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iPhone OS 3.0 Unveiled: Rights Many Wrongs

Gordon Kelly


iPhone OS 3.0 Unveiled: Rights Many Wrongs

After the disappointing iPod shuffle launch and the farce of authentication chip embedded earphones it was about time Apple gave us some good news this week, so did iPhone 3.0 OS deliver it? YES!!

In a far more open minded and wide ranging announcement than I think anyone expected from the company today it finally answered the vast majority of criticisms its two year old mobile platform has suffered.

In short here's what we DID get:

  • Copy and Paste (including Cut!) between applications, in emails and from Safari with undo support ("security issues" blamed for the delay)

  • Push notifications (true multitasking claimed to deplete battery 80 per cent faster)

  • MMS

  • Landscape keyboard in "all key applications" (SMS, email, notes listed)

  • Forwarding SMS & individual message delete

  • Mobile Spotlight (much like
  • Palm Pre) searches all apps, iTunes & App Store from home screen. Accessed by swiping my home screen from the left.

  • A2DP Bluetooth steaming enabled on iPhone 3G for wireless music

  • Bluetooth pairing between iPhones (only) using Bonjour to make an IP connection allowing music streaming, multiplayer gaming

  • Multiple image emailing

  • Native Voice memo application with editing capabilities (goodbye third party solutions)

  • Native multiple calendar support and CalDAV and .ics compatibiliby

  • Turn by turn directions (3D mapping to be provided by third parties)

  • Search in calendars

  • Search in email (carried over IMAP if results not found on handset)

  • Auto filling forms

  • Notes synchronisation

  • YouTube app account support

  • Stocks updated with addition of news stories and a landscape view

  • Tethering (may be delayed due to individual network negotiations)

  • In App purchasing (eBooks: books, magazines: subscriptions, games: extra levels, etc)

  • Mail access direct from applications, much like Safari currently

And on the no list:

  • Video recording

  • Flash

  • MMS & A2DP Bluetooth omitted from iPhone 2G (due to different radio chipset)
Yep, the first two would have been nice and the final point is something of a kick in the teeth for day one fans but the overall picture is vastly better than could have been expected.

Developers will be able to get their hands on a beta of iPhone OS 3.0 today while consumers will have to wait until "the summer" (when likely a third generation handset will also be announced). It will be a free upgrade for iPhone owners with the - now typical - iPod touch (first and second generation) $9.95 update cost.

Well done today Apple. You've earned your praise.


iPhone OS 3.0 Official Page


March 17, 2009, 11:36 pm

big thumbs up. most of it should have been there from the start but at least it's finally coming. my reasons's for not getting one have just decreased greatly. will now wait and see what the iphone 3g or um 4g? is like before deciding.


March 18, 2009, 12:06 am

This is my analogy:

If Apple sold beer (or cider), but sold it with wee in it (bear with me!), today's announcement is akin to them now selling the beer with *less* wee in it.

Then everyone applauuds and woops and does that whole 'USA' thingy....WOW! Well done Apple!! Welcome to 2006.


March 18, 2009, 12:08 am

why make touch users pay for these things? i think apple are the only company that charges for updates...

Robert Elliot

March 18, 2009, 12:13 am

Sometimes it's great to be wrong. A2DP! Come June I can get an iPhone at last.


March 18, 2009, 12:30 am

yet again Apple charges for a firmware update. Only Apple can get away with that!


March 18, 2009, 1:25 am

If they just make one with better battery life I am sold. My girlfriend is always stealing my electricity to charge it ;-)


March 18, 2009, 1:31 am

Frankly, I think saying "Well done today Apple. You've earned your praise. " is taking it a little too far. Most of the functionality that will come with 3.0 has been avaliable for so long, on so many other handsets and the others are only due to Palm kicking Apple's arse into gear.

Whats more is the chosen (truncated) list of improvements on Apple's website reads like an onion.com parody - most of which my K800i has been able to do since day one.


March 18, 2009, 1:44 am

Surely a 2.5 rather than a 3.0 upgrade. And why doesn't MMS work with 1st gen iPhones? I don't get the 'different chipset' explanation. How is this different to being able to email photos?


March 18, 2009, 2:05 am

Although I'm happy Apple has righted many wrongs with their phone, do they really deserve praise for this? These features have been included in smartphones that went out of mainstream usage years ago and many are present in dumbphones sold for &#16340 on Pay as you Go.

As said I'm glad they fixed these problems and so will many of my friends who own iPhones, but just as we don't praise Microsoft when they plug a few holes in the security software (something they in fact earn a lot of scorn for) we shouldn't credit Apple with something that should have been included from day 1 in the first generation.


March 18, 2009, 2:11 am

This is good. As much as I've made do with email I can't deny that MMS will be handy for exchanging pictures with friends and family on Nokia's etc. Finally getting background notifications is another plus, but the in-app purchasing has great possibilities, too. I think they're the highlights for me.

With all of this stuff available on the iPhone 3G the next iPhone is going to have to be one hell of a piece of kit to make upgrading worthwhile...


March 18, 2009, 2:29 am

Interesting point there Ben and it's something I've been pondering for a while: Just what could Apple do to make the iPhone better. Now I know many people will leap on me for saying that but think about, in terms of hardware what do people want? A replaceable battery, a memory slot, and a better camera, and perhaps a smaller version. Apart from the last of those I'd be surprised if Apple addressed any of those issues except maybe a slightly better camera, which leaves little room for a significant upgrade, one would think. I'll happily be proved wrong but I could see the new version proving significantly less popular than the current one as existing owners see little reason to upgrade.

As for firmware 3.0, just because a lot of it is stuff that 'should' have been there from the start, it doesn't make it any less welcome. I paid &#163400 for my iPhone and I think it's the best consumer electronics device I've ever bought. Give me some significant extra functionality for free and I'm laughing. Wee-beer or no wee-beer.

What I will say, though, is it should be free for Touch users as well, or at least they should only have to pay for one initial firmware upgrade, maybe. I.e. you pay &#16310 and you get firmware updates for the life of the device.


March 18, 2009, 2:32 am

@ilovethemonkeyhead - I think that Apple gets a revenue share with the Telecoms companies so each iphone customer is paying Apple indirectly on a monthly basis. Improving the iphone service and keeping that customer paying the monthly fee makes good business sense. Now a itouch user pays Apple nothing apart from the upfront cost, so Apple wants to wet it's beak here as well by charging for the ugrade. I may be wrong here, but I'm sure PAYG customers also had to pay to upgrade their firmware for much the same reason.


March 18, 2009, 2:53 am

@joose - upgrade is free for all iphone users (including the 1st gens), just touch users have to pay for it, regardless of whether the phone is PAYG or not.


March 18, 2009, 6:37 am

I think some reactions here are a little harsh. YES MMS, cut and paste, landscape keyboard and A2DP are very much 'about time' features but at least they are now here. Thank heavens. People forget the iPod, maps and browser integration are still years AHEAD of rivals so it's swings and roundabouts. Personally I'd forgive Samsung MMS, copy and paste, etc if they could build a responsive touchscreen and decent UI...

More importantly, no one has mentioned the innovative additions here: Spotlight search integration is a huge one (something I keep typing as 'Spotify' and correcting - wait for the future typo!), plus P2P and push notifications. Support for true turn-by-turn 3D directions is also not to be sniffed at with a screen that big. With TomTom aboard it could start wiping out the dedicated GPS market for the consumer. After all, it's far more secure if you don't have to leave your GPS device in the car after you leave it.

As for the potential 4G hardware changes Ed mentioned: agreed on more battery life as well as slimmer and lighter, a higher resolution screen, perhaps a 4in display with less plastic top and bottom, 5MP camera + with decent image processing and flash, 32GB memory, faster CPU and unibody construction for additional durability.

Not going to happen are a microSD expansion slot and removable battery as Apple is clearly committed to it's unibody design, besides this is one styling change which could create a whole new legion of fans.

Ultimately with iPhone OS 3.0 the Palm Pre no longer has everything its own way (we still wait to see its application store integration, multimedia interface, etc) and that's a very good thing.

Next to step up: Android and Symbian please!

Windows Mobile? Perhaps in late 2010...


March 18, 2009, 11:28 am


Maps and browser are light years ahead of anything else? Google Maps is available on plenty of phones and the iPhone version doesn't even have Latitude yet. Mobile Safari maybe slightly better than Opera Mobile and Skyfire but then it doesn't support Flash like some others do so the advantage is dubious.

Turn by turn navigation is not an innovative addiotion. It's a catch up feature.

I'm sure the implementation of this stuff will be great but its is definitely mostly adding basic phone features, maybe with some added Apple style.

Hamish Campbell

March 18, 2009, 12:21 pm

I think the Palm Pre gets a hell of a lot of props for a phone that isn't available.

It should only really be compared to the Iphone it will compete against, presumably the next version.


March 18, 2009, 12:30 pm

Hurrah! Finally some of the most requested feature gaps filled in. Though I'm yet to think of an instance where I've needed cut, copy and paste, but maybe now it's there I'll find a great use for it! My personal most welcome features are 1 - MMS. 2 - The horizontal keyboard! I could never understand why this wasn't built into Mail from day one, but still...

As for iPhone 4G - unibody all the way, must get a better camera and a flash and a forward facing camera, more storage, more RAM to handle all this background and multitasking stuff. I'd love to see a thinner model sporting an OLED screen but that's not gunna happen anytime soon, none of this VoiceOver nonsense, plus I'd like a way to play/pause/skip iPod tracks without having to get my iPhone out of my pocket, by means of a physical button somewhere but ideally not an inline remote on the earbuds, unless I can get a decent pair? Authentication chips all round! :)

Overall, iPhone OS 3.0, good stuff, bring on the summer :)


March 18, 2009, 12:55 pm

All welcome stuff. Many of these things have been available for jailbroken phones for some time, so it was clear that the hardware was capable - and also that the case for jailbreaking was becoming better and better. This will take away many of the reasons for jailbreaking, except for me: skinning and SBSettings (toggling of settings available from within any app). Next generation iPhone: maybe better screen? definitely more storage and RAM, faster chip maybe.

Shaun: The Ultimate Ears headphones already do that, and I'd expect the Sennheiser ones to as well.


March 18, 2009, 1:26 pm

ps - you dont swipe the screen to the left to get Spotlight, you swipe it to the right.


March 18, 2009, 1:28 pm

People don't need much of a reason to upgrade - it's a new Apple product. A new fashion product and the people who buy these things won't be seen with last years fashions.


March 18, 2009, 1:28 pm

I think Apple can only make improvements to their existing model rather than a radical rethink. It's created a highly successful product which actually makes it hard to change anything too radically without destroying what people buy them for. I think Nintendo will have the same problem with the Wii.

It could of course introduce a new model for a different market, such as the highly rumoured Nano version. This could/should create growth and profit for them but logistically it may be too much for them to support at this point in time? As well as cannibalising iphone sales.

My feeling? They will build on the existing platform (with steady technical advances), continue to improve the software in an effort to retain the customers they have. Palm Pre looks to be a great challenger but it's mostly on its software than a huge technical leap. Apple will continue to improve its software offering to negate other software challenges. I think Apple is entering a stage where it concentrates on a retention strategy rather than growth through major new products, the shuffle headphone debate could be a sign of that strategy.


March 18, 2009, 2:21 pm

@ ilovethemonkeyhead "why make touch users pay for these things? i think apple are the only company that charges for updates..."

At least they update there phones. I think the Update program on my windows mobile is the least used program ever.


March 18, 2009, 4:32 pm

Everybody seems to be under the assumption that Apple can just go "Right team, we need <feature A> on mobile OS X... *BOOM* There it is, nice and ready to use"

These things all need to be developed and tested to Apple&#8217s high standards. For every extra application or feature that Apple could have insisted on having for launch with the original iPhone, the launch date would have been pushed further and further back... We might not even have it now if they had have done this!

Apple are relatively new to the mobile market compared to all the other manufacturers, and while there may still be some things that the iPhone can't do that other handsets can, there's little denying that what the iPhone DOES do, it does better than most (dare I say &#8216all&#8217?) the other handsets made by manufacturers who have been in the market since the early days.


March 18, 2009, 5:12 pm

These comments are a like a game of spot the iPhone owner...


March 18, 2009, 6:14 pm

@ravmania yep, as is the music and video player integration.

@Shaun O'Flaherty - http://www.trustedreviews.c...

@Jai - cheers, meant 'from' the left - fixed.

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