If you're an iPhone user, today's press conference debuting a preview of the upcoming iPhone software 3.0 is going to rock your world. Greg Joswiak took the stage and announced that Apple set a goal to sell 10 million iPhones by the end of 2008, and the company achieved much more than that by selling 13.7 million. He mentioned that the company now has sold more than 17 million units, with 25,000 applications with over 800 million downloads. 98% of the applications have been approved in seven days or less.
The next version of the iPhone operating system, now at version 3.0 is going to offer over 1,000 new APIs for developers, and deliver over 100 new features. The iPhone OS 3.0 will ship this summer and will be free to all iPhone 3G customers and even original iPhone users. There will be a $9.95 update charge for iPod touch users, sadly. So, who's ready for the newly announced features?
- Copy and paste functionality.
- Accessories can now talk with hardware.
- Push notifications, huge plus compared to background applications in my opinion.
- Landscape mode for Apple applications.
- MMS text messaging, finally.
- Search all applications via the new Spotlight
- 3.0 now has a standard system for finding other devices in the same area without using a WiFi network. Other devices can now be found via Bluetooth with no pairing required.
- Stereo Bluetooth is now supported
- Anti-phishing now in Mobile Safari
- Safari will also remember login credentials.
- Parental controls extended to movies, TV shows, and application downloads.
- Turn-by-Turn GPS for the Google Maps application.
- There is a new Voice Memo application for iPhone.
- There is also a new version of the media player that will automatically adjust the quality of the stream based on your connection to the network.
- In-App Purchasing for App Store applications, demonstrated in EA's upcoming 'The Sims 3' game for iPhone.
- HDTV streaming for audio and video.
Spotlight: The new Spotlight feature will have its own separate page on the devices home screen, which will sit to the left of all other pages. To get to it, simply swipe to go to the left and then enter what you wish to search for. From what we've seen, it's simple and easy.
In-App Purchasing: This is rather self-explanatory. In certain applications (mainly games) you'll be able to pay for items. For example, in The Sims 3, you can purchase items for your Sims, at $0.99 each.
All the other new additions are relatively self-explanatory.
There have been a lot of announcements today, and I'm sure you're wondering why Apple took so long to provide some of these features. Here are a few quotes from today's announcement:
"We were asked, why don't you do background processing? It's bad for the customer. It drains battery. We've been testing this, and running some background processes on some phones. We took a popular AIM client, and we just let go in the background -- then we measured the standby time. And it dropped by 80% or more."
"So, push. Preserves battery life, maintains performance, optimized for mobile networks."
"[Applications] 96% are approved, but there are things we have to watch out for. There have been issues, issues about content that's available to children for instance. But at the end of the day, we have a great solution that's working, and we're constantly making it better. We're tracking these numbers, and speaking with developers, and we are constantly doing that."
After the presentation, the Q&A began. Here are some quick highlights from the session:
Q: Flash? What are you doing?
A: We have no announcements on that topic today. But there are a lot of video streams we can handle. h.264 works great. We're adding HDTV streaming for audio and video. We think there's a lot of great video solutions for a single clip.
Q: Where do you stand on tethering?
A: Scott (explains tethering): We're supporting tethering in the client side, we're building that support in. We're working with our carriers around the world. We are building that support in.
Q : Are you addressing any of the lagginess with the new OS? We saw some of that when you loaded SMS up.
A: We're definitely addressing those issues. The units you saw today are demo units.
Q: Push notification, will you make uptime promises?
Q: Why did copy paste take so long?
A: Scott: It's not that easy. There were security issues.
Overall I am very pleased with the updates that Apple is coming out with. As a Windows Mobile user, I myself have personally not given the iPhone a go because key features like MMS, C&P, and Push Notifications were not available on the iPhone. This major update is going to be a key player in the mobile phone arena. Microsoft and Windows Mobile has their work cut out for them. Overall I'm sure the millions of customers using the iPhone gives Apple a thumbs up, I do.
On a side not, there were a ton of new applications demoed today at this press event. Too many for us to list, so head over to Engadget for a look.