I was a bit taken aback and pleasantly surprised by all the features crammed into the 'coming by summer' update. Stereo Bluetooth on 3G and iPod touch, a hint of tethering support if cell providers provision it, and turn by turn navigation, which I think surprised many. Apple had signaled last year that there were lots of problems in providing this feature.
MMS and copy and paste were big features on many users lists, and some had predicted MMS would not make it.
And then there are little surprises, like in-app purchasing. Take a wild guess on how fast Amazon will add this to their Kindle app. Peer to peer communication between iPhones will open up a whole new world of unexpected and leading edge apps and games.
Of course 'push' capability made it in, finally, and developers will have fun exploiting all the possibilities.
It's a good bet that Apple is responding to competition, especially from the upcoming Palm Pre. There was a perception that Apple had fallen behind in the feature wars, and this update will quench a lot of that chatter. Even with this massive update, people will still want to use their phone as a camcorder, and voice dial didn't make it into the mix, at least so far. Apple has said they may have more to announce.
I can't remember any software update for a phone that added so many features. When I had a Windows Mobile phone, updates were seldom seen and were generally not very exciting. Mostly, I remember a few bug fixes, but not many new features.
Apple is to be congratulated for doing so much with the existing iPhone 3G and iPod touch, but I can also sympathize with owners of the first generation iPhone that will get some, but not all of the new features due to limitations in the original hardware.
On balance it is nice to see two trends that I hope continue. First, Apple is responding to user feedback, and also responding to the market in ways that the old Apple did not.
I think a day like today makes most people happy they have an iPhone, as it is proving to be an investment that keeps renewing itself. Certainly, there is a good chance that Apple will release new hardware this year, with even more features, more memory, and likely a faster processor.
Still, this is a rather mammoth update and pretty much like getting a whole new phone. It speaks directly to those who say 'I'd buy an iPhone if it had cut and paste, or MMS, but otherwise no sale'.
Sure, it would be nice if the original iPhone shipped with all those features, but Apple has continued to invest in and enhance this platform, doing things their own way and on their own schedule.
All in all, I feel pretty good about Apple today. How about you? Let the flames begin.