Apple gave us a preview of the 3.0 software a little while back, so essentially, we had an idea of what was coming. Scott Forstall gave us a rundown of the features we’ll see in iPhone OS 3.0 on June 17 (both expected and unexpected):
- Cut, Copy and Paste: It will appear as a bubble on your screen, and across ALL apps (both Apple and third-party). It will also have “Undo” support to clear that mistake you just made…
- Landscape Orientation: Now, all apps will be able to use this orientation, giving users a larger keyboard and screen with which to type and view. He highlighted Mail, Notes and Text Messages.
- MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) Support: This allows users to view photos, hear audio, see contacts and locations all in one app. MMS will replace SMS when AT&T gets their act together later this summer with support on their end.
- Search: Spotlight is coming to the iPhone/iPod touch. The same search feature that works on the Mac has been developed to work on your mobile device. You’ll be able to search all your apps, and across your device. One cool feature of search is that you will be able to search on your mail server, not just your downloaded mail!
- iTunes: You can now rent movies, purchase audiobooks, etc. on the fly. There is also support for iTunesU on the iPhone/iPod touch.
- Parental Support: Added features that limit browsing to only certain ratings of shows/movies (G, PG, etc.) and apps that are age appropriate (7, 9+, etc.).
- Tethering: You will be able to connect your device to your computer and share the internet connection via USB or Bluetooth. Pretty huge if there’s no WiFi around, and the only access is your cell service. It will work on both Macs and PCs. However, it also requires cell provider support (hello, AT&T), which won’t be available until “later.” (He was deliberately vague, which prompted laughter from the audience!)
- Safari: Performance improvements, which are partially indicated by the SunSpider benchmark tool that shows a 3x improvement in speed. There’s also support for HTTP streaming audio and video. Also: AutoFill technology has been added (hallelujah) to fill in usernames and passwords.
- Languages: Added support for over 30 languages. He noted that one of the advantages of the iPhone’s ‘soft keyboard’ is that a multi-lingual user can simply tap the keyboard to change languages “in real time.”
- Find My iPhone: This was HUGE and got a great reception from the crowd. Essentially, what it does is offer a way for users to locate a lost/stolen phone via GPS technology. It’s a benefit for MobileMe customers—you log in, and it will show you the location of the phone on a map. Then, you can send a message to it with a number to call (the alert sound will play whether or not your phone is in ‘silent mode’) and also remotely “wipe” all of the data off of it! Take that, data thieves!
Also, new Voice Control commands allow you to make calls, change your iTunes music, or even create an on-the-fly Genius playlist via your voice. The addition of a digital compass works with Google Maps to help you orient yourself.
Overall, there are over 100 new features.
And since WWDC is a developer’s conference, the keynote wouldn’t be complete without some demoes from featured developers. Gameloft, AirStrip Technologies, ScrollMotion TomTom, ngmoco:), Pasco, Zipcar and more highlighted their development for the iPhone/iPod touch, which ranged from gaming to medical sciences to education to navigation, ridesharing and beyond (I was really excited about the TomTom app and corresponding car accessory, which we will be carrying as soon as it’s available).
Oh yeah, new models and price points were announced: There is now a 32GB iPhone, and the pricing structure goes like this:
- iPhone 3G 8GB: $99
- iPhone 3G S 16GB: $199 (The “S” stands for Speed!)
- iPhone 3G S 32GB: $299
Among the hardware improvements, the iPhone 3G S includes:
- Overall faster features—specifically, 2x faster than the iPhone 3G.
- A built-in video camera to shoot, edit and share videos from your iPhone/iPod touch.
- A 3 megapixel camera, with an improved lighting sensor for better low-light photos, new macro and focal point features, and more.
iPhones will be available June 19 from Apple, AT&T and other authorized resellers.
The iPhone OS 3.0 update will be available June 17 and is free for iPhone users and $9.95 for iPod touch users.