Apple will host an invite-only “iPhone OS 3.0 Software” on Tuesday, March 17. There are a lot of speculations around these days what Apple will present on that day.
Before we go into detail what we might see on Tuesday, let’s talk about some widespread but weird rumors of what iPhone OS 3.0 is all about:
- Tethering – we all love to have it – but I think we won’t see this in iPhone OS 3.0: Operators most fear this option – and even the “open” T-Mobile G1 does not have that as a standard feature. So this probably will not be one of the groundbreaking new features for Apple to come along with iPhone OS 3.0.
- Copy-and-Paste – a missing feature from the first day of the iPhone. Apple may include this feature into the iPhone – but this only may be a marginal note within the presentation. BTW Apple solved the “copy and paste” challenge many years ago with the fabulous Message Newton Pad
- MMS – maybe Apple finally included MMS into the iPhone. But let’s be honest: MMS was one of the big flops in the mobile industry: Nearly nobody needs them, they are expensive and you often don’t know if the other one can receive them. So, MMS is nothing special and we probably won’t really miss it.
So let’s take a closer look on the invitation itself. What does it show: Blueprints of iPhone OS 3.0 Software. And there is probably only one reason why Apple will share “blueprints” of the upcoming OS to the media: Major changes to the OS and the SDK and this implies mayor changes to the underlying hardware. There will be new hardware this summer as the first 2 year contracts for the iPhone 2G are ending – and those users of the first hour need something new they’ll be thrilled about. But the reason for Apple to talk about an “advanced preview on what we’re building” must be something else: They need all iPhone developers to join forces for the new things to come:
- Background tasks or push notifications – Apple promised to introduce the Apple Push Notification Service for 3rd parties in June 2008 – so we probably will hear more on push notification or even background processes on the iPhone in general. This also would open up a lot of new possibilities to enrich existing apps and create new app and game concepts from the ground up.
- Springboard – handling lot’s of applications on the “homescreen” of the iPhone is a mess these days. When the iPhone was launched nobody dreamed of users who want to have hundreds of (paid) apps on their iPhone. But the iPhone is the first mobile platform where users really do download and buy apps like crazy. So Apple might come with an innovation in this field which also opens up some new opportunities for developers – especially if Apple combines it with notification or background features.
- Video – One mayor step would be the smooth integration of video into the OS and the SDK. Video recording is a convenience on platforms like Symbian, android or even Windows Mobile.
- Direct camera access for augmented reality apps – If Apple also improves the SDK so applications can access the camera directly, this would also open up the possibilities for absolutely new application and game concepts: augmented reality. There have been a few augmented reality games on the Symbian platform – and they are gorgeous!
- Gyro compass – as the first android-phone has one – so Apple may integrate this into the iPhone, too. This feature would be very interesting for implementing new ways of interaction – especially for navigation and gaming apps.
- Shared information between apps – every iPhone app is sandboxed these days. So there is no (legal) way to transfer information from one application to an other besides pictures. This also would be a great opportunity for iPhone developers.
- Variable screen sizes – introducing different screen sizes into the iPhone OS would make it much more flexible in the direction of rumors like the iPhone tablet with a 10″ display or iPhones with an HD-display. And it would be a lot of work for all developers to polish the app interfaces to look great on different screen sizes. But I’m not sure whether Apple will open the pandora’s box of different screen sizes for the iPhone OS. Maybe they stay with one screen resolution and realize other gadgets like the rumored MacBook touch with the upcoming Mac OS Snow Leopard.
My2cents for tomorrow