Apple today unveiled OS 3.0 for the iPhone and iPod touch, which is set for release this summer (that's June-August for those of you south of the equator). It's far from the revolution some were expecting, and strikes us as more of a defensive play to bring the iPhone further in line with its hardware capabilities, users' desires, and the increasingly heated competition from Android, BlackBerry and Palm's imminent release of the Pre. Read on for the full details.
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Spotlight allows you to search everything on your device including e-mails, songs, applications and notes.
AD2P support brings pairing with stereo Bluetooth headphones/speakers. (iPhone 3G only)
MMS support including sending and receiving vCards. (iPhone 3G only)
Tethering support to use your iPhone as a modem. While the functionality is there, it's up to your provider as to whether they enable it, and charge you for it. (iPhone 3G only)
Wi-Fi autologin can automatically log in to Wi-Fi hotspots.
Parental controls for all App Store content.
Landscape mode for all core applications.
Note sync allows you to synchronize your notes with Windows and OS X.
Calendar gets CalDAV support, and syncing with iCal, Yahoo, Google or Oracle.
Stocks will display recent company news and current trading information such as Market Cap.
Shake to shuffle added to iPod.
Spotlight integration - Developers can add Spotlight support to expose application data to searches.
Push notification - Apps don't need to be running to receive information from the web and notify you with a sound, vibration and/or number badge on the application icon.
Google Maps integration - Developers don't need to handball you over to the Maps application anymore. It can be embedded in their application, with complete functionality including pinch-zooming and turn-by-turn.
Peer-to-peer - Two iPhones can find each other via Bluetooth and automatically connect via Wi-Fi, to transfer contacts or files (don't get your hopes up about swapping music) or go head-to-head in a racing game.
In-app purchases - The Store Kit framework allows developers to sell things from within an application, like extra levels in a game, or the renewal of a subscription. Hopefully this will also allow for an Xbox Live Marketplace-style demo-to-full-version function.
VOIP communications - Developers can now add voice chat to their applications and games.
Accessory communication - Talk to "Made for iPod" hardware through the dock or Bluetooth.
Music library integration - Applications will be able to access the music on your device. (We suggest you prepare for a tidal wave of DJ applications.)
Developers can, and should, grab the iPhone SDK for OS 3.0 beta from Apple.
Free for iPhone users, US$9.95 for iPod touch users.
Are these latest additions enough to convince you to buy your first iPhone? To not break your existing contract and move to another device? Too little, too late? Let us know in the comments!
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