Print 57 comment(s) - last by Whaaambulance.. on Mar 17 at 11:18 AM

Key software and hardware updates may be coming for the iPhone

DailyTech previously reported that Apple would soon be previewing the 3.0 version of its iPhone OS to the tech community.  With Apple's smartphone well positioned in the market, posting some of the strongest hardware sales of last year, the release of a new OS is a big event.  Many are hoping that the new OS will hint at new hardware or will offer some of the basic functionality like copy and paste which Apple has long denied its users.

The copy and paste rumors in particular are picking up steam.  Digg's Kevin Rose, a past clairvoyant with Apple predictions, claims to have the scoop on copy and paste.  He makes unconfirmed claims that copy/cut and paste will be implemented in the 3.0 OS.  The process, summarized on a Gizmodo blog is:

Cut and paste in 3.0:
- Users magnify or double tap a word to bring up cut and paste
- Pinch "boundaries" to select word(s); Rose called them "copy boundaries"
- Then you get option to cut, paste or copy

It is also rumored that MMS and video messaging will not be supported in the new OS.  Rumors about these features have been propagating for the last couple weeks, but recent reports from inside sources indicate that these desirable features are unfortunately not to be.

Another top rumor is that new hardware may be in the mix.  This rumor is fueled by the fact that every past x.0 iPhone OS release has corresponded to a new hardware release.  Many are speculating that a 32 GB iPhone will be released as a 32 GB iPod Touch already exists.  Further, some are going as far as to speculate that new processors/casing/etc. may be in the mix as well.

Finally, there are rumors about Apple tweaking how its applications run.  Apps have been a pillar of the iPhone 3G's wild success, but currently only one app can be active at a time.  According to Kevin Rose, the ability to have other apps running in the background will not be supported.  Apple has long said this is the case due to memory limitations.  However, the rumor is still popping up that Apple may support background operation for a limited number of apps.

Others are claiming Apple will institute a slightly different scheme -- push notifications.  This feature would allow non-running apps like IM clients to receive and display notifications (i.e. a popup when a new IM is received).  This would be one possible way of getting around the background limitations, possibly without using as much memory.

Ultimately, the iPhone 3.0 OS is Apple's chance to prove itself the superior competitor to the much anticipated Palm Pre phone.  While it is seemingly increasingly unlikely that Apple will be able to kill the multi-touch Pre with litigation (Apple has a rather ambiguous patent on multi-touch, while the Pre is the first smart phone outside the iPhone to support it), Apple must seek to take it on by offering better features. 

Whether Apple can deliver on such features is intimately attached to the capabilities of the new OS.  However, at this point these capabilities remain unsubstantiated rumors, and cannot be fairly judged.

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By Chaser on 3/16/2009 1:45:21 PM , Rating: 2
I think you're thinking Windows Mobile phones. You don't have to buy a new phone to get updates. This update, just like past versions, will upgrade for free over iTunes.

By omnicronx on 3/16/2009 2:04:52 PM , Rating: 2
Actually its not like WinMo phones. Its up to the carrier to support updates. Personally my carrier has released free updates, on both WinMo phones that I have bought.

The difference here is that for iPhone 2g users, aside from bug fixes, there really were no enhancements from the 2.0 OS update.

FT point is people bought a new iPhone just to get the new hardware features, and this time around it will probably happen again. The question is, is there really enough difference between the 2g and the '4g' to warrant the multiple upgrades for essentially the same device?

By omnicronx on 3/16/2009 2:05:56 PM , Rating: 2
I do have to say that Apple has the right idea though, updating should not be left up to the carrier, and it seems MS has learned from this and will be performing their own updates this time around.

By melgross on 3/16/2009 2:25:06 PM , Rating: 2
You never got software upGRADES. Just updates, which is not the same thing.

I never got more than a minor bug fix with any of my Palms. The same thing has been true for every other phone.

Now that the iPhone does it (as does the iTouch iPod), every other manufacturer is going to be forced into doing it as well. Will they do it for free as Apple does? They've never wanted to do that at all, because, yes, people used to buy new phones to get a newer version of the OS. Their sales depended upon it. I'm sure they must be squirming at the thought.

By omnicronx on 3/16/2009 2:42:07 PM , Rating: 3
As I said, you can blame your carrier for that. Using my phone as an example, two carrier with the exact same phone has different OS versions. It was a full upgrade from Windows mobile 5 to 6, and then again from 6 to 6.1. Mind you most carriers decided not to do this because it will undermine sales of their new phones, but it is not like MS blocked the ability to do so. Put the blame where it is due, the carriers, not Windows mobile.

As already stated, MS has learned from their mistakes and will take this ability away from the carriers with WinMo 7.

Furthermore Apple users with older hardware are getting 'upgrades' by name only. Almost everything in the OS revisions are updates and bug fixes, and rarely add new functionality. Lets just look at the 2.0 OS update, what exactly was added to iPhone 2g phones. Are you trying to deny that many people went and upgraded their existing iPhones, for what was essentially a 3g update? This is FT's point.

By Motley on 3/16/2009 4:07:22 PM , Rating: 2
* Enhancements to Maps
o Google Street View*
o Public transit and walking directions
o Display address of dropped pins
o Share location via email
* Decrease in call setup failures and dropped calls
* Enhancements to Mail
o Resolved isolated issues with scheduled fetching of email
o Improved formatting of wide HTML email
* Podcasts are now available for download in iTunes application (over Wi-Fi and cellular network)
* Improved stability and performance of Safari
* Improved sound quality of Visual Voicemail messages
* Pressing Home button from any Home screen displays the first Home screen
* Preference to turn on/off auto-correction in Keyboard Settings

* Decrease in call set-up failures and dropped calls
* Significantly better battery life for most users
* Dramatically reduced time to backup to iTunes
* Improved email reliability, notably fetching email from POP and Exchange accounts
* Faster installation of 3rd party applications
* Fixed bugs causing hangs and crashes for users with lots of third party applications
* Improved performance in text messaging
* Faster loading and searching of contacts
* Improved accuracy of the 3G signal strength display
* Repeat alert up to two additional times for incoming text messages
* Option to wipe data after ten failed passcode attempts
* Genius playlist creation
* The App Store
* Enterprise support
* MobileMe support
* Mass email move and delete
* Contacts search
* Updated keyboard and dictionary support
* Support for more email attachments
* Scientific calculator

Those are just the larger of the changes that I got with the 2.0 update on my iPhone 1.0. There a number of others as well that aren't listed, but you get the idea.

By omnicronx on 3/16/2009 5:08:50 PM , Rating: 2
I was not aware of all the changes that went in to the 2g (quite impressive actually, aside from the lack of basic smart phone features). You seem to be one of the smart people that is not going to go out and buy a new iPhone, even though you already have one. This is all I (and i think FT) was trying to get across. You would not believe how many people bought another iPhone for what was essentially just to get 3g speeds.

I don't care who you are, or how much money you have, that is not a good investment.

By Sazar on 3/16/2009 6:45:39 PM , Rating: 2
Except for the fact that the majority of owners who already have the first gen simply sold it for the same price (the market was HOT for 1G iPhones) and purchased or, in many cases, paid $50 upgrade for the new phone.

Also, the list is not that impressive from what the end-user actually experienced. The 3G capabilities were abysmal to begin with, although now they have been improved dramatically. And battery life didn't improve noticeably till the last couple of updates.

Personally, the 3G phone is much better than the first gen and was worth the purchase due to the better speakerphone, GPS and higher bandwidth capabilities.

If I had a slow computer and new hardware came out to make it faster, I would buy it. The phone itself wasn't faster but the ability to get data over 3G (for Orb or Safari) was much much faster and for me was worth the price :)

I cannot tell you how frustrating it is to surf over Edge.

By Chaser on 3/16/2009 2:32:57 PM , Rating: 2
Actually it's very much like Winmo phones. I have owned several and have never had one that offered an upgrade to the next version. If there's an exception when there was one its extremely rare. You buy the phone to get the OS and thats where it stays.

Version 2.0 offered the app store. And in retrospec I'd say that was a substancial feature upgrade for first Gen iPhone owners.

By omnicronx on 3/16/2009 2:49:05 PM , Rating: 1
God damnit read my posts. Although less than ideal, it was the carriers that were put in charge of the updates. Apple's implementation of an on device update was ingenious and heads and heals ahead of what WinMo phones have, but just because you failed to realize that updates/upgrades for WinMo are available, does not mean they don't exist.

By Darnell021 on 3/16/2009 3:32:09 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think Apple's model is much like the WinMo model considering they design their OS for 2 phones right now, the iPhone and the iPhone 3g. They went out of their way from the start to make sure the carrier would have limited capabilities as to how they sold and supported their phones, and they make upgrades readily available to the consumer. Aren't WinMo phones traditionally designed by third parties for specific versions of the WinMo OS and also under normal obligations of the cell phone carrier to be upgraded?

Regardless, I'm sure copy paste will be well done on the new 3.0 OS, they've had soooo long to perfect it.

By omnicronx on 3/16/2009 5:16:11 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think Apple's model is much like the WinMo model considering they design their OS for 2 phones right now, the iPhone and the iPhone 3g.
Without a doubt, its their biggest flaw and advantage;) Easy to design and support an OS for a certain set of hardware, yet makes it much harder to get a larger target audience. On the other hand, when you can sell your products for more money when it 'just works', you make more money by selling less product
Aren't WinMo phones traditionally designed by third parties for specific versions of the WinMo OS and also under normal obligations of the cell phone carrier to be upgraded?
Microsoft licenses out the Windows mobile OS, so yes they are designed by 3rd parties, but there are only two specific versions of Windows Mobile, smartphone and PPC editions. What you see today on most phones like HTC are of the PPC variety. And yes, upgrades are fully the responsibility of the third party (i.e the carrier).

By croc on 3/16/2009 10:06:23 PM , Rating: 2
It doesn't quite work like that... MS makes the OS, licenses the OS (and the API's) to the MFG. In your example HTC. HTC then adds on their bits to make their radio implementation, bluetooth, wifi, whatever to work. HTC then signs a deal with a carrier to carry that model, but the carrier wants a 'branded' device. Carrier may specify just a UI change, or may specify that certain 'features' are disabled. Say wifi, because that carrier has none.

So MS makes a newer version of firmware, bugfix, feature patch, whatever. New version now has to go through that whole process again. Carrier may very well not want to spend the money on the branding process, or HTC may decide that it will implement that in its new model and not offer it.

Apple, OTOH, controls the entire process end to end. Special carrier branding? Take it or leave it. Are carriers happy? No, but if the demand is large enough they'll take it.

By Chaser on 3/17/2009 7:46:39 AM , Rating: 2
Research what you bloviate. You're trying to make some pointless conclusion off a minor inference. Carriers or anyone else otherwise DO NOT upgrade Windows mobile versions from say WINMO 6 to 7 unless you buy a new phone. Thats just the way it is.

By lagitup on 3/16/2009 8:41:44 PM , Rating: 2
Actually its not like WinMo phones. Its up to the carrier to support updates.

The people at xda-developers, at least for HTC phones, supply updates even when carriers don't. As far as I know Sprint hasn't released a WinMo 6.1 update for my HTC Touch (Vogue) but the HTC Website, xda-developers forum, and ppcgeeks forum all carry WinMo 6.1 software packages for it.

By nycromes on 3/16/2009 4:31:00 PM , Rating: 2
Interesting that everyone I know that bought an original iPhone ran out and bought the 2nd generation as well when it came out. I would expect something similar here.

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