Since the iPhone launched the user base has been clamoring for many features. Many of the features that were lacking from the iPhone since the original product debuted were things that many felt the device should have had from the start. Little things like cut and paste that most other smartphones featured were conspicuously missing from the iPhone.
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This week Apple announced a preview of the developer beta for the iPhone OS 3.0 interface. According to Apple, the new OS will offer over 1,000 new APIs and 200 new features. Among the new programming APIs will be In-App Purchases, Peer-to-Peer connections, and an app interface for accessories, access to the iPod music library, new maps API and new push notifications. Apple is mum on details of these new APIs, but it's easy enough to guess what some of them will allow.
Adding access to the iPod library in an API should mean that applications would allow the user to set their own background music, which will be cool. You could play a game while listening to your own tunes rather than the often-cheesy tracks the developer chose. The Maps API will allow developers to integrate Google Maps data into their applications to do things like show store locations or other features.
I mentioned before that the lack of cut and paste has been bemoaned by iPhone users from the get go. Apple says that cut and paste is one of the 100 new features that the new OS will bring. Shake to shuffle is one of the features that is simple enough and given the popular motion control interface the iPhone offers I am surprised that shake to shuffle hasn’t been in the phone for a long time.
Voice memo app is a feature that will be welcome by some users who need to leave themselves notes, but don’t want to type them out. I really hope that amongst the new features is a working voice dial feature. One of my biggest gripes with my iPhone is that to dial a number I have to look at the device. I miss the ability to hit one button and be able to dial a number like most phones with physical keyboards can do.
The next best thing on a phone with a virtual keyboard like the iPhone would be the ability to hit a button and say who you want to call and have the iPhone do it. Ideally you would hit the main round nav button once, say call home and you are done. I could do that without taking my eyes of the road.
Apple has also announced that MMS messaging will be available, but it will only be offered for the iPhone 3G. this is disappointing, many other devices that aren’t 3G capable offer MMS support, and I think Apple should have enabled the feature for original iPhone owners too. I have to wonder if Apple is hoping that offering this feature to iPhone 3G owners alone will entice those of us using the original iPhone to upgrade.
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Apple also adds the caveat that all new features may not be compatible with older hardware. In other words, those using the original iPhone may find they don’t get all the goodies 3G owners will see. Apple says that the 3.0 OS will be available this summer and it will be free for iPhone owners. Owners of the iPod touch will get the OS for $9.99, which is sure to anger more than one iPod touch owner.
See also our report on iPhone 2009 Wishes and Predictions.