Apple's iPhone 3.0 event - beyond the live blog

Apple's iPhone 3.0 event - beyond the live blog

Summary: The first round of news out of today's Apple event has to do with a "major update" to the iPhone and iPod Touch operating system. Until now, there's a been a lot of catching up with details related to the app store and the popularity of it.

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The first round of news out of today's Apple event has to do with a "major update" to the iPhone and iPod Touch operating system. Until now, there's a been a lot of catching up with details related to the app store and the popularity of it. There are more than 25,000 apps in the store today and more than 800,000 downloads - in eight months time. The apps were my favorite thing about the iPhone I didn't keep and they are still my favorite in the iPod Touch.

So Apple is expanding what developers can do with their apps in the new OS. The company notes that developers are asking for other business models, like subscriptions and the ability to charge for additional levels on a game or fresh content on an app. In OS 3.0, developers will be able to do those sorts of things.

Apple, recognizing the popularity of apps within the iPhone/iPod Touch ecosystem, is creating an environment that's friendly to developers, a lure to keep them happy as they build a massive network of piggy banks for Apple. As App stores grow in other smartphone platforms - Blackberry, Palm Pre and so on - Apple is smart to use every turbo boost mechanism at its means to get way ahead in the race.

Peer-to-peer

This is cool. Through Bluetooth, Apple is opening peer-to-peer connectivity on the iPhone/iPod Touch. The obvious example, of course, becomes the kids in the back seat playing a game against each other.

That leads me another observation: the power of the iPod Touch. I've said before that I think the real killer device here is the iPod Touch. It has all the cool features of an iPhone without the cost of the service plan. It's interesting that Apple is referencing both products now, instead of just the iPhone. The company said at the beginning of the event that it had sold 17 million iPhones. Counting the iPod Touch, the company has sold 30 million devices with the OS, bringing that iPod Touch number to 13 million.

Late to Push

OK, the company admits they were late to push technology. Anyone who has used a Blackberry understands the significance of push - you don't have to go and retrieve your e-mail. Your screen simply refreshes when there's a new item. But, because Apple's apps don't run in the background, you wouldn't know if you had any new mail unless you opened the mail app first.

That problem goes away now, opening the doors to new opportunities - and not just mail. Meebo, for example, provides multi-platform chat (AIM, MSN, etc.) interface. Push becomes critical for an app like this, which depends on instant (the "I" in IM) notification. It also becomes critical if a VoIP app comes into play.

So why not just enable apps to run in the background - one of the things that so many have been asking for. Apple says they tested it on other devices - Blackberry, Windows Mobile - and found that it drains battery life, doesn't allow the device to go to sleep and reduces standby time by 80 percent. As a Blackberry user, I'll vouch for the downside of apps running in the background. I have seen all my messages get wiped out because the device memory is overloaded by apps that I never closed - the Facebook app, Maps, the camera and so on. Apple is probably right on this one.

Other uses for Push

It looks like a lot of time spent looking at the benefits of Push technology. Oracle took the stage and talked about its five iPhone apps and enhancements that will help business users. Interestingly enough, the folks at the event don't seem to care. Gizmodo blogger writes in these consecutive posts:

  • “Next up is Oracle.” Which elicited audible groans from the audience, despite their CEO being Steve Jobs’ good friend.
  • This is your chance to go grab a sandwich. Unless you’re your company’s IT guy that’s trying to get business apps onto your enterprise’s iPhones. Then you’ll be RIVETED.
  • Bore-acle, I mean, Oracle:
  • The Oracle guys are talking about their app that tracks supply line and blah blah chain blah blah company stuff.
  • The Oracle app goes and pulls out data from their backend CRM server, which you can use to find the account rep and contact him over email, phone or SMS.

Also on the stage to showcase their apps is Electronic Arts, LifeScan and ESPN. But it's unfortunate that the folks in the audience would be so - unimpressed - by an Oracle presentation. After all, the importance of adoption in the enterprise should not be underestimated.

Finally, the other stuff we've been waiting for

Well, it took a while to get through all those app demos - and I'm even there. But, now, on to the other important things.

Wishes have been granted. Cut/Copy and Paste are here. Double-taps. Copy formatting. Select blocks of text. It's all in there - using your finger.

MMS. Yes, support for photo, video and audio within a message will be enabled. As Apple talks about what you can do with photos, I love how Joshua Topolsky quotes and comments on the Engadget blog. His 11:10 am entry:

"Now there's one more thing I want to show you. And that's photos. We've had requests to send more than one pic at a time -- and now you can do that." You can select multiple pictures and copy them, then paste them into a mail message. "So, copy/paste in iPhone 3.0." Applause. Applause for a feature that every other device in the world has. Odd.

It appears that Search is here, as well.

In all, we're talking 100 new features and 1,000 new APIs. It's a major update to the OS and the developer beta is available today. iPhone OS 3.0 will ship this summer and will be free to all iPhone 3G customers. Also, some features can be used on the original iPhone, as well, though some - like stereo Bluetooth - cannot. And update for my iPod Touch will cost me $9.95.

One last thing: Unlike many of the Steve Jobs events, there was no "One Last Thing" in Cupertino today. No Tablet PC. No word of AT&T service problems. Just plenty of new stuff for the OS - as opposed to just the iPhone. With developers on board, revenue models in place and a popular product line - the iPod, that is - holding its own against the recession blues, Apple is paving the way for a headstart in this race.

Topics: iPhone, Apple, Hardware, Mobility, Smartphones, Software Development

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127 comments
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  • No Background apps...?

    Now they get to release the iPhone 4.0 service pack...with a new innovation... Multitasking! WOW. You mean like Windows Mobile and Blackberry have had forever?

    Just like the cut and paste nonsense....

    Nice Service Pack Apple... new device? No. Just a service pack... well let's hold a press conference!

    Does anyone else get away with this? Imagine Steve Balmer holding a press conference to tell us he was adding CUT AND PASTE to Windows Mobile... Oh you can't imagine that? Me either.

    Apple Hype on overload today...
    notlehs
    • Apple made a decision

      to deliberately not implement background apps in order to extend
      battery life. When dealing with devices like the iPhone or Blackberry, it's
      all about compromises. Apple decided that better battery life was more
      important than background processes. The market will tell them if they
      made the right call.
      frgough
      • It is?

        How come devices that already multi-task don't have problems with compromising battery life?

        Maybe it's just because their developers are more competent at that sort of thing?
        Sleeper Service
        • They do

          That's why they are honking bricks. To pack in the extra-large battery.
          It's also why battery life on WinMobile devices sucks.

          This is not a hard concept to understand except for zealots. Apple made
          a business decision. Like I said, the market will decide whether or not it
          was a smart one.

          Considering that whether or not the iPhone does background apps has
          absolutely zero impact on your worth as a human being, it is odd you are
          so obsessed by it.
          frgough
          • *Looks at the iPhone's size*

            Honking great bricks you say?

            What was Apple's excuse then?

            As for background apps having zero impact on me as a human being, you're right, it doesn't unless of course my plane is rescheduled and I can't get an update from Worldmate :)
            Sleeper Service
          • Ummm...in case you didn't know. There's a difference ...

            between a brick (i.e. WinMo device) and a piece of bread (i.e. iPhone). It's called WEIGHT and soft goodness!!
            No More Microsoft Software Ever!
          • Except...

            ...the Touch Diamond and Omnia weigh less than the iPhone.

            Try again!
            Sleeper Service
          • Err?

            The storm is the exact same size at the iPhone
            except it's 1.5mm thicker. 1.5mm. While being a
            lot cheaper with better battery life. While
            multitasking.

            Why are you TRYING to start problems? a loaf vs
            a slice of bread? 1.5 mm out of 13? That would
            be like a slice of bread difference out of a
            loaf. For better battery life, better
            multitasking, etc. There's a lot of other
            factors. Battery life isn't that big of a deal
            for some people, but for businessmen and women,
            it's huge. Why would I care if I have some
            giant touch screen when there are faster input
            devices? Games? Really?

            Not to say the iPhone isn't cool. I love my
            iTouch. But I have a real phone, too. Because
            the iPhone's PHONE isn't very good. Poor
            reception, poor sound, no video, poor picture
            quality... I mean... come on... I want a phone.
            I can carry something else for games.
            evilkillerwhale@...
          • Since you don't have an iPhone

            it's not an issue for you. So, again, why the obsession that a product you
            don't use doesn't have what you need?

            Methinks the lady doth protest too much.
            frgough
          • Pot. Kettle. Black.

            Methinks it is you who does protest too much. You do realise that defending Apple with the blindness of a scientoligist has zero impact on your worth as a human being.
            Bozzer
          • Because, frgough...

            ...your statement was rubbish.

            No other reason.
            Sleeper Service
          • re: Sleeper

            My specific comment was Apple made a business decision
            that battery life was more important to them than
            background apps. I then said that the market would
            determine if that was a smart choice.

            You then proceeded to go on a rant about how every other
            mobile device could do background apps without
            sacrificing battery life and proceeded to imply Apple's
            developers were therefore incompetent.

            It's pretty obvious who the irrational person spouting
            rubbish is.
            frgough
          • Absolutely...

            You stated...

            "Apple decided that better battery life was more
            important than background processes."

            To which my challenge was that other devices seem to have equivalent battery lives whilst allowing background processes so I'm not sure it's a valid statement.

            But yeah, whatever.
            Sleeper Service
          • No wonder !!

            If you can't change batteries, then battery life has to be an important issue. I've never had a battery life problem with my Blackberry Curve; on the other hand, if I started running short, I'd just pop over to the local battery store and fetch one ($38 at the local Battery Plus store).
            websquad
      • Okay, battery life explains lack of background apps.

        Now explain why it took [i]two major version releases[/i] to get friggin’ [i]copy-paste![/i] How does battery life figure in [i]there!?[/i] Especially from the company that [i]first[/i] brought copy-paste to the masses over ¼ [i]century[/i] ago with the LISA and later the original Macintosh! How could [i]they[/i] of [i]all[/i] companies have overlooked this for so long!?

        I like the iPhone a lot, but this is rather hard to justify.
        Joel R
        • Jobsianism

          Jobsianism is an irrational decision made within Apple because of Steve
          Jobs' ego acting in complete oblivion to reality.

          Copy & Paste is an example of Jobsianism. The last major notable
          example was the Apple III where Jobsianism manifested itself in building
          a fanless computer that go so hot the chips would pop out of the
          motherboard.
          frgough
          • I don't understand

            If you hate Apple and Steve Jobs so much then why do spend so much
            time arguing with people who have made the decision to use or
            purchase Apple products, or learning about every little thing that
            didn't work.
            Yes, Apples has made mistakes in their products and in some cases in
            their business model, but they have moved past it and made products
            that people enjoy using or are user friendly enough that you don't
            need in a degree in computer science to operate it.
            I work in film and television so I use an Apple as does my industry,
            whereas banks and businesses like PC better. I wouldn't expect the
            banking industry to change their systems just because film likes Apple
            better, but you seem to be hell bent on everyone hating Apple, and
            conforming to your standards.
            I wonder why that is? You're starting to sound like those crazy people
            who want you to switch to their religion even if you don't want to. And
            since you mentioned Scientologists. Are you one? Because you sure
            do sound like one. Do things our way or you're bad and stupid. Talk
            about irrational.
            Amonra
          • I liked the Apple ///

            That was my main computer through college. Wrote all my papers on it, and even played games by loading up the Apple ][ emulator. I think it never quite knew what it wanted to be. And of course, the heating issue (though I never ran into that personally) and other technical gaffes certainly didn't help.

            Copy & paste is an interesting issue. People have been complaining about it since day 1, and yet Apple still sold millions of units. They focused on building a game-changing phone, which they accomplished, even though a feature-by-feature comparison left it seemingly lacking compared to other smart phones. It seems that copy & paste wasn't so important after all.

            And now that copy & paste is coming (along with 99 other features) everyone who has been clinging desperately to the "it sucks because it doesn't even do [fill in the blank]" argument has nothing left to say.
            RationalGuy
      • The Samsung Omnia has great battery life

        I have a Samsung Omnia (Verizon) and it goes for a few DAYS without needing a charge. And it has bluetooth, wifi, gps, full touch screen, and winmo 6.1, so perhaps its not just apps running in the background, but how the OS controls the running. Of course, I also have 16GB of memory.
        rattlesnake0407
      • Battery life comment and original iPhone users query

        makes sense to me--the iPhone battery life is not great as it is. One other question, what about the poor souls who purchased the original iPhone--are we left out in the cold? sounds like poor marketing strategy!
        susanaccellion