As much as iPhone users love their smartphone, many would like much more from it. Apple's little ball and chain has been criticized for sins ranging from the inability to cut and paste and save attachments to the absence of voice dialing and turn-by-turn navigation. Developers, too, have felt handcuffed by the constraints of Apple's official SDK, not to mention the hardships imposed by a computer that can run only one application at a time. C'mon Apple, that's so '80s.
Whatever beefs you have with your iPhone, there is certainly something in iPhone 3.0 that will make you happy. By Apple's estimate, the update -- due in June, and free to all iPhone users -- packs more than 100 new user-oriented features and 1,000-plus new programming interfaces. Time will tell what iPhone app developers can do with all those new hooks, but it's already clear that many glaring holes are filled.
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The headlining new feature is cut, copy, and paste, which works across all applications. Spotlight, a systemwide search tool borrowed from Mac OS X, lets you search your entire iPhone for messages, contacts, notes, and songs. There's a new application for recording and editing (well, trimming) voice memos. Multiplayer gaming, and who knows what else, will get a boost from a new peer-networking capability. One of the new APIs covers turn-by-turn navigation -- but this will come from third parties; no navigation application will be built-in.
iPhone 3.0 also brings landscape mode operation -- and a nice, big on-screen keyboard -- to every Apple application. New support for CalDAV means you'll be able to sync with your Google or Yahoo calendar, while Multimedia Message Service functionality lets you quickly send photos, contacts, audio, and location data while you're texting. Bluetooth support has been added too.
For many iPhone users, June will not come soon enough. For a brief look at iPhone 3.0's key user-oriented enhancements, see InfoWorld's guided tour. For the full story, see InfoWorld's special report.