Friday, March 20, 2009

iPhone OS 3.0 Event - Meh!

Tuesday’s Apple Event drew a lot of attention from the tech media, but in some ways was disappointing. I was trying to get to sleep early (started @2am our time), but did follow one live feed for a bit. I chose gdgt’s live feed and wasn’t disappointed. Ryan & Peter’s feed didn’t crap out and was very good, compared with what happened during MW Jan ‘09.

First, OS 3.0 is slated to be released sometime this Summer, which technically means before 21 September. iPod Touch users will have to fork over an update fee ($10) again, because of this bullshit Apple accounting practice.

Second, the upgrade will have more than 1000 api’s for devs and 100+ new things for users, according to AppleInsider. I’ll go over some of the highlights of the preview (from AI’s article) and give a few comments.

In-App Purchasing - allows apps to sell you additional content, such as game levels or eBooks. This feature sounds great for developers and content providers, but is really just another way to get $ from users.

Peer-Peer Connections - supposed to help you find folks playing the same app or game via Wi-Fi or BT. It allows for more interactivity, but really means more battery drain for you and I.

App-accessory linkage - gives iPhone/iPod Touch accessory makers the ability to make apps to integrate with their hardware accessories. I’m not sure why this is something special, as it seems like something Apple just needed to ‘permit’ during the app submission process.

Push Notification - was supposed to be in the previous OS, but never made it. It allows internet servers to push their content to your device rather than having the device periodically poll the server. This is supposed to improve battery life. I can see this being useful, if you have to have constant updates from your email server.

Turn-By-Turn - allows devs to access the gps data for apps that provide turn-by-turn directions. I can’t help but think that turning the iPhone into a nav system is overkill. I could see it being useful while on foot, but for driving? Please. The iPhone/iPod Touch screen is much too small to be used as a gps nav unit in a car. Anyone using one to navigate while driving would be a hazard on the road. Perhaps this will work for upcoming Apple touch products with sufficiently large screens?

Copy/Paste - something folks have been clamoring for a while. But I have to wonder if it will ever be used much. The iPhone/iPod Touch touchscreen is only somewhat useable for text entry - who types long emails or documents? Not happening. Copy/Paste might be useful in catching a web URL or email address to paste in a message. I’d be happy for the ability to open a url in a new browser window instead.

Landscape Keyboard - some apps don’t allow this currently (e.g., Mail). I hope landscape mode will be allowed for more than just keyboard orientation. How about when I want to select from a list of podcasts (or audio) instead of having to wait for the @#$@# screen to reorient, which results in a useless Coverflow interface for audio.

Messaging (MMS) - Supposed to allow multiple messages with pictures? I suppose they mean SMS allowed to carry pictures.

Voice Memos - if you have the iPhone with speaker this would allow you to take notes or record lectures. But with the awful battery life, I can’t take this feature seriously.

Spotlight Search - For what? I don’t quite get this. I suppose if you have lots of pdf docs and can’t recall which of them have certain content - OK. But if you are searching for content in an email, won’t a search in the mail app do?

A2DP Bluetooth - this will let you use stereo BT headphones, and supposedly activate BT function in 2nd gen iPod Touches (where it is now dormant). I dunno, maybe useful. But I’ve not seen a decent stereo BT headphone on the market (let alone monaural earpieces). If you can’t control the iPod from your BT headphone, I don’t quite see the need.

In summary, it seems that Apple has been very busy adding features to the mobile OS. Many of these address user demands (even though they may not realize they don’t really need them). I can’t help but wonder if the update will be very hefty in terms of drive space and processor demands. Let’s hope they don’t leave 1st Gen iPod touch users (like me) out in the cold.


Anonymous said...

I really like the Iphone Japan TV commercials, everything bout the iphone rules!

umijin said...

Ummm, OK. :-)