Apple’s iPhone may have set new standards for smart-phone usability and functionality, but that hasn’t stopped users from complaining that it lacks some key features–most notably, the ability to connect to other devices via Bluetooth; to let applications run in the background; to send photos in a multimedia message; and to cut, copy, and paste text between apps.
Today, at a press event in Cupertino, CA, Apple demonstrated an upgrade to the iPhone’s operating system that addresses most of these issues and a few other ones to boot. In addition to 100 new features, the company said that the new software will make the iPhone’s hardware and software more accessible to software developers. For instance, they will be able to integrate Google Maps with their applications and use Bluetooth to enable multiplayer gaming between several iPhones.
There are still a few things that will not be addressed with the new software. One gaping hole remains support for Flash–a multimedia software plug-in that is commonly used to show Web videos. And there is no mention of upgrading the iPhone’s built-in camera software to allow it to capture video. Video capture is, incidentally, possible with unauthorized software that runs on unlocked (or “jail-broken”) iPhones.
Still, the operating-system upgrade covers almost all the major gripes that users had with the iPhone’s current OS. The upgrade, which is available for developers today and will be released to the public in the summer, will integrate more features into the applications. One of the major changes is the way that people can buy content from the Apple app store. Currently, it’s only possible to buy apps, music, books, videos, and games with a one-time purchase. After the upgrade, a user will be able to buy a subscription to a magazine and purchase items from within an app, such as new add-ons for a game.
A common complaint about the current iPhone software is that its wireless Bluetooth functionality is limited. With the 3.0 software, this function will be expanded, allowing people to pair their iPhones with a number of new accessories, including, for example, a wireless glucose monitoring system and wireless headphones.