We all know as soon as a feature comes to the iPhone, Apple invented it right? Perfect examples are the full touchscreen form factor, mobile apps, visual voicemail and the accelerometer — all brought to market by Cupertino. But none of those things are Apple inventions, you say? Pfff, clearly you’ve never met an Apple fanboy. So let’s take a look at a few of Apple’s latest mobile inventions fresh from today’s town hall:
- Push notifications for apps. Finally. As you well know, this will allow the iPhone/iPod Touch to be notified (via a badge, text pop up and/or audio alert) in near real-time of a new server-side event associated with a specific app. Think of it as a poor man’s answer to background processes. Background processes, by the way, are not an addition to version 3.0. Apple’s excuses: Battery performance and memory strain.
- Updated media player adjusts streaming video quality according to current bandwidth.
- Cut, copy and paste. That’s right folks, Apple’s polio vaccine. Double-tap to select text, drag start/end points and do your thang. You can even shake to undo/redo edits.
- Send multiple images at once. Joy.
- Wider landscape keyboard availability. Apple finally tossed the landscape keyboard into all native apps, including Mail. Thank you.
- MMS! Hooray for decade-old tech! SMS and MMS are now lumped into a Messages app. It won’t be available on 2G (1st gen) iPhones.
- New calendar features. CalDAV allows for sharing across a bunch of services such as Google and Yahoo and .ics subscription support.
- Flushed out Stocks app.
- Extended search. Users can now search in all key apps including Calendar, iPod, Notes and Mail.
- Spotlight for iPhone. A “search homescreen”. It’s like Spotlight for Mac and it only searches native Apple apps.
- Bluetooth A2DP support (stereo Bluetooth) — but it won’t be available on 2G (1st gen) iPhones.
Beyond that, Apple recapped the iPhone’s current position of course, with a presence in over 80 countries, 13.7 million iPhones sold, over 16 million iPod Touches sold and the App Store now has over 25,000 apps and over 800 million downloads. The iPhone SDK has been downloaded over 800,000 times by over 50,000 different entities, though over 60% of them have submitted no apps to the App Store. Damn, the Dev Team is growing by leaps and bounds — wink, wink. Apple tried briefly to woo potential developers by showing off how easy it is to develop an iPhone app, also touting that Gameloft has over two million paid downloads to its credit. Bank.
With iPhone 3.0, Apple is introducing 1000 new APIs for developers. It is also allowing developers to submit apps that carry subscription models — one download that is periodically refreshed with new content. In other words, Apple is now facilitating a more continuous revenue model compared to the one-time purchase model. Sell new magazine editions in a magazine app, sell new levels in a game, etc. This model will apparently not apply to free apps, so devs can’t give an app away and then charge for content. Apple has also added APIs to support peer to peer connectivity for things like online gaming via Bluetooth without the need to pair devices. Woo! Beyond that, additions such as the ability to build apps that communicate directly with hardware accessories via Bluetooth or the dock connector, streaming audio and video APIs and the introduction of a Maps API to facilitate app integration (including the use of Maps for turn by turn directions) were covered. Some pretty cool stuff, though nothing earth-shattering.
A beta version of 3.0 is available today to developers and end users will get it some time this Summer; free for iPhones, $10 for iPod Touches. So there you have it folks — discuss.