Posted by: Bob Pfeiffer | June 18, 2009

iPhone OS 3.0 Review and Thoughts

I got my hands on OS 3.0 and here are my thoughts after playing with it for about 24 hours.

The install was pretty painless. It downloaded quickly and the first time it tried to install I got an error about being unable to connect to the Apple server but I just clicked install again and it installed fine. Took about 20 minutes or so.

First of all lets look at the items listed in my previous blog entry to see how the new features pan out:

  • Cut, Copy & Paste – This turns out to be the best feature of the new OS release. It works great, it works in all native apps and it’s fun to see how many of the third party apps it also works in.
  • Landscape Keyboard (in mail, message and notes) – This works as expected and was sorely needed.
  • MMS – I’m assuming this works well but I didn’t test it and honestly don’t really care as I don’t use MMS.
  • Spotlight Search – This is a great feature. It’s easy to get to as you have multiple ways of accessing it. You can swipe left to right or press the home button from the first application screen or set up your home button to allow access with a double press. It searches everything and it searches super quickly. For any application that’s not on the first 2 pages of applications, this is the way to start them up.
  • Voice Memos – This application works well and is easy to use. It creates a .m4v file that you can email and it will also sync the voice memos into iTunes so you can access them there and convert to mp3 if you want. I was able to delete a third party application now that this is a native app.
  • Improved Calendar – Since I don’t use Exchange I couldn’t test creating meetings with Exchange ActiveSync and CalDAV support. Nothing else is changed that I can see and I’m disappointed in that.
  • Buy TV, Movies and Audiobooks – Looks like at this point there is quite a selection of these including iTunes U which could be interesting. I’m surprised to see some of the US television series. That might be a hole that Apple will end up closing.
  • Enhanced Stock App – it works. Who cares?
  • Safari Improvements – browsing is definitely faster and the autofill feature is great although I had to create a new contact for myself for the info I wanted autofilled into contest pages.
  • Internet Tethering – I tried this out and it works perfectly. I was able to surf on the 3G network on my laptop and the experience was pretty good. This might come in handy at the trailer.
  • Stereo Bluetooth – I had a little trouble connecting my Motorola headphones but once I got it working, it worked great. I was able to pause, change the volume and even take and make phone calls all directly from the headset. I didn’t even know my headphones had that feature. 🙂
  • Automatic Wi-Fi Login – Couldn’t test this.
  • Sync Notes – This did not work. Again, because I am a Vista user, I am unable to sync because iTunes says that I don’t have a supported Notes application. I can’t sync my Calendar for the same reason. I’m starting to get annoyed.
  • Parental Controls – I didn’t test this.
  • iTunes Store Account – you can log out  and log back into a different account right on the iTunes or App store. It’s great for allowing me to log into my U.S. account to update the U.S. only apps that I have downloaded.
  • YouTube login – for some reason I cannot log into my YouTube account.
  • Shake to Shuffle – this works but I don’t see the point really.
  • New Languages – I didn’t test this.
  • Find My Phone and Remote Wipe –I am not going to sign up for MobileMe to test this.
  • Peer to Peer Games – I haven’t testing this yet either. I don’t think any of my games support this feature.

Some of the other features not previously listed or “hidden” are:

  • vcard support – You can now sent contact information via email or MMS. Nice feature. I had a third party app to do this that I can now delete.
  • adjustable song and video scrubbing speed – I don’t really see the point in this but you can change the speed that you “scrub” forward or back in songs and videos by dragging your finger up or down on the screen.
  • New Special Characters – they have added a bunch more  new “special” characters accessed by holding down a letter, number or character on the keyboard. They have added the ° special character which I am pleased about.
  • Quote fragment reply in email – you can select text in an email using the cut and paste feature and then when you hit the reply button, it creates the new email with the selected text under the email. Neato.
  • Remove individual text from a conversation – since I don’t use text messaging much, I don’t really care about this.
  • Open link in new tab – Safari now has a feature where if you tap and hold on a link it will bring up a selection box allowing you to open up the link in a new tab. I like this feature a lot.
  • Force Quit – They have changed the way that you do a force quit on a hung program.
  • Shake phone to undo typing – gimmicky feature. Another button on the Cut/Copy/Paste box would have been fine.
  • Unlimited number of apps – this is a truly hidden feature. They have changed the maximum number of application pages available from 9 to 11 but you can actually add more applications that you cannot access from these screens but you can still use the new Search function to use them.

Now for something I don’t like with the new upgrade (besides no Notes sync and no helpful Calendar changes). When you watch a video podcast, the screen now switches from landscape to portrait when you turn the phone. Arggggh. I hate this. I watch my podcasts at night and when laying down on my side, I could previously watch my podcasts in landscape mode. Now unless I hold it at just the right angle, it keeps flipping to portrait. I love the accelerometer features of the iPhone but if they use it in an application, they HAVE to give you a lock function to keep it in the correct orientation.

All in all, it’s a really good update and now that Documents to Go has an application and cut and paste is now doable, it’s going to be a lot easier to get information onto the iPhone.

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