A Hundred New iPhone 3.0 Features? Let's Count 'em!

By  |  Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 6:16 pm

iPhone Features

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?

1. Cut.

2. Copy.

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…


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32 Comments For This Post

  1. Dave Zatz Says:

    Does this picture offer any more clues?

  2. Harry McCracken Says:

    Yeah, I snapped a shot at that slide, too. It lists new API stuff, not end-user functionality…but there are probably some hints in there. Apple says there are a thousand new APIs, which would work out to–this is completely meaningless math–ten APIs per new feature…


  3. Shawn Roberts Says:


    I like the list. However, it seems there is some confusion between feature/function. In my mind, landscape mode is one new feature that applies to different apps. It should not be counted as something new when it is used in each different app.

  4. Jeff Richardson Says:

    Your list is obviously somewhat tongue-in-cheek, but you did a great job of capturing all if the details announced today!

  5. Matias Paterlini Says:

    Great review! I forgot a couple and you helped me remember by reading the simple list.


  6. adam hodgkin Says:

    Did you say 17 new languages. That got you there!

  7. Jasper Van Proeyen Says:

    My $0.02: “Over a hundred new features” = Marketing.
    But still, I can just say: bravo, Apple! You gave us what we asked for and even over-delivered 🙂
    (note: only Flash is not included in the list, which I believe is great -> battery draining).

  8. Under The Purple Sky Says:

    This is a great list. YouTube account and Proxy support, iPhone 3.0 must have this!

  9. JOey Says:

    I’m still waiting for a way to erase free space, messages, and photos in a DoD or NSA standard.

  10. GoEverywhere Team Says:

    I’m thrilled to see the copy and paste feature on there. I access my webtop from my mobile phone and it would be a lot easier to open documents and cut and paste information, rather than retyping it! I also look forward to the auto fill and the MMS. These enhancements will definitely improve my productivity!

  11. air phloo Says:

    Here are two features that were not mentioned:

    1. To-do support including iCal syncing
    2. Message flagging in Mail

    Am I the only one who can’t believe these weren’t in the phone on day one and who still can’t believe they aren’t in the phone by 3.0? I’ll be honest, I would take these two features over cut/copy/paste. Really I would.

  12. W-cH's Says:


    what a good additional feautures…

    i’m waiting for the release

  13. TripleThreat Says:

    What about an auto answer feature for bluetooth devices? Riding a motorcycle with a helmet communications system that has bluetooth connectivity is crippled by the fact that the iPhone can’t be set to auto answer a call after a set number of rings. This should be a very simple feature to add…

  14. Peter Says:

    Here’s a feature: For the Text Application, the icon has lines over the green area, and the Bubble is all white instead of saying SMS. The caption says Messages instead of Text.

  15. Dan. Says:

    I cant stop laughing while reading this. So so funny.

  16. jazz Says:

    does iphone 3.0 support MobileMe email aliases??

  17. Dante L Anise Says:

    This is good news – finally the iPhone will have many of the features found with older less expensive phones. Interestingly my first cell phone (I think I purchased it in 2001), still my favorite phone had many of these “new iPhone innovations”. Do not get me wrong I love my iPhone I just wish Apple had not focused on the cool and focused on the usability of the tool.

  18. eddie Says:

    Flash, in app purchase, tethering, mms, I think voice control, spotlight(u mite of sed that), new icons, fster keyboard and the iPhone itself, push notifications, and there’s more two just can’t think rite now lol.

  19. Kari Says:

    maybe 17 languages = 17 features?

  20. Jimmy Says:

    What about being able to send sms to all your contacts?

  21. ron Says:

    where is true voice dial?

  22. ListenClose Says:

    you forgot, “Undo”

  23. Robbie Says:

    Iphone 3.0 finally will be able to compete with older less expoensive phones. But i was hoping people would have realized why 3.0 abilities took so long to incorporate. First apple knew that when they released the iphone, they would be a leading way in technology, thus further down the road they would be beat by competiors. Iphone first gen was a big deal because of the touch screen ability,but didnt have the good capabilities that future phones would have so apple couldnt compete. Thus 2.0 and iphone 3g was released. Iphone 3g has the hardware function to compete with so many others phones and 2.0 released the abilty for apple to make money off other peoples ideas, while at the same time iphone would have features of any other competing phone plus more, since people had a sdk to make it. Now competiors like rim and palm are coming out with devices capable of making the Iphone look like a POS, and apple for saw this, thats why the are making 3.0 and all the feautres. apple took so long to implicate the technology just because they wanted to protect their sales and knew competition would come out eventually. now that it has, its going to make the iphone all it can be. Apple intentionally left out mms, copy and paste, just because they knew later on, when iphone was going to be beat, they would release it and keep a bunch of sales. as long as people own an iphone, they make money, not from selling iphones, mostly from the app store.

  24. Gary O. Says:

    I wrote Apple on wanting Two features:

    1. With the last update the phone brightness was reduced around one quarter. I told them that we need the brightness back. The did this to save power. My suggestion was to by default, set the brightness where they want but give us the option to uncheck the power saving box so we would have an option to have the great brightness back, I think they will do it!

    2. I suggested that we have an Time day & date option. I said we needed to have a special feature in settings. Currently, if you look at the top of the iPhone screen you have the time only. My suggestion is give us an option to read info in different ways, like as follows:

    — Tuesday 23, May or May/23/09. Give us the option to see this info no matter what we have on the screen. Also on this same line have an option that will tell you your battery level while you are playing a game.

  25. Gary O. Says:

    There is one must have in the updates. If you are in a meeting, you would think that turning off the left side switch would do but doesn’t.

    —–> If you turn off the left side switch, the phone alert will not ring. The problem is other features in the iphone will still alert you. I would preger vibrating as an alert.

    My 3.0 wish list would be that the switch would stop all sound that would try to alert you. If I don’t get my wish, I’ll continue to turn off my phone.

    Whatever Apple does, I will be HAPPY!

  26. Hooty Says:

    The WiFi auto-login is the most important feature that they added!

  27. nut'n butt fun Says:

    You forgot the COMPASS FEATURE!!!!!

  28. Melissa Says:

    …Anyways on that subject, this might be interesting for a topic…You guys should check this out, Second Voice is a service that offeres you to have 2 cell phone numbers and 2 voice mails in one phone. Take a look, thought it might be interesting.


  29. Grievus Says:

    Here’s a few features everyone seems to have overlooked that I had to find out for myself.

    • Text messages can now be deleted individually instead of having to clear an entire conversation. Like a normal phone.

    • You can now sync music and use your phone at the same time (This only works with music. Not apps or video or any other information). So now if you receive a text while you’re still uploading music to your phone you can go ahead and text back. As far as I’ve seen, you are allowed full functionality with the exception of listening to your music while syncing. Clicking on the iPod icon is the equivalent of the “slide to unlock in previous the OS.

    • I think this is new, but you no longer need to have a MobileMe account to have your emails pushed to your phone. I was under the impression that you did before.

    • Double-clicking the home button can now be configured to go to spotlight or camera.

    • You can filter your search results in settings to only search what you choose. For example if you don’t ever need to search applications, you can filter apps from the search criteria.

  30. justin Says:

    try screen shot built in to the iphone hold the lock button and press the home button poof there it is in your photos

  31. Davidlow Says:

    Other new features:

    1. In both audiobooks and podcasts, there is now a button to replay the last 30 seconds, and another button to change to double-speed and half-speed playback

    2. There is now an extra page of apps available, not including the search page. We went from 9 pages of apps to having 10 plus a search page. Total apps allowed went from 148 apps maximum to 164.

    3. You can now write a new text message while the previous one is still sending.

    4. There’s now an envelope icon at the top left of the screen while a podcast is playing (or paused). What does it do? It seems to do nothing.

  32. S. McIntire Allen Says:

    The log in for iTunes is useful if you have different iTunes accounts in different languages.

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