At a special media event today, Apple previewed a slew of new and impressive iPhone OS features, including Cut and Paste, MMS, and support for turn by turn directions. Apple also highlighted the impressive growth of the iTunes App Store. Overall, 3.0 is a huge update, and the developer beta is already available. For the rest of us, the 3.0 update will be available this Summer, and will be free to all 3G customers. iPod Touch users, as usual, will have to pay $9.95 for the upgrade.
The App Store is Thriving
Before introducing some of the upcoming features in the iPhone OS 3.0 software, Apple’s VP of iPod and iPhone Marketing, Greg Joswiak, dropped a little big of app store information on us. Put simply, the app store continues to thrive, and growth continues to accelerate.
Joswiak revealed that there have now been over 800 million apps downloaded from iTunes in just 8 months. To put that into context, Apple announced in mid-January that there had been over 500 million app store downloads. So in 2 months time, app store downloads increased by over 50%. But app store growth isn’t just increasing, its accelerating. It initially took Apple 5 months to reach 300 million downloads. Now, 300 million downloads happen in the span of just 2 months.
Ever since the App Store first launched, there’s been a lot of controversy regarding what programs Apple rejects from the app store, in addition to complaints from developers that Apple takes too long to approve applications. On that point, Joswiak pointed out that 96% of all applications are accepted into the app store, and that 98% of apps are approved in less than 7 days. One final point of interest from Joswiak was that over 50,000 companies and individuals had signed up for Apple’s developer program, and that more 60% of them had never coded for an Apple platform before.
iPhone OS 3.0
Apple announced today that the new iPhone OS 3.0 would include a number of features users have been wishing for ever since the iPhone was first unveiled.
Cut and Paste – The most glaring omission from the iPhone OS has long been copy and paste. But Apple has finally addressed that, and cut and paste will be included in the iPhone 3.0 software update. Kevin Rose’s prediction as to how it would work seems pretty on the mark. Users double tap on text, which then brings up a selection box that users can slide over the desired area. From there, they are given the option to either cut, copy, or paste.
MMS – Another notable omission from the iPhone has been support for MMS, or picture messaging. Well it will finally be supported in iPhone OS 3.0
Push Notifications – After being delayed for months, push notifications will finally arrive. Scott Forstall acknowledged that Apple has been late in delivering this feature, and explained the reason for the delay:
“We expected to have this last year, and we didn’t. There’s a few reasons for this. Within months of launching the App Store, we had 1000’s of apps. And lots of devs came to us and talked about using Push in ways that we hadn’t even considered. So we had to re-architect the server structure.”
No Background Processes – Users still won’t be able to run apps in the background, however. Forstall pointed out that internal testing at Apple revealed that running apps in the background was a HUGE drain on battery life, sometime lowering standby time by as much as 80%. In contrast, Forstall noted that push notificatoins only drain standby time by around 23%.
Turn by Turn Directions – Apple also announced that turn by turn directions will also be supported. In addition, developers will able to embed Google maps directly into their apps.
App subscriptions for interested developers – Developers can now choose to sell an app for a specific period of time, and earn extra revenue from customers interested in renewing that subscription. Developers can also sell extra levels of a game, from within the game, to customers for an extra fee.
Peer to Peer connectivity – Forstall noted that with the iPhone’s new API, Touch and iPhone users can find people running the same app, form an IP connection with them, and subsequently game together.
Other features include:
Landscape Mode for all Apps
To check out a liveblog of the event, we recommend Gizmodo. Check it out over here.