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Apple to unveil iPhone 3.0 software at March 17th event

iPhone 3.0

Slash Lane and Prince McLean, Apple Insider
Apple on Thursday announced plans to hold a special media event for journalists on its Cupertino-based campus that will offer a sneak preview of the next-generation iPhone operating system dubbed iPhone 3.0.

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The event will take place at 10:00 a.m. Pacific time on Tuesday March 17th in the intimate setting of the Apple Town Hall — the same venue used to introduce the company’s new unibody MacBooks last fall and the original iPhone Software Developers Kit (SDK) last March.

ArsTechnica was amongst the publications invited and has posted the following image from the email invite.

At this juncture, there’s no indication that Apple will use the gathering to divulge details of next-generation iPhone handset hardware, which is expected to be unveiled several months later at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference or another event of its choosing.

iPhone 2.0

Last year, Apple staged a similar event to unveil its plans for iPhone 2.0, which was known in advance to include a new Software Development Kit for developers, but also added surprise Enterprise features, including support for push messaging and remote wipe using Microsoft’s Exchange ActiveSync as well as support for WPA2 and 802.1X wireless authentication protocols and Cisco IPsec Virtual Private Networking for secure remote access.

When the iPhone 2.0 software was actually released in July, Apple also included support for its own push services as part of the .Mac rebranding of MobileMe, added extensive language support for global sales, and added geotagging to its camera application. Seven software updates have been released in the months since then.

What to expect in iPhone 3.0

At last year’s WWDC, Apple announced plans to provide a Push Notification Server for third party apps, allowing developers to send updates to their users’ phones through central servers operated by Apple. The new system was intended in part to account for the fact that third party apps are not allowed to operate in the background; the notification system would allow the apps to alert the user of new messages or outside changes without actually listening for them itself, a task that would be handled by the iPhone system software instead.

The Push Notification Server was expected in September but never arrived; support was included in a developer beta before being later pulled, making it a obvious candidate for inclusion in iPhone 3.0. Parallel efforts to add push messaging in the forthcoming Snow Leopard Server may have been part of the reason for the delay.

iPhone 3.0

Apple also released updates for Core Location to support determining the cardinal direction and velocity of an iPhone 3G using GPS, features required for providing turn by turn driving directions. Apple may leave that area to third party developers, or could enhance directions within Maps to support turn by turn features itself. A year ago, Apple filed a patent for the concept of server generated direction and map packages called podmaps.

Apple has already added traffic overlays and transit and walking directions to Maps based on Google’s service, as well as Street View, a feature Google first debuted in showing off the mapping capabilities of its Android platform.

iPhone 3.0 wish list

A variety of other features may also make it into iPhone 3.0, including support for advanced Bluetooth profiles outside of the basic hands free and mono headset. Existing iPhones have high speed Bluetooth hardware capable of supporting A2DP stereo headsets, a software feature Apple has already delivered for desktop users in Mac OS X Leopard. Other Bluetooth profiles could enable iPhone users to quickly beam files to each other (such as address book vCards) or support the use of Apple’s own Nike+ (were it to supply a Bluetooth version) or the company’s wireless keyboard, which could turn the smartphone into a basic netbook replacement for business travelers.

Apple could also add support for a Dashboard-like layer of user-creatable widgets built using its existing DashCode app from HTML, CSS, and JavaScript, enabling users without Cocoa programming skills to build or install widget apps that could all run together without the launching delay of a full blown iPhone app. This would also take the wind out of the sails of the Palm Pre’s new webOS, which is designed to ‘multitask’ multiple simple widget at once rather than running heavy duty applications. The ability to run self contained web applications, if only just within the phone’s Safari, is also a distinct possibility, given the existing support in the desktop flavor of Safari and the iPhone’s existing support for HTML 5 features.

Other features Apple has already alluded to or depicted in its patent filings include a global information page that shows updates such as incoming messages and alert updates on the wake screen for quick reference; global search features; a copy and paste mechanism; support for mobile syncing of playlists and file information from a home computer’s iTunes library and then only downloading specific songs when requested; improved push features, including support for syncing tasks and notes; and “Back to My Mac” support for accessing remote files.

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  • http://blog.cytv.com cy_starkman

    Some basics…

    1) forward and edit SMS (and maybe draft)
    2) making use of contact groups for SMS and Email
    3) Send contact info via SMS or Email

    4) unified app “helper/server” for the desktop that all iphone apps can use (instead of one each)

    5) More flexible / intelligent (contextual) virtual keyboards (I mean it is virtual after all!)
    6) Syncing of autocomplete functions between OSX and iPhone (tired of typing in my email address)
    7) access to custom dictionary to correct and manually add, include syncing with mac cust dict

    8) Clickable links in the iPhone based Appstore (pray why must i write the link down and go to safari)
    9) Being able to view purchased apps in a list on Appstore (regardless of installed state)
    10) All apps being able to offer one-click link back for writing reviews and giving ratings

    11) Home screen pages offering faster navigation (like up/down/left/right to get to 4 screens in 1 swipe)
    12) Auto ordering of Apps on home screens by Appstore category
    13) Being able to one touch change wireless settings from home screen (menu bar or something)

    14) More consistent use of forms data entry handling across safari, os and apps
    15) Improved web form recognition, reshaping for screen and editing (seeing two lines of a barely scrollable text box with difficult cursor placement is a struggle)
    16) consistent experience and UI feedback when keyboard decides you want continuous delete!

    17) That missed call alerts from your carrier don’t end up as undeletable SMS in a contact’s message stream, messing with the unread notifier’s head

    18) Background apps by whatever method. it will be a iphone revolution when facebook/twitter can tell you when updates are ready to see. App / net use will get another level of unprecedented surge

    19) Email conversation viewing option as with SMS

    20) the os x data detectors or whatever so you can make a contact or a cal event etc
    21) for all those who ache for it, cal, to do and notes sync

  • http://home.comcast.net/~daguy daGUY

    I think there will definitely be a new home screen in 3.0. The current home screen was designed before the App Store, so it was never really meant to be used with tons and tons of applications. Swiping left and right between 9 different screens feels like a stopgap solution and isn’t really efficient.

    I think the easiest way to improve it would be to add a row of tabs at the top for different groups of applications. Then you could get to any app with two taps – one to switch to the tab (if you’re not already on it), two to launch the app.

    I’d also like to see (if they could pull it off) some kind of Spotlight-style functionality, where you could search for a term and it would spit back all emails, photos, songs, etc. that matched.

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