Apple whips America into frenzy by fixing iPhone’s most glaring omissions

forstall.png

Scott Forstall – Photo:acaben

Apple showed off the third version of its iPhone operating system today, introducing features long-desired by fans: cut and paste, multimedia messaging, push email notification, landscape mode text entry and turn-by-turn GPS navigation.

The cut-and-paste announcement, which reportedly drew cheers, works across applications and includes undo support. Accompanying it are new programming hook-ins for application developers.

Multimedia messaging means that iPhone users will no longer have to visit a crappy AT&T web page to view pictures sent from many other cellphones.

The imminent release of Palm’s Pre cellphone, hailed as the first device to challenge Apple’s on its own technological turf, brought the iPhone’s shortcomings into sharp relief. The updates, some hankered for since the gadget’s original 2007 launch, seek to address this issue.

iPhone OS 3 will be available in the summer as a free update to iPhone customers and to iPod Touch users for $10. Owners of the original iPhone won’t get MMS or stereo bluetooth.

Users didn’t get everything they wanted.

The frequently-expressed hope that Apple would permit programs to run in the background will remain just that. Battery life and performance constraints were cited as reasons.

Adobe’s Flash technology, which could allow better web-based apps and games outside of the official App Store, is still not in. AT&T will not yet offer a tethering plan, though Apple itself supports it.

Nor was the fabled Apple Tablet PC or netbook announced, despite a spasm of 11th hour rumors.

Scott Forstall, Apple’s SVP of iPhone software, also introduced:

• Peer-to-peer linkups between individual iPhones — great for gaming, collaborative work and sharing business cards or other files.

• The ability for developers to create custom applications that communicate directly with specialist hardware, even using bluetooth or custom protocols. Examples given included an FM transmitter with advanced controls, and a a remote blood pressure monitor.

• Google Maps as a public API, meaning that developers can embed them in programs.

• Server-side email search using IMAP, and more search options throughout the system.

Forstall also said that there would also be general enhancements to the App Store. Magazine subscriptions, expansions for games and eBooks will all gain special channels in the system. Developers will also be allowed to sell such items from inside their own applications.

Greg Joswiak, Apple’s VP of hardware marketing, told gathered writers and reporters that the iPhone sold 13.7 million units worldwide in 2008. In total, there are now 30 million iPhones and iPod touches sold, creating a vast market for software sold at the App Store.

Also at the event:

• JD Power ranked the iPhone #1 for customer satisfaction, according to Forstall.

• EA announced Sims 3 for iPhone, while Ngcomo announced a Nintendogs-like pet game and a multiplayer first-person shooter that works over the ‘net.

• Web-based instant messaging service Meebo demoed its new iPhone client, made possible by the push notification service.

• Oracle’s Hody Crouch introduced a selection of fascinating business applications.

(Headline suggested by Pete Mortensen)

About Rob Beschizza

Rob Beschizza is the Managing Editor of Boing Boing. He's @beschizza on Twitter and can be found on Facebook too. Try your luck at besc...@gmail.com

 

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58 Responses to Apple whips America into frenzy by fixing iPhone’s most glaring omissions

  1. cowtown says:

    I’ve always wondered why they didn’t have a virtual clickwheel as an option on the iPhone. The ability to scroll forever (either way and at varying speeds) without lifting your finger was the one thing that always made me envy my wife’s various iPods (limited codecs, itunes lockin, and hidden files on the player kept me from switching). The flick scrolling and itty-bitty progress bar on her iPhone are a distinct step back, imho.

  2. ausPPC says:

    Why is BB so eager to report on Apple/iPhone when the best response to Apple’s BS is to ignore them?

    Better yet would be to satirize – iSod, anybody? Oh wait, that’s only for Apple management.

    Apple. Bend over different.

  3. arkizzle says:

    MDH, but you would have had to wait until “summer” for it. Now, for $10 extra, you get 3 months extra iPod use! :)

  4. dawllyllama says:

    when are people going to learn that apple loves beta testing at the public’s expense?

  5. dculberson says:

    MDH, they may not charge you for it; I don’t know what the cutoff is but they sometimes have a “free” upgrade period for iPod Touch users.

  6. mdh says:

    when are people going to learn that apple loves beta testing at the public’s expense?

    Yes, quite unlike Microsoft. Pffffffft.

  7. remmelt says:

    Pfff. The only people more pathetic than the Apple fanbois are the anti-Apple fanbois.

  8. HeatherB says:

    Arkizzle: Not so
    * MMS messaging is available only on iPhone 3G; fees may apply. MMS may not be available in all areas.

    That is directly from Apple’s own website.
    http://www.apple.com/iphone/preview-iphone-os/

    Once again, not wasting my money.

  9. meehawl says:

    People “cheering” for being allowed to cut and paste? In 2009? That’s really sad.

  10. glitterboyblue says:

    Two things I’d like to see with the new dock connector api: vintage video game controls, midi in/out

  11. franko says:

    i love how all the tech bloggers spin this “cut & paste” news: instead of acknowledging that apple is listening to its users and making changes — albeit grudgingly — everyone finds a way to bitch and moan more. what, you’d like it better if they just kept pretending they couldn’t hear you?

    i for one didn’t miss cut & paste much at all. i’m happy it will be implemented for the times when i DID find a use for it, but overall, meh.

  12. HeatherB says:

    “OK Heather, you didn’t get MMS, Those Bastards!

    In other news, customers complain that Ford won’t retrofit their cars with all the newest safety features.

    Heather, you bought a phone without the ability to MMS. YOU did. Now Apple have made it possible to do so on their semi-new phone. You own the old one.

    I own a couple of old laptops. They don’t have wireless or DVD drives.. should I swear off Apple because they won’t bring them up to the current specs?”

    Yes, I did buy the phone without MMS. But I will say I had no clue it didn’t have it. My own fault for not researching yes, but I figured since everyone raved about the phone it wouldn’t make me log onto another website to get pictures and the like.

    I’m not saying you should swear off Apple, nor am I saying that Apple is evil. All I’m saying is that I think it’s shit and I don’t like the fact that it won’t work with these updates and it pisses me off. They constantly want me to upgrade and they can screw themselves as far as I am concerned. I am not giving them anymore of my money. You can give them (and any other cell phone company you like) your money as much as you want.

    Personally I think cell phones in the states overall are shite. When I visit Europe I usually get one at Tesco’s and use it the whole time I am there. It works better and I get a better deal and I don’t care if I dump it when I leave.

    The iPhone has been nothing but a disappointment to me since I got it. It’s only redeeming quality to me is the email interface. Other than that, it’s ugly, touchy, crashes, doesn’t make listening to music while driving easy and has me log on to the AT&T website to get pictures that people send me. If I didn’t have a contract and hadn’t spent so much of my money on it I would toss it in the trash with my past phones from Tescos.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Buy 1st-generation iPod Touch at launch in September 2007 for $300-$400.

    January 2008: Mail, Maps, Stocks, Notes and Weather available for $20.

    July 2008: 2.0. Mail, Maps, Stocks, Notes and Weather, and App Store access for $10. Already bought the January update? You still pay $10. Later, you get 2.1 (push e-mail, calculator) and 2.2 (podcasts, home button functions, autocorrect).

    June 2009: Spotlight, copy and paste, broader landscape support, micropayments. (Is push on the touch too?) $10. No Bluetooth, since you bought 1st-gen.

    So, if you bought all the updates, your Apple early-adopter tax was 10%-13% of the purchase price. Prorated monthly, you’ll have paid $1.82 per month in upgrades between buying the device and the release of OS 3.

    Anyone happen to know if you can leapfrog from the last unpaid OS update (what is that, 1.1.5?) to OS 3 for $10, like you could with OS 2, or do you have to buy iPhone 2 first?

  14. kc0bbq says:

    Am I really in a frenzy?

  15. ausPPC says:

    #31

    Yeah. Makes sense. I sure wish I could join the crowd that feel they need to spend x-hundred bucks on a phone with restrictive user policies up the whazoo and then spend the rest of my life fawning over it.

  16. zuzu says:

    When a good time turns around
    You must whip it
    You will never live it down
    Unless you whip it
    No one gets away
    Until they whip it

    I say whip it
    Whip it good
    I say whip it
    Whip it good

  17. Clay says:

    @15 MDH

    This update isn’t coming out until the summer. You could have bought a Touch yesterday; you could buy it next month; you could buy it mid-June and it would still only have 2.0 out of the box. They may not even ship 3.0 with these until the next Touch comes out in September.

    I don’t think $10 is going to be enough to create an Osborne effect in this case.

  18. Nelson.C says:

    Considering that BB doesn’t tolerate Steampunk-haters from cluttering up Steampunk threads, and similar, I wonder if we can persuade the moderators to tweak the ears of the few Apple-haters who persist in registering their disapproval in any thread that mentions Apple?

  19. ausPPC says:

    #37

    Nope. What I’m actually saying is that the world is going to end because you can’t find your socks.

  20. seanboing says:

    Cut and paste, omg, I’ve had that on my blackberry since I got it a year ago… And I can record video… But I have no fart apps :(

  21. arkizzle says:

    OK Heather, you didn’t get MMS, Those Bastards!

    In other news, customers complain that Ford won’t retrofit their cars with all the newest safety features.

    Heather, you bought a phone without the ability to MMS. YOU did. Now Apple have made it possible to do so on their semi-new phone. You own the old one.

    I own a couple of old laptops. They don’t have wireless or DVD drives.. should I swear off Apple because they won’t bring them up to the current specs?

  22. mdh says:

    Who needs a fart app when you already have a BlackBerry?

  23. gnosis says:

    @Jitrobug – I agree!

  24. hemidemisemiquaver says:

    Apple Strategy 101 : On first release, withhold crucial features every competing product has, lying that they are infeasible (viz. applications on iPhone 1.0). Watch as everyone screams with delight when you eventually provide them in an update.

  25. Nelson.C says:

    I’m not an uncritical Apple fanboy — though I am an Apple fanboy — and I don’t mind critical commentary, in the post or in the comments. What I’m objecting to is the Apple-haters in the comments whose dogs were all poisoned by Steve Jobs and can’t seem to find anything to say except that they hate Apple and Apple fanboys and hope we all die in a fire. It’s boring.

  26. arkizzle says:

    #27 Heather

    Seeing as how all of this won’t apply to my first generation iPhone I don’t care. I’m so done with Apple and the lot of them. They all suck and I’m not wasting my money on any of this. Soon as I can get rid of this stupid iPhone I will.

    All of the new OS stuff (minus the bluetooth) is applicable to the 1st Gen iPhone.

  27. bardfinn says:

    I can see how push notifications would make some requests from some of my clients/customers/acquaintances/friends be plausible whereas before the only way I could see to do their requests was to have access to the system crontab (DENIED from the SDK/Licensing).

    Time to begin writing.

  28. GadgetGav says:

    @ Nelson C. That’s not going to happen. They’d have to ban Rob Beschizza who wrote the article.
    BB’s anti-Apple bias is really starting to show.

  29. colonel gentleman says:

    AUSPPC,

    Paying $10 to upgrade the OS on a 2 year-old device is equal to anal rape?

  30. Rob Beschizza says:

    Yeah, I agree. This is supposed to be fun, right?

  31. Rob Beschizza says:

    I love Apple.

    You’re just not interested when we praise them.

  32. arkizzle says:

    Heather, fair enough. Sounds like you’ve had a shitty experience.

    I got the Touch and a cheap-ass phone, for the exact reasons you listed. It hasn’t crashed yet, and I don’t find it touchy at all.

    Hope your next phone/device is better :)

  33. Garr says:

    I’m picturing a Roman scholar, in 100 B.C., adressing the Senate:

    “And now behold, in awe, my newest creation!”, elaborately undraping -whoosh- a circular construct:

    “I call it ‘THE WHEEL’”

    A huge roar erupts from the ranks of unbelieving Romans, the scribes furiously scribbling away on their wax tablets while elsewhere the Egyptian slaves take in the scene with a bemused roll of the eyes.

    But then, we’re talking Apple fans here, and judging by my room mate (who literally spends 3 hours a day drooling on some Macrumors website) I really shouldn’t wonder.

  34. Lonin says:

    CONFIRMED, BOING BOING GADGETS HAS BIAS CHIP.

  35. arkizzle says:

    This was a pretty good set of stuff people wanted. Technologizer’s technical hitches made the coverage a little delayed, but it was fun to chat there and collate the data coming off the other sites.

  36. The Lizardman says:

    @11 Your bad (my opinion) decisions as a consumer are not a reasonable (my opinion) defense of poor design and exploitive practices on the part of apple. You’re right that not everything is free and I will concede $10 is not a huge sum but letting yourself be convinced that a lack of basic standard features at purchase is not a big deal and then accepting being made to pay for them later isn’t something I could get on board with.

  37. Rob Beschizza says:

    Besides, what in this article is “anti-apple?” Are you commenting on the headline? Really?

  38. sleze says:

    Will OS3 support the Cydia App Store? err…whoops!

  39. mdh says:

    I guess I will just have to cut $10 from my wallet and paste it to Steve, again.

  40. colonel gentleman says:

    I’m sorry, is $10 a lot of money now?

  41. The Lizardman says:

    I would be willing to say kudos to them for finally getting around to this but not if they charging for it.

  42. FnordX says:

    The Palm Pre? The first phone to challenge the iPhone?

    I guess my Android handset is just a figment of my imagination, and, instead of making calls on it, I’m just one of those crazy people on the street talking to myself?

  43. makuus says:

    @Franko

    I wholeheartedly agree. At the risk of being set upon and verbally savaged by members of the great Apple horde, I would express my considered opinion that, as an avid iPhone user–and satisfied convert–I consider copy/paste to be the most over-hyped “missing feature”.

    While I have found a few times when it would have been /useful/, none of those times have been what I would consider critical enough to have warranted the sheer vitriol coming off of my circle of acquaintances (at least one of whom have said their seven-year-old Kyocera was a much better phone for having the feature) and the Web world at large.

    And now, having seen the precise little jig I will have to do with my too-fat fingers to get the feature to work, I’m still not convinced it was the best thing to clamor for.

  44. mdh says:

    colonel gentleman, my iPod touch was released after Obama was elected, furthermore, my wazoo is not where you imagine it is you filthy monkey.

    and arkizzle, you’re right of course.

  45. Anonymous says:

    I don’t miss Flash. At all.

    /Very/ rarely do I ever want it guzzling the battery on my laptop’s web browser. Why would I want it on my phone?

    I’m also a little worried about how apps can have DLC now, and that I’m going to end up getting nickel-and-dime’d on everything (the picture with ‘buy a rocket launcher for $.99!’ is a good example)

    I am very glad that they /finally/ got push notifications. Took them long enough.

  46. lumpi says:

    @hemidemisemiquaver: Sharp… and probably true.

  47. arkizzle says:

    ..not if they charging for it.

    We, who did, bought these devices based on their functionality, not on the missing features.
    I’m not that annoyed to have to spend $10 to get a lot of new functionality that wasn’t available on this device when I bought it.

    Free would be great, but not everything is.

  48. arkizzle says:

    Fnordx, Andoid exists.. but is it challenging the iPhone?

    (In any way better than, say, OS X is ‘challenging’ Windows?)

  49. WeightedCompanionCube says:

    Apple Strategy 101 : On first release, withhold crucial features every competing product has, lying that they are infeasible (viz. applications on iPhone 1.0). Watch as everyone screams with delight when you eventually provide them in an update.

    They never lied. Apple won’t go on record as saying a device can do something if it’s not as close to perfection as they can get it.

    Software-wise, adding applications (officially) wasn’t possible in 1.0 because it didn’t have the app store to support it. Sure, you could jailbreak and do it… but if you do that, you kind of lose the right to whine about what the phone doesn’t do out of the box. A lot more people would be complaining if the phone had 10 more features and none of them worked right.

    Certain features weren’t feasible in iPhone 1.0 because the older iPhone hardware doesn’t support them. The original iPhone’s EDGE and Bluetooth radios can’t do MMS and A2DP, respectively.

    So, they build the iPhone 3G with hardware that can do it, but they were more concerned about good app functionality (which everyone uses, it’s WHY you get an iPhone) over trickier or more marginal features like MMS and A2DP.

    As for video.. it’s not like a still photo. The camera can do it, but how do you manipulate it? Much like Cut & Paste, I’m willing to bet video is coming down the pipe, just as soon as they figure out a good touch UI for it.

  50. scaught says:

    And they did it all without Steve on stage. Can we calm down now?

  51. dculberson says:

    Rob, you have to realize you will never, ever even remotely please some people. If you say “The iPhone is great but it has flaws,” you will have 10% of people saying “damn, you sure suck Apple’s cock!!” and 10% of people saying “I can’t believe you are so anti-Apple!!!” whereas the other 80% or so will be somewhere inbetween.

    I wish there was a way to operate a site that alienated or eliminated the outliers but it’s just not possible.. sadly.

    I don’t mind people saying “I don’t like the iPhone because of X” but I hate it when people accuse BBG of having anti- and pro- Apple bias. (or any other company, for that matter.) It’s amazing to me that the same post can elicit completely opposite responses, but the people making the accusations don’t have any insight into how unreasonable they are.

  52. jitrobug says:

    I want player UI improvements and better podcast downloading.

    Rewinding in a podcast is AWFUL – the clickwheel was hugely better than a 2 inch progress bar (operated by a half inch wide finger) when you just want to go back 20 seconds in an hour long podcast…

    and I love that it can download podcasts now, but it feels like such a hack that it has to switch over to safari on the way to itunes, and once you’re in itunes, it has no idea which content you do or don’t already have.

  53. dculberson says:

    Makuus, my wife had that Kyocera! That was a freakin’ BEAST. It was really cool for the time, though. Sadly it got stolen from her car when she left it unlocked in our own driveway one night..

  54. mdh says:

    I’m sorry, is $10 a lot of money now?

    No, but I dropped a lot more than that mere weeks ago on an iTouch, and had I waited it would be $10 less.

    I’m an apple fan boy, I’m quite used to it.

  55. HeatherB says:

    Seeing as how all of this won’t apply to my first generation iPhone I don’t care. I’m so done with Apple and the lot of them. They all suck and I’m not wasting my money on any of this. Soon as I can get rid of this stupid iPhone I will.

  56. mdh says:

    and, everything jitrobug @ 14 said.

  57. Hellosluggo says:

    Good the hear about the MMS upgrade. It’s gotten to the point that I simply ignore MMS messages sent from friends because to the ridiculous username/password combinations to view the message attachment at AT&T’s MMS website.

    But where’s video support for the camera? The longer they wait to integrate this feature, the more ridiculous it becomes that it’s not offered.

    I STILL feel a jailbreak coming on…

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