definitely puts the iPhone back out in front in the smartphone race. This includes the Palm Pre, especially with rumors of possible Palm Pre production issues and the patent suit pending by Apple over multi-touch. It was seen as the iPhone’s only real threat (even though it may seal Palm’s fate Palm Pre: Chronicle of a Death Foretold).
It’s only a matter of time before you’ll be able to edit Word and Excel documents, making it a real corporate contender.
For a complete feature list and more than everything you wanted to know about the 3.0 release, check the excellent coverage at Gizmodo: iPhone 3.0 OS Guide: Everything You Need to Know.