iPhone 3.0: It’s Here!

By  |  Wednesday, June 17, 2009 at 11:28 am

iPhone 3.0As promised, Apple has released iPhone OS 3.0. I’ve been using the gold master version for a week, and it’s been a joy so far.

Apple’s approach to the the iPhone’s development still makes me think of Benjamin Button: The OS was dazzling from the start, but only Apple intentionally put off implementing some of the mundane, basic stuff that you would have assumed every phone OS would have. With 3.0, it’s mostly there. (Which hasn’t stopped me from starting to compile a wish list of new features.)

iPhone 2.0 was about one sea change of a new feature: third-party apps. 3.0, by contrast, sports no one signature improvement. It really is about improvement everywhere. (Here’s an excellent point-by-point account of the hundred new features.)

iPhone SearchFor me, the single most meaningful new feature so far, by far, is search–especially within e-mail, where it’s beautifully done and makes the e-mail app far more useful. (I had stopped using the iPhone Mail in favor of Gmail; now I’ve switched back.) The far more widespread support for landscape-mode use of applications is a close second. Apple also says that Safari is faster, and while I haven’t done any benchmarks, the browser does indeed feel much snappier.

iPhone CameraIt’s also fun to burrow around the OS and encounter minor-but-welcome tweaks all over the place, like the way the camera app now shows a thumbnail link to the last photo you snapped. And if AT&T ever permits tethering–and offers a network that doesn’t lapse into EDGE at the worst moments–I’ll be thrilled.

iPhone Copy Cut PasteOh, and in case you hadn’t heard, iPhones now let you cut, copy, and paste. I wasn’t irate when the OS didn’t have this feature, and haven’t needed it so far. But it’s there, and it works well.

Much of what’s interesting about OS 3.0 will only reveal itself as new third-party applications come out: notifications, in-store purchasing, peer-to-peer connectivity, http video streaming, better GPS and map support, peripheral connectivity through the dock connector, and more. They’ll only live up to their potential if they’re widely embraced by developers. But everything we know about the iPhone as an app platform suggests that there’s every reason to be optimistic.

When Apple released iPhone 2.0 last July, there was widespread griping that it was buggy and unstable. Two months late, Apple polished the OS up with the much smoother OS 2.1. I can only speak about m y own personal experience with iPhone OS 3.0 to date, and sample sizes of one aren’t statistically significant. But it hasn’t crashed on me, and has actually made my iPhone more reliable: Until now, my phone’s Internet connection has had a nasty habit of stalling until I did a reboot, and–as far as I can tell–OS 3.0 has eliminated this major headache.

On Friday, some owners of iPhone 3Gs will spend hundreds of dollars to upgrade to the not-radically-different iPhone 3G S–in some cases grumbling as they do so. iPhone 3.0 brings most of what’s cool about the 3G S to any iPhone–for free. (For iPod Touch owners, it costs $10, and is merely a steal.) To riff on an old Apple OS X upgrade slogan, it’s like a new iPhone for your iPhone.

Once you’ve checked it out, let us know what you think.


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4 Comments For This Post

  1. Mike Says:

    I have read from those that have used the new 3GS that the speed boost is like night and day from the current 3G and makes a gigantic difference, once you have experienced the speed of the new one you cant go back.

    ill go to an apple store and take the new one for a spin and see if i am blown away to the point that i have to shell out for the new one.

  2. Dave Zatz Says:

    Being able to attach multiple photos to an email is a BIG DEAL for me. Cut & paste doesn’t hurt either. Some of the little info additions and font changes have been a disruptive/unexpected.

  3. Relyt Says:

    Who says the likeliness of the new hardware updates of the 3G S (faster performance, compass, etc) will appear on a new touch model in the fall? I think the compass is likely…

  4. Paul Warner Says:

    I have been using the 3.0 firmware for about a week on last years phone, and it seems to be a little quicker all the way around, along with apps being more stable, and battery like seems to also be improved.

4 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. Web Media Daily – Wed. June 17, 2009 | Reinventing Yourself... Says:

    […] iPhone 3.0: It’s Here! […]

  2. The Blog of Matthew Baxter-Reynolds » Blog Archive » Seriously, why is “cut and paste” majorly newsworthy??? Says:

    […] With the release of the iPhone 3.0 software, virtually all of the major gadget sites and most of the samll ones are falling over themselves to congratulate Apple on adding clipboard (cut, copy and paste) to the thing. Here’s an example https://www.technologizer.com/2009/06/17/iphone-3-0-its-here/. […]

  3. iPhone 3G S: The Technologizer Review | Technologizer Says:

    […] all:&nbspReviews On Wednesday, Apple released iPhone OS 3.0–an operating-system upgrade that not only sports a hundred new features but is free to iPhone […]

  4. iPhone 3G S: The Technologizer Review | Technologizer Says:

    […] Wednesday, Apple released iPhone OS 3.0–an operating-system upgrade that not only sports a hundred new features but is free to iPhone […]