Apple Announces iPhone OS 3.0– the Wrap Up
We mentioned this last week, but Apple finally previewed some of the new features in their upcoming OS for the iPhone and iPod Touch– iPhone OS 3.0.
With iPhone OS 3.0, Apple showed off a bunch of cool –and in many cases, long awaited features — as well as some new cool things for developers to make new apps (with even some new apps being shown off today by developers).
For those of you who don’t know, the SDK is something called a Software Development Kit (get it, SDK ), that allows people to make apps. In this case, you can make your own apps for the iPhone/iPod Touch using it, assuming you own a Mac and sign up for Apple’s developer program (details here).Anyways, today Apple released a whole new set of capabilities for developers to put into their apps (something called API’s). These include the ability to better stream music and video, have an app connect to an accessory which is designed for the iPhone/iPod Touch (for example, controlling a stereo using the iPhone or iPod Touch), have voice chats like in games, even play games over Bluetooth with other iPhone or iPod Touch users (more on this later ). Apple came out with over 1,000 API’s today, more than we’ll cover here, but let’s just say that Apple is really giving developers access to make some really sick stuff.
EA: The Sims 3
The popular video game has made it’s way to the iPhone/iPod Touch, and looks really cool. Not only does it look like the regular PC game, but it also allows you to access your iPod music from within the game, as part of the game! Definitely a cool example of a new feature from the SDK.
ESPN: ESPN Alerts
This is personally one of my top highlights from the conference, as I’m a sports nut and this is a really great app for sports nuts like me. It sends alerts straight to your phone (similar to the text message ESPN alert service here) by using Apple’s new Push Notification service (something we’ll also cover soon), giving you updates on your favorite teams and major things happening in sports.
But that’s not all! They also have made use of the better streaming video capabilities in the new SDK, meaning that not only does the app give you text alerts and links to the ESPN story covering that alert, but you also get grade-A quality video that automatically adjusts based on your connection (WiFi, 3G or EDGE). This is awesome, especially for those of us who had to suffer through the once bad video quality on the ESPN iPhone site (something which we assume will also make use of the new streaming video feature to make videos appear like they would on regular ESPN TV and ESPN.com). Oh, and the app also adds an up to the minute ESPN bottom line– again, awesome!
ESPN Alerts on iPhone 3.0– by the way, who else watched that awesome game?
Ngmoco is a company that was formed when Apple came out with the first iPhone SDK , and they brought out 2 new games today: a first-person shooter called Livefire, and a more calm game called Touch Pets (pretty much an iPhone version of the Nintendo DS game, Nintendogs). Both hinge upon the new network gaming added in the SDK, but I’m gonna focus on the game I’m more interested in, Livefire. Livefire is what looks to be an intense first person shooting game that reminds me a little bit of Halo (albeit, not as intense ). This game actually uses a lot of the new iPhone SDK features like voice chat, as well as that multiplayer support and push notifications (which was demoed to “call for help” in the game, meaning sending a message to a friend to go on and play along side you now). This definitely looks cool.
Livefire in action
New iPhone Features:
- Push Notifications– An always-on (assuming your device is on of course ), auto-updating service for apps. For example, IM’S: you can be always on and receiving IM’s on the device even when the app isn’t running. This can also be used to deliver messages like in the ESPN app above, as well as automatically get things like email.
- Cut, Copy and Paste– Yup, the iPhone can finally do copy and paste. All you do is tap 2x a word and click on either cut, copy and/or paste. Pretty simple You also can use this across different apps like SMS (text messaging), Mail, Safari, notes and 3rd party apps. Oh, and if you made a mistake in where you pasted something? Just shake the device and you can undo it. You also can shake it again to redo it. You can also copy and paste photos, not just text. This though is somthing I definitely believe people made a big deal out of nothing (honestly, how often will you use copy and paste?)
- Landscape keyboard for apps beyond Safari– Now this is a really nice feature to finally have. In Safari when you flip the phone on it side, you’d get that bigger, nicer keyboard. Well, Apple finally will be bringing this to other apps like SMS, Mail and notes. Now this is an update I’ve been waiting for!
The new Landscape keyboard in Mail
- Updates to SMS– You can now forward multiple messages, as well as delete multiple messages, but that isn’t the biggest update by far. The iPhone is finally caught up to phones from like 10 years ago, and you can now finally send MMS (multimedia messages) like audio, contact info and pix. It’s about time….
- New Voice Memo app– Does what it says, let’s you make voice recordings. You can send these in Mail and by MMS.
- Search– Apple has now added search in EVERY major Apple-made app. I personally am glad they added this feature to the iPod aspect of the phone; I could really use to search through my iPod.
- Spotlight– This let’s you search through your entire iPhone/iPod Touch– yup everything from contacts, to music, to apps will be searched here, and it’s all done right from your homescreen (a quick swipe to the left brings it up). This is also a great feature to have.
The update will also bring some really awesome things such as “Shake to Shuffle” (like on the iPod Nano– shake to shuffle your music), and Stereo Bluetooth (play your music on headphones and speakers wirelessly over Bluetooth- another feature the iPhone sorely lacked). Those are just some of the more than 100 new features Apple has put into the new 3.0 software.
Now when can you get this iPhone 3.0 for iPod Touch and iPhone? Well, if you develop for the iPhone OS, you can download the new OS 3.0 as a beta today! What about the rest of us average joe’s? Well, we’ll need to wait for sometime in June or July (Apple says it’ll be out this summer, which leads us to those 2 months as strong possibilities). It will be a free update for iPhone users (3G and EDGE iPhones, though the 1st gen EDGE iPhone will not get some features like MMS and Stereo Bluetooth) and $9.95 for the iPod Touch (similar to the 2.0 update, and available for both 1st and 2nd generation Touches).
What does this mean to you? Well, as Apple said, this is a major OS update to the iPhone, which should definitely make it a much better device. I can’t wait to see what amazing things developers will make with the new API’s and SDK! Oh, and iPod Touch 2nd gen owners (thats anyone who has the iPod Touch that came out last year with the built in speaker– sorry iPod Touch 1st gen owners ) should also be happy, as Apple has even unlocked the Bluetooth feature for you, letting you use all the new cool Bluetooth features like playing games vs other iPhone/iPod Touch users, and using the Stereo Bluetooth (why Bluetooth was locked to begin with is something we don’t know or understand).
Is that worth $10 though? That in my opinion is a personal choice, and if you are really using the iPod as, well, an iPod, you probably better off using that money to get yourself a case. If though you use it for all that it offers, like apps, then I definitely think you should spring for the new update.
However, I do wish Apple came out with some more features today, like managing your apps in iTunes, and making a video recorder and better picture app, but hey, guess we can’t win ‘em all. I also am not a big fan of Apple coming out with in-app purchases, which while good for developers, can become really annoying, really quickly for us users (I mean, the way they demoed it today was you buy a game, and lets say you wanna play more levels or use a certain weapon, well, you’d need to pay real money to unlock those and be able to use them. Definitely not cool, and something that I dread will become a “nickel and dime” situation in most apps).
What you think though– you like what Apple did, or you still longing for certain features, and if so which ones? Developers- you like what you see in the iPhone OS 3.0 and SDK, and if you do have that 3.0 Beta, mind sharing some thoughts on it in the comments for some of us less fortunate ? iPod Touch owners- you gonna buy this update for $9.95? Sound off in the comments.
Pix from Engadget.com