Wednesday, March 18, 2009

v 3.0: Comparing Reality (or what was demoed) with my Wishlist!

On February 17 I put together an iPhone OS 3.0 wishlist and posted it to this blog, let's see how I fared by comparing the announcements from yesterday's (3/17/09) Apple Press conference.

Going Through my 2/17 Posting:
  • Copy/Cut & Paste, Check! This was a no-brainer, Apple had to add this at some point (it should have been in v 1.0). I think all iPhone power users are relieved that we will finally have this basic functionality.
  • HomeScreen/Application Management. No Announcement, there was no mention of this during the press conference, it is possible we will see this as one of the 100 or so user improvements that were not discussed. As developers have loaded the beta copy of 3.0 on their phones, word is that there are a lot of new features that were not covered in the press conference. Although, it seems like a new Springboard would have been a big enough item that Apple would have demoed it. I guess we will have to wait until summer to find out. [Note: v 3.0 will implement system wide "Spotlight" search functionality, if the iPhone's Spotlight can be used like OS X's spotlight to launch applications, then application management may not be as important. Just launch Spotlight and type the first few letters of the app you want to launch.]
  • Text to Speech at the OS level. No announcement, I think full TTS will require a bump in hardware, we may not see a move toward text to speech on the iPhone until processor upgrades. There was no specific mention of this capability at the press conference.
  • User Selectable background processing. NO, this was the big rumor prior to the 3/17 press conference, I think the rumor got a lot of people excited, including myself. There are times where I would want to selectively choose to keep an app open as a background process, even at the expense of decreased battery life. It appears that Apple is not ready to give us this option yet, during the press conference, background notifications was discussed and demoed, while several reasons were given as to why you would not want true background processing.. so, NO selective background processing this summer!
  • External Peripherals - Blue tooth or via the dock connector. CHECK! with some reservations, I am looking for an external keyboard! At first glance, this announcement seems to imply we will be seeing external keyboards this summer. But during the Q&A, Apple was asked specifically about the availability of a bluetooth keyboard, the iPhone OS is currently lacking human interface device (HID) drivers, Apple seemed unwilling to commit to HID drivers for 3.0. I do not think we can assume that external keyboards are a slam dunk, we will have to wait and see. FYI, I favor an external keyboard that connects to the dock connector over bluetooth connectivity, mainly for power consumption/battery life issues.
  • System Settings Profiles. No announcement, again, we will have to wait and see if the settings application has any new functionality that was not mentioned in the press conference.

While reviewing above, there is only one definite out of the original 6 wishlist items, not a great batting average, but I am still excited about v3.0. Apple touched on a few other items that will be great for iPhone users: Spotlight search, landscape keyboard, improved calendar functionality, call logging, MMS, peer to peer between iPhones, turn by turn GPS, push notification, developer access to over 1000 new APIs, tethering, Safari improvements and interaction with accessories. It is looking like 2009 will be a great year for continued enhancements to the iPhone.

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