By Harry McCracken | Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 6:16 pm
One of the oft-repeated mantras at this morning’s iPhone 3.0 event was that the new software has over a hundred new features–a claim that Apple repeats on its still-sparse iPhone 3.0 info page. I think there’s a good chance that the company will eventually enumerate them, since it says that Leopard has 300+ new features and then meticulously accounts for them.
But I got to wondering: Just how many features did Apple tell us about this morning? Was it all of them? And if it skipped any, was it because they were too boring and/or arcane to merit discussion? Or could it be holding back anything unspeakably wonderful to tell us about at the last moment?
So I tried to count up the features we know so far. It’s an impossible game, really–I don’t know how granular Apple’s definition of “feature” is, I’ve probably forgotten and/or misinterpreted some of what I learned this morning, and I have no idea what stuff it didn’t cover.
But once I started to tally, I got addicted. Count along with me, won’t you?
3. Paste. Yes, I’m listing them as three features, just in case.
4. Shaking the iPhone undoes pasting.
5. Push notifications via text alerts.
6. And audio alerts.
7. And “badges.”
8. You can send photos via MMS.
9. And audio.
10. And contacts.
11. And locations.
12. Spotlight. Universal search across multiple major apps.
13. Search within the Calendar app.
14. And Mail, even if the mail’s on the server.
15. And Notes.
16. And Contacts.
17. And the iPod app.
18. Tethering. If your carrier supports it.
19. Developers will be able to sell subscriptions via the App Store.
20. And do in-app commerce.
21. Landscape mode is now available in Mail.
22. And Notes.
23. And Messages.
24. And Stocks.
25. You can forward text messages.
26. And delete them.
27. You can select multiple photos via e-mail.
28. Hardware add-ons can talk to the iPhone via Bluetooth.
29. Or, alternatively, via the dock connector.
30. iPhones can communicate directly with each other via peer-to-peer Bluetooth connections.
31. There’s a voice memo app.
32. Third-party apps can incorporate maps.
33. There’s support for turn-by-turn GPS navigation. (But developers will have to provide their own maps.)
34. Third-party programs can incorporate the functionality of the Mail app.
35. CalDAV lets the Calendar app share calendars.
36. You can also subscribe to calendars.
37. The Stocks app has news headlines.
38. And more price/equity info.
39. And more market cap info.
40. Stereo Bluetooth is supported. Good news for lovers of wireless headphones.
(From here on out, most features I’m listing were crammed onto a final slide, seen at the top of this post behind iPhone software chief Scott Forstall. Most were mentioned briefly or not at all.)
41. Encrypted profiles. Not sure what this is, exactly, but sounds like A Must For Enterprise Users.
42. YouTube accounts. If you’ve got one, you can log into it.
43. You can also subscribe to YouTube videos.
44. Revoke certs. Not the kind with Retsyn(tm), I assume–another enterprise feature.
45-61. Support for seventeen new languages.
62. VPN on demand. I’m not sure what this is, exactly, but it sounds important.
63. OTA profiles. That must stand for Over the Air profiles. Sounds enterprisey.
64. Media scrubber. You can already move back and forth in iPod audio and video files; maybe this does it in a more sophisticated manner.
65. Parental controls. Finally, a way to block fart apps. I hope.
66. iTunes login. I’m not sure offhand how this is different from logging into your account right now.
67. Call log. A more full-blown one than the existing “Recents” feature, I’m assuming.
68. Autofill for Web forms. Handy for sure.
69. EAS policies. I believe that stands for Exchange ActiveSync, and I’m glad I don’t need to worry about it.
70. You can sync Notes with unspecified applications on Macs and PCs via iTunes. And wirelessly?
71. Audio/video tags. Tags: always cool! But I’m not sure on the details here.
72. Live video streaming. Not from the iPhone back to the Web, presumably, but high-quality incoming video of the sort that ESPN demoed at today’s event.
73. Shake to shuffle songs. Like with the current-generation Nano.
74. Proxy support.
75. Wi-Fi auto logins.
76, LDAP support. Presumably in the Contacts application to get corporate address books in.
77. EAP SIM. I just read Wikipedia’s brief article on this, and I still have no idea what it is.
78. iTunes account creation. Presumably to make iPhones more autonomous: You can use iTunes even if you don’t have a computer.
79. YouTube ratings.
80. Create meeting invitations. Via Exchange? CalDAV? Other means?
81. Anti-phishing. In Mail and/or Safari, presumably.
Whew. My prediction: If and when Apple does release a list of 100+ features, its math will get it there with several to spare. At least a handful will be mind-blowingly trivial, and Apple will never mention them except in long lists of new iPhone features But it won’t be reduced to playing games like counting cut and paste as two features.
Although now I’m noticing it talking about how you’ll be able to “Read and compose email and text messages in landscape.” Please, Apple, tell me that doesn’t count as four new features…