iPhone OS 3.0: Quick Take

Imagine my surprise this morning when I hooked up my iPhone 3G to my computer…and down came iPhone OS 3.0. Here’s my quick take on it, after a half-day of use:

  • Spotlight: It’s awesome. If you’ve ever used Quicksilver on the Mac or Launchy on Windows, or, well, Spotlight, you get the idea. It’s a good way to find stuff quickly or launch apps that reside deep in the phone. Also: there’s finally a good purpose to the home button shortcut – set the home button to launch Spotlight (in your Settings), and you can access it anytime, as opposed to swiping to the right on the first iPhone screen.
  • Landscape keyboard: It’s OK. I mean, if this is what you’ve been yearning for, it’s great. I like it, myself, but I’m used to using the portrait keyboard, so it’s kind of a wash for me.
  • Voice memos: Not gonna lie – I’m kind of meh about this. If you’re the kind of person that’s into it, it’s great; otherwise, not really exciting. I will say this, though – I do some speechwriting, and this app is GREAT for recording stray thoughts and passages that pop into my mind for later recording.
  • Cut & paste: PHENOMENAL. Look, I’m not gonna be like that guy who wrote a novel on his iPaq; that said, the ability to cut & paste snippets of text across different applications is awesome, and on the iPhone, it’s well implemented.
  • Tethering/MMS: AT&T FAIL. You can’t send MMS till AT&T enables this function. You also can’t tether the phone for quick, on-the-go browsing until – you got it! – AT&T enables this as well. Of the two, I can’t say I miss MMS, since I’ve never used it, ever, in any phone. Tethering, on the other hand…for a guy with my job, lack of tethering options (besides those hacks available through jailbreaking) is a killer.
  • Push notifications: are NON-EXISTENT. Whether that was an Apple decision or an AT&T decision, I don’t know – and don’t care. If I had to give a demerit, this would be it. Without push notifications (like the kind you get from, say, texts currently) some apps are essentially worthless – particularly the IM apps.

So, biggest plus? Spotlight, followed closely by cut & paste. Biggest minus? No push notifications. Aside from that, I think it’s a phenomenal update. 9/10.

One final note: if I had to complain, it wouldn’t be about Apple; it would be about AT&T. It’s becoming beyond obvious that AT&T is holding the iPhone back, with their arbitrary decisions on apps & data usage. Don’t be surprised if that’s what ends up leading Apple to seek other/more American carriers for the iPhone.

The biggest problem with that is that the other major player in the American wireless scene is Verizon – and if anything, they’re even more inflexible than AT&T. The other two players – Sprint & T-Mobile – are far smaller, and T-Mobile, in particular, is problematic, because their 3G spectrum is different from everyone else’s.

My guess is that Apple waits until 2011, when the 4G rollout is well underway, to essentially go it’s own way & market the iPhone regardless of carrier. Why 4G? If memory and understanding serves me correctly, 4G will be standard across the 4 networks.

Bottom line: this is an update worth having, by any consideration.

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