Apple today provided a sneak peek at the new features coming to the iPhone this summer with the next major software update, among which is included the long overdue cut and paste functionality. But there is much more to the iPhone 3.0 update, for both consumers and developers, enough to keep competitors on their toes.
Among the key user oriented improvements, for instance, is landscape orientation. This was already available in Safari, but starting from 3.0, users will be able to flip their phone sideways to type using a larger keyboard in Mail, Notes, SMS and more. Apple will also introduce Spotlight for the iPhone, which will search through all data on the device, and promised to finally get push notifications right. Other new features include peer-to-peer connectivity over Bluetooth for things like multiplayer gaming, turn-by-turn directions in third party applications, MMS support, a new voice memo application and improved calendar support.
Developers, on the other hand, will get new revenue-generating opportunities by using what Apple calls In-App Purchase – to sell additional levels on a game for example. The new SDK will also enable developers to access some 1,000 new APIs so they can build richer applications, with support for streaming audio and video, maps integration and much more. Tethering support is also available in iPhone 3.0, but will depend on each carrier to support it according to Apple.
Many of the things announced today were already long present on competing devices and some of the missing pieces continue to be video capture, voice dialing, background processing and of course Adobe Flash support. Regardless, it does address many nagging complaints while bolstering its feature set and the developer community. The new release will be a free update for all iPhone users – though certain features will not work on the original model – and will cost $10 to iPod touch owners.