Product Review: iPhone 3.0 Software Upgrade

When I heard about all that new features and enhancements Apple was going to make to their iPhone platform, I jumped for joy over the possibilities. Innovations such as push notifications and Spotlight search can make even smart use of all the technology they've crammed into this small form factor.

So I wanted with baited breath to download the update until the release date of June 17th. I waited patiently for the upload to be available first thing in the morning. "Nope, sorry," said iTunes. I'd have to wait until later to download the software. And later it was. And later. And later...

A sum total of 2 hours later and only after a barrage of EULAs, iTunes User Agreements and signing into the iTunes Store, I finally managed to complete the download sucessfully. First, let me say that due to Apple's archaic Agreement system in the Store, I wound up getting all the way though it the first time and having to start over. Not normally a painful process on the face of it. However, when you combine it with the fact that The folks in Cupertino must have been hosting the file on something with an equivalent speed of and Apple II, it made for an extremely painful use experience.

After the download was complete, upon installation onto my iPod Touch, it managed to force my iMac to kernel panic and in turn brick my iPod. Needless to say I was cursing the powers that be in Cupertino by that time. After a quick (20 minute) backup restore, I finally had it.

I had the opportunity to test the automatic wi-fi log in at a local Starbucks this morning. I launched my mail app and a screen popped up asking for my network ID and password.  Within a matter of seconds I could connect to the network.  It's nice not to have to launch a new browser window each time to connect to the network, the bain of my existance if all I want to do is check email or send a tweet (things that don't require an active browser session to be running).  The landscape keyboard is nice if I want to gamer-type instead of chicken-peck my way through a sentence.

Speaking of keyboard functionality, let's stop the presses here with a simple phrase: Cut. Copy. Paste.  With those three words my life has become a whole lot simpler.  Yeah, I know that other smartphones may have had this functionality in the past, but this article isn't about those phones.  With a simple tap-and-hold, a triple menu pops up displaying the three functions.  With a few strokes on my screen, I can now move text snippets or whole paragraphs between applications from Safari to Notes to Mail and back again.  The functionality doesn't stop there; it's easily compatible with any application you can type in.  Speaking of the Notes application, Notes Sync has now come and is a long-awaited feature for me.  The notes you have in OS X Mail now sync directly to your iPod or iPhone with this function and makes a real challenge for me to keep using Evernote.  For me it would be an exercise in futility (other than the Windows side of things) since I don't have a camera on the iPod like the iPhone does.  Spotlight searching is a godsend on this device as well.  You can now search your whole iPod for emails, music, contacts, iCal appointments and anything in between.

There are some features that iPod Touch owners won't receive.  Features like MMS and Internet Tethering are noticably missing from the iPod's list of applications, due their requirement of a cell phone network.  As of this writing, I am not sure about the Voice Memos application, since I do not have an 2nd generation iPod Touch.  I would hope this feature works for iTunes control and for voice memo usage, but I haven't heard any reports as of yet.  I'll do some additional testing and post an update soon with this issue.

That's pretty much my take on the new fuctionality in iPhone 3.0.  As always, I appreciate your comments and questions via commenting on this post or via email at john@classicyuppie.com.