Hands On: iPhone 3.0 beta

Sections: Features, iPhone, iPhone OS, SDK and hacks, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad, iPod, iPod touch, Originals, Photo Gallery

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sdk_hero1_thumbWe all know that Betas are buggy. We all know that Betas crash. This one is no different. If you put that aside, then I have to say that 3.0 is pretty sweet.

Finally, finally, finally we have MMS on the iPhone. My first impressions of the interface are good. There is now an icon that you tap that will bring up the options to use a photo in the camera roll or to take an instance picture from the camera when creating a text message. It is very intuitive and easy to use. Sorry, no video yet. My only complaint is that if you take an instant photo, the picture is smaller than a non MMS picture. What I mean is when you’re taking the photo, you want to send in an MMS from the MMS application the tool bar is still at the bottom, so, think of a photo the size of your home screen minus the quick launch bar with your four favorite applications at the bottom.

A lot of us get our corporate e-mail on our iPhones. If you’re anything like me and get 300ish e-mails a day, landscape is a godsend. When you tilt your iPhone with 3.0 while looking at your e-mail, it looks a lot like the quick view look in Microsoft Outlook. There is no preview pane or anything resembling one, but there is quite a bit more real-estate for your viewing pleasure. Notes and SMS/MMS are also making use of landscape mode. For me, notes is not that big of a deal, but for texting it is a magnificent thing. This allows you see your new inbound MMS messages the way you’re supposed to see them, not some broken down small implementation of what used to be a photo. In case you are wondering, you can not receive video messages either.

Push Notifications
I have not received but one notification of an update for an application since flashing my iPhone with 3.0. To me, personally, I don’t really care if I have push notifications, but what I do care about is game purchases. I have not had any real world experience with this yet, due to the fact that the applications are not updated for 3.0 to add the functionality, but it is something I am looking forward to. So not a lot to report on this front yet, but I can tell you that if you do get an application update, you are not required to go to the App Store to preform the update any longer.

Peer to Peer Connectivity
In the interest of reporting (that is what I told my wife) in also flashed my wife’s iPhone to test out the connectivity between iPhones. I was not able to find an application that is ready for peer to peer connectivity, but I was able to get the two iPhones to talk to each other. Connectivity is accomplished via the Bluetooth radios in each iPhone. It is as simple as connecting any other Bluetooth device; you don’t even have to “pair” the iPhones. Just like most other Apple products, it just works. You do not have access to any of the media on the other device, however. What that means is that you cannot watch the Bones episodes from one iPhone to another. I cannot wait till we get a multiplayer action game for the iPhone.

I am not able to test the turn by turn GPS due to there not being an application for it yet, but maps now works with Google Mobile Maps Service. It works quite well, as a matter of fact. Maps is now actually available to any App that wishes to use it. Again, I am not able to put it through its paces yet due to a lack of functioning applications, but Google Maps can now tell you where you are and where you’re going and generally help you out getting there. The interface is clean and easy to use, just tap tap tap and you’re done.

Copy and Paste
I have used this several times since I updated. It crashes a lot more than anything else. One can only assume this will be fixed by launch time. All you have to do to copy something is double tap, drag with your finger, and tap to select. Reverse the process to paste your selection. Copy and paste is available in all non game applications. It is easy to use, and you can copy and paste between applications with little effort. You can even copy and paste photos; this is not a fast thing, by any means, but it does work with some patience. The undo function is kind of neat; just shake the iPhone and your last action is undone. Again, for some reason, this function crashes the iPhone more than the others. I will try to debug later and provide an update as to why.

Really cool feature. Just swipe to the right from the home screen and a Spotlight search window shows its head. This was actually pretty fast, faster than copying and pasting a photo. I searched for an e-mail I know I had in a folder on an Exchange server and, in less than 20 seconds, up it came. I have nothing but good things to say about Spotlight, I use it a lot on my Mac, and now on my iPhone. Kudo’s to Apple on this one.

This one I have not tested for two reasons: One, I have a 6MB connection at home and a 10MB connection at work and just do not need it. Two, I am not willing to pay AT&T for something I do not need.

Stereo Blue Tooth
Again this is something I do not need or use, so I have not tested any of the functionality here either.

So, there you go. My hands-on first look is good. The crashes and bugs are a pain, but it is a Beta, so that is to be expected (my wife made me roll hers back). A lot of new features, and most of them are nicely designed and very functional. If you have any questions, sound off below and I will answer them to the best of my ability.

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  • what29

    I was a genius and bricked my iphone 2 days ago and was stuck until i found the website that i linked to my name above, just click on my name to go there. They had me up and running in no time and i now have complete access to their Apple developers account with my own user ID and password. It was worth it, just my 2 cents for anyone who is in the same boat i was.

  • Justin S

    Hello i just updated my phone with the 3.0 beta dose any one no of a way to go back to the 2.2.1 Please Help