Daniel Eran Dilger
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Apple Q&A sheds light on iPhone 3.0

 Www.Engadget.Com Media 2009 03 Apple-2009-Iphone-3-1450-Rm

Prince McLean, AppleInsider

Apple executives Scott Forstall, Phil Schiller and Greg Joswiak answered a series of questions from reporters about the iPhone 3.0 platform, providing some addition information outside of that presented in the prepared comments.

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Copy and paste priority

When asked by a reporter from Time why Apple took so long to deliver “obvious” copy and paste features, Forstall replied that it wasn’t that easy, and that security issues needed to be resolved with copying information between applications.

Unlike most other smartphones’ operating systems, the iPhone offers real security between applications managed by the operating system, rather than implicitly trusting whatever software a user might load from any source.

Flash panned, again

Asked about support for Adobe Flash, Apple said it has no announcements on that front, instead deflecting attention to the fact that the phone supports H.264 video streams, and adds new support for HDTV streaming for audio and video.

Video playback is the main use of Flash on the web outside of animating advertisements. However, a variety of major sites that use Flash for video on the web, including YouTube, CBS Mobile, and the BBC, now push standard H.264 video to the iPhone directly.

Tethering

When asked about tethering, the use of the iPhone as a gateway for sharing its mobile connection with a notebook computer, Forstall answered, “We’re supporting tethering in the client side, we’re building that support in. We’re working with our carriers around the world. We are building that support in.”

Peer-to-Peer and Bluetooth

The new Bonjour-enabled discovery of other devices will use Bluetooth exclusively, Apple said. That will enable the discovery service, used to allow gamers to participate in multiplayer titles for example, to work without disconnecting from WiFi internet, without needing any configuration, and without requiring mobile network access.

When asked if developers could send out audio files over Bluetooth, the group remained stumped for a moment before Forestall answered, “I think probably not — you couldn’t move the file.”

  • John E

    Argh! no one asked if they were going to improve the App store to make it easier to find stuff or make it easier to organize lots of apps on the iPhone.

  • dallasmay

    I wonder why Apple doesn’t have a “App Store” for their regular laptops and desktops. For that matter Microsoft doesn’t either. I don’t know anyone who has a simple way to find, download, and install new applications. Apple could easily add an App Store to the finder or even iTunes. I don’t understand why this isn’t already here.

  • John E

    And so today was all software and no hardware news. that’s fair, there is definitely a lot to chew on …

    but when does the other shoe drop? what about the hardware? the camera/video? the processor chip? and of course, new products (Apple can’t stand pat)? the WWDC? a special event in May?

  • http://www.muir.tumblr.com John Muir

    @ dallasmay

    Apple don’t have an App Store on the Mac because the iPhone ecosystem is overriding priority number one. Why? Because the company is smart enough to fully realise that this is the second opportunity in 25 years to establish a major platform.

    Daniel’s written many times about how the desktop was lost. The Mac was so far ahead of DOS it was ridiculous, yet DOS won and Microsoft was able to take 11 years to finally push out a half assed clone of the Mac OS to secure its total dominance.

    Think of it this way: where would Apple rather have a few thousand new developers right now? On the Mac, where they are just a drop in the ocean of desktop software development; or on the iPhone where they have just overtaken the entire competition?

    With the iPhone, Apple itself made a second chance to win the future. Cupertino is absolutely determined not to make the same mistakes again!

    As for why Windows has no App Store: that one is just down to Microsoft being blind to it.

  • http://www.muir.tumblr.com John Muir

    @ John E

    I don’t know why you were expecting new hardware. The event’s title was pretty specific about what today was about!

    There’s big interest of course in just when Apple broadens the iPhone / touch line. Plenty of talk all over the place siding between larger tablets and cut down nano phones.

    I think it’s bull. I’ve been convinced Apple is focusing on the iPhone like crazy as a platform, and the way they’re doing it is as a single target device (give or take the camera and 3G). Offering different screen sizes – although obviously a good thing for consumers who want different models – is a nightmare for developers who right now have a truly unified platform to code for. Diversity is ultimately all but inescapable, but in the meantime Apple is going as far as it can go with the unified approach. The advantages may well be worth it for these opening years.

    As for the App Store: the plan there seems to be all about search. Spotlight as the all new homescreen makes a ton of sense. Why bother diddling around with hundreds of icons when you can remember a name? The same focus on text is also apparent on the App Store if you ever go there armed with a title or a keyword. That’s when it shines: on the device or the desktop. It’s how the iTunes store as a whole works the smoothest unless you really are just after the charts and featured promotions.

  • enzos

    I like the way this is playing… Apple is striding out with purpose and determination and sucking up all the oxygen in the room. Next step will probably be custom chip sets that offer speeds and efficiencies that others simply cannot match.

  • tomcole

    While my comment has nothing really to do with the iPhone 3.0 rollout, someone needs to take Mr. Schiller aside and talk to him about how he holds the microphone. This is either bad marketing, or very good marketing. I don’t think I can tell which…

  • http://blog.cytv.com cy_starkman

    What I have found most interesting about watching Apple go for it with the iPhone has been the careful intent in their actions. Not like a conspiracy, I am talking about demonstrating some real maturity in platform development.

    V1.0) People bagged on about no applications, EDGE and US only. But when considering the situation it was wise. Apple had just pumped huge energy into getting an OS and a Phone operating. I call the V1 EDGE the public beta test. Limited and managed. As for no 3G, what exactly would have been the point in a US release, there is barely a 3G network there now, let alone 2007.

    V2.0) Still no Cut/Paste, and all the nice trimmings. While I have endured the jokes of not being able to forward an SMS with the rest of the non-jailbreak set, I could see the reasoning. The Beta test was successful, but now Apple had to deal with multiple carriers and markets, rapidly, they had to move before AT&T was really ready, no where else would accept EDGE, it was 3G or broke and now there was Apps. So Apple spent year two dealing with the unknown again, massive scaling issues, thrashing out contracts, ensuring the App process has any chance of working. There was no time for sweet icing.

    V3.0) Okay, now they have some breathing space, as an organisation they have just managed to keep head above the massive wave. Time to start getting the features and cool shit rolling. It was obvious to me from the get go that copy and paste was a bigger issue, mostly with security, but also transparency, both for devs and users. The list of features and how they will be used in 3.0 is astounding.

    MMS to me is the most interesting. I’d say that one took Apple by surprise. Who needs MMS, you have email and in the USA it was never popular, because of the networks. The rest of the world had 3G but even then MMS hasn’t been the cash cow carriers had hoped for. Yet everyone, everywhere whined about it. I see it in the vein of the translucent menu bar of 10.5, not a hard one, just not one Apple thought anyone would care about.

    Reality was, that while you could use email, most iPhone users were not sending to other iPhones, but to other mobiles that had rubbish email viewing and MMS; and even though its been out for years it is only just gaining traction (my own experience demonstrates that) and people now want it.

    Another note I wanted to make was that the presentation focused on the boring and basic, it addressed the nay-sayers. All the really huge features barely got a mention, some just floated around as bits of text against the sphere graphics. I liked this. It was Apple marketing at its best.

    The accessories connectivity is going to be very interesting indeed. That also makes sense for 3.0. 1 = Beta, 2 = Open software, 3 = Open hardware. A wise and measured evolution to keep it from falling apart by doing too much too quick. Hardware keyboard anyone? Not that I care, but the howling still coming from resistant learners will dry up in the next six months.

    As for Turn by Turn. Well, even though the “news” sphere has moaned about this one for ever, it was never Apple, rather Google and who it licenses from. Tom-Tom demonstrated turn by turn with their own maps early in 2.0 (though never released). I suspect this app will now be coming day one of 3.0. I can imagine that there was a lot of back room talking about Google and its maps, negotiations which in the end got nowhere so “waiting on a deal” deal with Google left the table.

    As a final, here’s hoping that the in app purchasing of content cleans up the reams of crap that have populated the AppStore. I am so sick of swiping through guides for 50 cities, or the bloody freeway cams from each place. Even the “lite” version crap, now its either free, or you pay 99c for the “lite” app that internally can upgrade without wasting more shelf space.

    I look forward to downloading 3.0, I’ll wait till it rolls out even though I could get the beta. I’d prefer for it all to work nice. I actually need the thing to work.

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

    @Cy_starkman: I agree – Apple has been very, very smart in terms of how they’re going about this. The people who complained about missing features and the lack of third-party apps on Day 1 failed to see the big picture.

    It is much easier to start out with a closed device and gradually open it up than it is to release something completely open and then try to reign it in when you encounter problems. Apple knows that – just look at the path they’ve been following:

    – iPhone 1.0: completely closed, then added limited web apps
    – iPhone 2.0: opened to developers with “real” native apps
    – iPhone 3.0: download new content in-app, 1000 new APIs

    With each step, they made sure the foundation was stable before building on top of it. Because of that approach, they can release new firmware that doesn’t break any existing apps, since developers are only allowed to use public (stable) APIs. As a result, a large majority of the user base upgrades to the latest software, which in turn allows developers to immediately build apps that take advantage of those new features. The cycle repeats, and that’s what keeps the iPhone ahead.

  • sharp_jiang

    I love iphone more and more as time goes by.

  • GwMac

    I still don’t understand why they can’t figure out a way to do multitasking with several apps open at once. I understand that it can drain the battery a little bit faster, but that would be a sacrifice I would gladly accept. The new “push” might at least solve that. I just hope it will work for Fring. I am just wondering how you could be signed on to Skype, AIM, Yahoo, etc. so that it shows you as online to your friends.

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

    @GwMac: I don’t think it’s that they can’t figure how to do it, it’s that they don’t want to. At the event, they discussed how they tested running an IM app in the background on both Windows Mobile and RIM phones – it caused standby time to drop by 80%! That’s not a little hit, that’s almost a complete halving of battery life. And people already complain now about how the iPhone’s battery doesn’t last long enough!

    The only problem I see with using push instead of background processes is that it’s not a solution for every app. It works fine for an IM client, but what about something like Pandora? There’s no way to have music playing without the process actually running, and push doesn’t change that.

    All that said, I think Apple will allow background processes in the future when they’re able to release an iPhone with a long enough battery life – just like how they didn’t add 3G until they could get the battery life high enough. Right now they’re not happy with how it would work, and I don’t think users would be either.

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

    EDIT: ignore my statement about it being “almost a complete halving of battery life” – I was thinking 40% instead of 80% for some reason.

  • OlsonBW

    How about making it so my iPhone will sync with my Prius?

    Thankfully they are finally making it so that 3rd party devices can talk a lot easier and better with third party docking items. I’m hoping that Dice Electronics can take advantage of this with their product for connecting iPods/iPhones to cars and play music.

  • OlsonBW

    Spotlight on the phone – I’m actually hoping that it will also see that I have clocks and weather for specific places so that if I type in Tokyo or Seattle it will also allow me to find and look at the time and weather for there as well as e-mails, contacts, websites, programs…

  • OlsonBW

    Has anyone stopped to think that the license Google has does not include the rights to do on the go turn by turn directions? They, like what Apple is saying about 3rd party companies not being able to use the Google maps for turn by turn on the iPhone/iTouch, it might be because Google doesn’t have the rights either.

  • http://blog.cytv.com cy_starkman

    @ Olson

    That is in fact the case. It’s not Apple that was saying no, it was the company providing Google with it’s maps.

    One could imagine that there was some back and forth over the last year, concluding that it wasn’t in either Google or Apple’s interest to upgrade the license.

    This is great though, because as I recall Tom-Tom showed their technology running as an App a year ago, now when 3.0 comes, so will that App!