The time has finally come for Apple to unleash version 3.0 of their iPhone OS, and what they told a rapt Cupertino crowd on Tuesday certainly made the jump from 2.1 to 3.0 seem worthy.
Apple promised push notification a year ago, but according to the reps onstage, the opening of the App Store, and subsequent torrent of new applications, was so overwhelming that they only able now to roll out push. But now that push has arrived, robust IM clients and news updates are feasible on the iPhone, starting with a great demo of Meebo’s first native app for the iPhone.
Another promising feature is the ability to stream video and audio, freeing legions of sports fans from the tyranny of their big screen television. And push comes into play again, because the iPhone will be capable of receiving updates whenever your team scores. Perfect for both sports junkies and compulsive gamblers.
Apple has also integrated turn-by-turn directions into the phone, and as enabled the built in Google Map app to be accessed from inside other apps. Apps can also allow in-app purchases, so an ebook reader can access a catalogue of available titles, and presumably iTunes users can steam purchased movies and TV shows directly to their phone.
Apple also rolled out peer to peer connectivity, enabling gamers to communicate with each other and apps to talk amongst themselves over different iPhones. You simply call up a standard system panel that allows you to find different users on iPhones and iPod Touches, connect, and away you go.
Accessory developers will also be able to design custom apps that talk directly to the hardware, such as FM transmitters that talk directly to a tuning app on the phone, or medical devices that allow monitoring via the iPhone.
All of Apple’s key apps will also work in landscape mode, for the fat fingered amongst us, making Mail and word processing apps much more handy. And not to be outdone, Apple’s SMS app is now an MMS app, capable of sending and receiving as many ten second crappy sound clips of a noisy bar as your data plan will allow, along with photos of said bar-hopping.
Apple has also inroduced its search function, Spotlight, into the iPhone, a welcome addition for those of us who cram their phones as full of data as humanly possible. Yu’ll be able to search
The Calendar app now allows subscriptions, and the Stocks app has been upgraded to not only use landscape mode but provide news stories within the app.
And the moment we’ve all been waiting for has arrived. Apple finally implemented cut, copy and paste, with a rather elegant interface that allows selection of a word or block of text.
And with this announcement, Apple has once again pulled ahead of its competitors, all through a software upgrade. Blackberry, Pre, it’s time to head back to the drawing board…again.
If you’re a developer, the new OS is available for your tinkering pleasure today. For the rest of us, we’ll have to wait until the summer.