Thursday, March 19, 2009

iPhone OS 3.0 - Some Thoughts on This Cool Announcement

OS Version 3.0
When I heard that Apple was going to announce some new features in version 3.0 of the iPhone OS, I had some expectations of possibilities like cut and paste. But really, I was blown away by all the goodies that Apple announced Tuesday, as well as by discoveries folks have been making when digging into the new Beta that is now available to developers.
Consumer: Cut and Paste
This functionality has been on other smart phones for a long time. People have complained that it wasn't in version 1.0 of the phone. Well, it's here now. Or will be once 3.0 is moved into production down the road. Honestly, I can understand why this wasn't in 1.0 though, Apple's touch interface is completely different than the other smart phones out there and figuring out a elegant solution that works without junking up the UI is no little thing. I am looking forward to using this feature.
Consumer: New Search Features
Nifty way to search your whole iPhone: Spotlight Searching will be in 3.0 as well as searching in email. I actually could have used the email search a couple days ago!
Linking With External Devices
How cool is it that a glucose meter can link in with an iPhone and feed data into a Diabetes app's database (screenshot below). Hmmm. Think the the possibilities of other devices that could do the same thing... Barcode readers, mini weather stations, my mind is going blank on this right now but I'm sure there are allot of imaginative uses here!

Stuff for the iPhone Developer
In the near-term, I think the iPhone developer really made out like a bandit this release. Apple has put in allot of new functionality in that will give developers allot of abilities that they've been asking for. Some of the features that I am looking forward to using as a developer are:
  • The ability to send email without the user leaving my app.
  • The push ability. Where my user can get notifications without my app being actually open.
  • The internal buy functionality that lets users buy stuff from within the app instead of having to go to the App store.

Below, the Sims game demoed allows you to buy add-ons for the game directly in the game:

Other nifty stuff includes being able to use blue tooth with other iPhone users close by. This could be used for game parties, exchanging business cards, exchanging app info. The imagination runs wild!
Discovered: Tethering
Someone has found tethering in 3.0 (see screenshot below). Yes you could use your iPhone as gateway to the internet for your laptop while on the road. Since phone companies sell cards to do this over cellular networks and charge for bandwidth, and since AT&T gives unlimited data bandwidth for iPhone users, I don't think Apple will just flip the switch on this feature. More likely, they will work it out as a phone company service that you can turn on (for a fee). Just my guess anyway.

I hear that there are hundreds of new features added for developers to take advantage of. I think that though these are not directly consumer features, that down the road they will end up empowering developers to come up with applications that make consumers more and more happy.