iPhone 3.0 feature roundup

Cory Bohon
C. Bohon|03.17.09

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iPhone 3.0 feature roundup
If you've been listening to all the clamoring on Twitter, or perhaps have seen the updated Apple page, then you know there was an iPhone event today to discuss a new version of the iPhone OS, version 3.0. While you will have to wait until the summer to get the new version (unless you join the developer program), Apple showed off over 100 new features that we're all excited about. iPhone developers are also getting some love from Apple with over 1,000 new APIs.

Some of the biggest updates include:
  • Push notifications will be standard in iPhone 3.0. Apple claims that there was a scaling issue when they first announced this feature last year, with thousands of developers clamoring to use it, so it had to be delayed. Developers will be able to build message, sound, and badge alerts into their applications.
  • iPhone will support cut, copy and paste -- copy text and pictures, then paste them in any application on the device. If you change your mind about the newly pasted data, just shake to display a menu asking if you wish to undo the paste.
  • In-App purchasing -- developers will have the ability to charge a fee from within the application for more levels in a game, magazine subscriptions, eBooks, etc. This solves the problem of the 20 ebook readers that only allow you to read one book each.
  • MMS -- you'll be able to use MMS on your iPhone 3G (yes, 1st gen iPhones will not get the fortune of using MMS due to the use of a different cell radio). The new Messages application will be taking the place of the SMS app and will allow you to send voice memos and pictures to your friends.
  • Peer-to-Peer connectivity -- allows iPhone apps the ability to find other iPhone users over WiFi or Bluetooth. This can be using for anything from gaming to sharing data.
  • Third-party Accessories -- app developers can now access third-party accessories attached to the iPhone. This could allow for developers to interface with their own accessories to create a truly unique experience on the device. One of the demonstrated uses was a prototype blood glucose meter for the iPhone, from a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, which is already getting attention from our readers; it's not for sale yet!
  • Apple will now be allowing applications the ability to get GPS coordinates from Core Location and turn that into software that provides Turn-by-Turn directions for iPhone users. However, due to the terms of use with Google maps, developers will be required to license their own maps for this use (meaning that Turn-by-Turn GPS applications will almost certainly be paid apps). This isn't a problem for vendors like TomTom or Telenav, who already have licenses for their map data.
  • A landscape keyboard option is now available in all iPhone applications, including the infamous Mail.app.
  • Voice memos will allow iPhone users the ability to capture audio and then email it, or send it through the Messages application as a multimedia message.
  • System-wide Spotlight searching is built right into the home screen. To the left of the first home screen, there is a magnifying glass, so by flicking to the left of the first home screen will show this search app. You can search for anything, including mail, music, and notes. There is no word yet on how this will interface with third-party applications.
  • Stereo Bluetooth audio devices are now supported through the use of A2DP technology.
iPhone owners should note that A2DP technology and the use of MMS will not be available on 1st generation iPhones. This is probably due to the iPhone Bluetooth spec used, and Apple has confirmed (during the Q&A session after the keynote) that MMS is not available because of the cell radio used.

iPhone OS 3.0 will be available for regular users "this summer." iPhone developers will be able to get the beta of OS 3.0 sometime today -- Apple is still busy updating their iPhone Dev Center, but we'll let you know when it is available.
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