iPhone 3.0 adds cut-and-paste, search, new dev toys
Arriving in 'summer'
The new iPhone 3.0 software will introduce copy-and-paste options, spotlight search, background notifications, stereo Bluetooth, MMS messages, and third-party access to the device's map application.
Apple's third major software release for the iPhone was previewed today for a press gathering at the company's HQ in Cupertino. Expect the device's refreshed OS to arrive "this summer," offered free to iPhone users and priced at $10 for the iPod Touch.
The news was reported by several media outlets, including Cnet. Apple declined to provide The Register with an invitation to its press gathering, citing lack of space.
Apple also provided a look at the phone's new software development kit, which will let iPhone app makers add new toys like push notification, peer-to-peer networking, and hardware accessories that can communicate with apps.
Copy and Paste, hallelujah
The iPhone's lack of a basic copy-and-paste functionality has consistently been pointed out as one of the device's major flaws as a smartphone. Fortunately, Apple's belated addition of copy-and-paste for 3.0 appears to be done right.
Grabbing a chunk of text seems easy. A user double taps on a piece of text to select it, which brings up grab points to resize the selection box. Above the box are three buttons for cut, copy, and paste. Shaking the device cancels the action.
Mercifully, copy-and-paste works across all iPhone applications. For example, text from a web page can be pasted into an e-mail or Notes application. Text from third-party apps can be copied too.
Apple said images can also be copied and pasted - although it's unclear if users can grab pictures from websites or if it's restricted to their own pictures.
Spotlight for iPhone
Search has been added to all core applications including mail, calendar, and the device's song library.
A search bar will appear when users flick the home screen to the left. Entering a term scours everything on the device from e-mail text to calendar dates. Selecting a result will automatically bring the user to the specific app it was found in.
Apple said the feature will also be a handy way to locate a specific app for customers with several screens full of software.
Fun, games, and discovery with Bluetooth
A new option for stereo A2DP Bluetooth on the iPhone makes for a surprise entry to the 3.0 update. The feature will only be available on the iPhone 3G. Perhaps an Apple Bluetooth headset isn't far off?
Apple's latest SDK will also let devs include peer-to-peer networking using Bluetooth. Discovery is handled by Bonjour. The company is a bit unclear about the improvements here, but suggests third-party apps could include things like the ability for other iPhone and iPod Touches to see each other when playing the same game nearby.
Peripheral app support
The 3.0 update will give developers access to third-party hardware peripherals using the iPhone or iPod Touch's dock connector. Apple said uses range from adding a stereo system equalizer to app that takes measures from a blood pressure cuff.
Next page: Background Notification
Re: No 3rd party background app
"The "NO 2 APPS RUNNING" screamers should know the catch here is that 3rd party applications cannot run in the background, which is fine, as the only application most would want running at the same time would be music playing while they browsed the web or something."
Wouldn't work in the Nokia Sports Tracker scenario then. The beauty of this kind of app is you can have it sat in the background tracking your every movement via GPS, and yet can work on other foreground apps at the same time.
Okay, Nokia provided this one, but by the sounds of it such a similar app on the iPhone will come from a 3rd party. So means foreground only.
As an example, when I go skiing, I use Nokia Sports Tracker, launch it, put it in the background, and go off down the slopes leaving it running most of the day. It's constantly tracking and whenever I stop I can dive in to other apps (e.g. I might want to browse the web in the restaurant, or I could be stopped on the slope and want to view a PDF piste map). Similar is when doing walks or cycling, having a document with a route plan or guide open, whilst tracking at the same time. There's a mashup kind of potential too where you could have independent tracking apps feeding data somewhere. e.g. Google Lattitude and Sports Tracker, or either of those plus a navigation app (in Nokia's world, e.g. Nokia Maps), whilst driving to combine nagivation and tracking.
These are just a tiny example, but there are hundreds of other potential cases where you want a 3rd party app in the background (Google Lattitude being a prime example and the reason why Google has not offered it for the iPhone yet).
Until you've had the ability though you probably won't realise just why you need it. If you're coming from another phone platform it becomes an obvious omission. It doesn't exactly encourage migration to Apple (but then competitors aren't Apple's potential customers. Apple devotees are).
@ Bod & other application tards
The iPhone can run 2 applications at the same time. I can happily browse my menus while listening to the iPod app, my calendar will still alarm no matter what app is open, my stopclock will tick away, the phone will ring, I will get voice alerts, etc.
The "NO 2 APPS RUNNING" screamers should know the catch here is that 3rd party applications cannot run in the background, which is fine, as the only application most would want running at the same time would be music playing while they browsed the web or something.
Upping the ante
"Apple upped the ante when it came to mobile phones, which other manufacturer made a phone that was completely touch screen, which company made it so easy to install and uninstall applications on your phone and which company made it so easy to use your music library, that did not need you to scroll though thousands of tracks, instead you could just flick through your cover art and select the track! Which phone allows you to resize photos just using two fingers!"
Other manufacturers were too busy concentrating on making phones do what phones do best. Making calls! ;)
What Apple provided was a very sexy sleek UI which beat the crap out of all other manufacturers. It is very nice I will admit. But it's just the same as everything else with Apple. It's like Safari 4. It is now (after much complaint about earlier Safari versions) Google Chrome but with shiny fluff you don't need. Looks nice, but that's about it.
For all the sexy UI, the iPhone won't give me a GPS mapping application that caches entire continents worth of preloaded maps so I don't have to use an Internet connection to look at maps, provide navigation, and won't let me jump out to fire up the browser, read a Word document and/or do GPS sports tracking at the same time the map app is running with GPS active. Sports tracker mulit-tasking in particular on Nokia devices is great. Have it stay in the background tracking whilst you do other things on the phone, even listen to music, make calls & surf the web.
In fact Google Latitude is noticeably still absent from the iPhone. Why? Key to Latitude on a phone is multitasking, so it can update your location regardless of what you are doing on the phone and even if it's sat in your pocket sleeping. Even my 3 year old S60 based Nokia can do this with a fraction of the price and power.
No background apps then
So still stuck in the 80s where operating systems just ran one program at a time then.
"extra strain on the processor would cut down battery life" so they say. My arse. Process and thread switching algorithms won't necessarily stress the CPU and battery any more if done right, and especially if background tasks are throttled. They might slow down the foreground app as both contend for the same resource. However a lot of background apps, if well designed, don't need to be thrashing the CPU all the time anyway, they can just chip in during idle time if they're not doing anything urgent.
Besides S60 and Windows Mobile seem to do okay with it (biggest problem for them is memory, not battery life when it comes to background apps. The real killer for the battery is comms). Though of course those phones have the luxury of being able to swap the battery should it die on you and you're not near a power supply! ;)
It's not even that it's not a multitasking capable OS. It is (or the kernel is). It's just that as usual, Apple dictate what users and developers can and can't do with their products. That's what makes them so different from the likes of MS, Nokia or maybe even Google. Apple's products are a bit like buying a show home where the developer insists you can't make any changes to the interior of the house. You just have to live with their design.
Really I think Apple just fear letting developers do what they like because suddenly their products won't perform as amazingly well as they'd like. Then people start realising just why Apple kit looks so great. Smoke and mirrors.
I Love My iPhone
People who hate apple and the iPhone, well why are you reading this for, if all you are going to do is post your unthough, unreasoned petty attacks.
Apple upped the ante when it came to mobile phones, which other manufacturer made a phone that was completely touch screen, which company made it so easy to install and uninstall applications on your phone and which company made it so easy to use your music library, that did not need you to scroll though thousands of tracks, instead you could just flick through your cover art and select the track! Which phone allows you to resize photos just using two fingers!
Now, dont get me wrong, the iPhone isnt perfect, but i would much rather use my iPhone than switch if for a bastardised version of windows, that is nowhere near as good as the iPhone OS!
Even the Android, OS, is good but it still cannot compete with Apple.
So i dare you to find me an equivelent phone!!!!!