The launch of Apple's new iPhone 3.0 firmware update was greeted with cheers and disappointment alike as some users got their wish and others... well, didn't.
Now the day of launch is finally upon us months of feverish waiting are finally over, and MMS, copy and paste and internet tethering are all now going to be possible from the iPhone.
Techradar casts its eye over the new firmware update and brings you all the changes so you can know whether it's worth upgrading to or not.
1. Copy and Paste
Oh, don't go pretending you're not excited that this is here, moaning on about how 'it's a feature available on all smartphones these days'. While you may be right, Apple has managed to make this tiny feature into a Big Deal, and the way you do it (double tap to magnify text, scrolling and grabbing the beginning and end points) is pretty darn cool too.
2. The sheer range of APIs released
Slightly hidden from the consumer eye was Apple's larger onslaught into making the iPhone the most customisable (albeit with Apple's approval) handset out on the market. We're talking thousands of APIs here, allowing things like peer to peer Bluetooth connection for multiplayer gaming or contact sending, or allowing Google Maps to be used within other applications, so finding that restaurant is suddenly going to be a lot easier.
This means that the scope of the iPhone will just continue to grow and grow, with the App Store likely to be even more popular (if that's possible).
3. Using the iPhone to control accessories
This idea is pretty big, as it allows manufacturers to make Apps specifically for their hardware. While this could mean big things for the sex toy industry (just look at the route Gizmodo took straight away) it means things like the Lifescan from Johnson & Johnson are now possible, allowing diabetes sufferers to keep a visual record of their glucose levels.
But the possibilities (and cool factor) are now seemingly endless... you could make a golf accessory that assesses your swing using motion sensors and then Bluetooth the results to the iPhone for analysis (actually, that's a good idea, if you try and copyright it, then we'll fight you for it.)
4. Internet tethering
Apple has also used this little trick to add tethering to the iPhone, meaning you can connect it to your Mac or PC via USB or Bluetooth and use it as a modem. However, the bad news is that tethering is not going to come cheap: O2 is charging users £14.68 (for 3GB) or £29.36 (10GB) per month to use their phone as a modem.
The outcry isn't just the sheer cost of the service, it's the fact that users already feel like they're being charged enough to use data on their iPhone and having to pay another £30 just to make their favourite device even more useful seems a little harsh.
5. MMS support
We all thought Apple would never do it, preferring to make sure the world thinks that email is properly where it's at for sending pictures.
But it's not just those slightly funny snaps you can ping over to your mates' phones now, it's also location info, contact sending and even audio files that can be passed to a friend's phone, so if you want to stalk someone AND listen to the same things as them, this is the upgrade for you.
Apple has found a new space within the iPhone... scrolling left from the homescreen. This new area allows you to search over the whole iPhone / iPod touch, and even finds Apps (if they're Spotlight enabled).
So if you're sure that you saw someone's name somewhere in the phone... you'll be able to find it now. And if you have a trillion Apps on there and countless home screens to scroll through you can now move straight there rather than straining your finger.
7. Localised search
As well as being able to search over the whole thing in Spotlight, you now have the option to search specifically in certain areas, like the upgrade that came in the iPhone 2.0 firmware allowing you to search through contacts.
And if there's nothing on the phone itself, users will also have the option to take things further afield by looking on a registered server to find the information there too (ie your corporate web server if you use the iPhone on a work-style tip).
8. Push notification
While we all wanted to see background applications running on the iPhone, in a similar way to the forthcoming Palm Pre, the truth is it's likely that the handset simply can't handle it.
So push notifications are the next best thing, with the phone keeping a constant connection to email servers and IM applications, with similar functionality available for other applications to make use of as they so wish, which at least keeps the things you need to tick over... well, ticking over.
9. Turn by turn directions
The problem with using the iPhone as a GPS navigation device in a car is, well, you can't really, unless you want to keep taking your eyes off the road to look where you are on the map, so the addition of turn-by-turn directions is a big plus in that department.
However, thanks to the big wide world of licensing agreements, you can't use Google Maps for the application, so if you want to make a turn-by-turn effort, you best bring your own maps.
On that front TomTom has made use of the new App hardware integration and brought out a dock for the iPhone, which will allow turn by turn directions, have a loudspeaker and power connection, as well as support for both portrait and landscape modes.
10. In-App purchase
This is another App-changer for iPhone-ites, allowing you to pay for things inside a program. What this essentially means is you'll be able to customise Apps as you want them, ie a magazine can be offered for free and you choose to subscribe from within the App, with the standard iTunes purchase interface popping up to confirm.
The newly announced Sims 3 game allows you to do this to purchase items for around 60p, and other games will allow you to buy weapons or power-ups in exchange for cold, hard cash (well, the transaction's electronic, so there's no cash actually, but you get the picture).
By the way, you can also get in-game rumbling too... it's not important enough for its own point on this list, but it's pretty cool too.
11. Landscape QWERTY keyboard, A2DP and shake to shuffle
Apple has finally dripped out a couple of things that iPhone users the world over have been asking for, like being able to use something else other than the QWERTY portrait keyboard. So the addition of a landscape option for all text input is a real plus, though we can't see why it has taken so long.
And A2DP - it might not sound like much to most people, but being able to use Bluetooth headphones with full stereo surround sound is certainly Sir Swish-a-lot in our opinion, and something that Apple badly needed to include.
And while we're on music playback, the new iPhone 3.0 upgrade also includes support for shake to shuffle, meaning if you're bored of the current song and want a new one, you can randomly pick it by shaking the device. Sweet.
12. Best of the rest
Of course, there's a lot more to come from the iPhone 3.0 upgrade with some pretty big additions and some incremental ones, and while we think you'll want to have a poke around yourself to see what's new, here's a run down on all the other changes:
- Voice memo - Basically, the iPhone is now a dictaphone too, with an old-school sound meter to find out how loud things are getting when you're trying to record your partner sleeping to prove just how noisy their snoring is.
- More content direct to the iPhone - Buy films, TV programmes and audiobooks via the iTunes store, and download films direct from the internets to your iPhone.
- Improves Stocks App - Get more easy to read information and view your important money charts in landscape.
- Find My iPhone and Remote Wipe - Locate your phone on a map, send a message to the person that has it asking for it back and if that fails, wipe the phone from your computer.
- New Safari features - New bits and pieces for the browser like faster performance, autofill user names and passwords.
As you probably remember, the software will be available for download from Apple's website, so hot foot it over there to get it as soon as you can.
It's funny to note that Apple's strategy with the 3.0 firmware update was the same as 2.0 - release a new firmware set, unleash the iPhone 3G. And then this year, we get 3.0 and we get the 3G S.
When iPhone 4.0 firmware comes out next year, nobody will believe Apple when it says there's no new iPhone on the cards...
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