Today, I watched the liveblogs coverage of the Apple iPhone OS 3 update. And I wasn’t the only one:
As I do a lot of iPhone stuff these days (more on that later, everything is still confidential..), I do have an opinion on todays release.
Things that I’m most exited about in the new iPhone OS (in no particular order ):
This is great. Previously streaming video was only possible by using quite complex hacks, on both ends of the stream (encoding the video into a special format, download that, unpack it on the phone). There were some parties that made it work, but it was really complex. Now it will work “out of the box”
Obviously this is useful for live events, as you can now watch them as they happen. They can now be streamed to an iPhone near you. But it’s also great for non-live events. I have talked to quite a few media moguls these days, and most made clear that there is quite a rights issue between downloading content, and streaming it. These parties don’t have the rights to offer their content for download, but they are allowed to stream it over the interwebs. With this announcement, they now can, to your iPhone.
Native Maps component
A lot of mobile software does something with maps: Mobile devices are portable by definition, so they make a lot of sense to show maps of the environment. And while the iPhone had a pretty good mapping application, until now you couldn’t use it in an application. You could link to it, but that would kick the user out of your application, into maps, without a simple way back . The other option was to show a webbased map in your app. But those are slower than the native maps, and have less interface options. For example: While google maps now does support pitching int their webbased apps, it doesn’t do the smooth resizing the native maps does, and which look nice. The addition of native maps is something I expected, but which will be quite usefull.
By the way, that other new mobile platform has had a native mapping component from the start.
While it’s great to have a good application platform, sometimes you want to be able to alert the user when he is not running your application. Especially when he can only run one application at the same time.For example, if you have a social application, you might want your phone to beep when your close to other users. Or when other things happen in the world.
To solve this, Apple already announced Push notifications a long time ago, but never got around to actually launching them. Today they announced they finally will. This enables developers to alert users of (hopefully) relevant updates.
And the rest
Other things are also nice: The subscription model makes a lot of sense for applications that provide an ongoing service (social networks, for example). Music access has been wished by many, copy/paste and MMS are finally here (what took you so long!).
I can’t wait to get to play with the new API’s. Now the only drawback of a new OS is that a big part of the audience will run the old OS for way too long..
More on the new SDK can be found at Apple
(The top picture is taken by Engadget )