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Apple iPhone OS 3.0 Beta & SDK PR Event Recap

Today, Apple hosted an iPhone related press conference. Unfortunately, I couldn’t be there in the flesh, but I did scour the web for notable details to deliver to you.

Quality of coverage on the web is varied and I’m ashamed to admit that the best text coverage I found is not on a traditional Apple site. Eric Savitz in the Tech Trader Daily section of Barron’s Online types like the wind and caught everything delivered from the stage. Although the text is very sparse on TechCrunch, they did link to video of the event from Sam Levin. Ars Technica also had live coverage, but I was unable to access the site. I did notice after the event, Ars has some nice photos though.

The real news, delivered by Scott Forstall, SVP for iPhone software, is the new operating system: iPhone OS 3.0. The iPhone SDK, released a year ago, includes tools and frameworks to build great iPhone apps. This next generation of the SDK includes 1000 APIs for developers. For example, requested features such as magazine subscription applications and the ability to add game modules from within a game, in short, the ability to sell add-ons from within an application; called In App Purchase, is now possible. This is all tied into the iTunes Store purchasing system. The developer still sets the price and 70% of revenue goes to the Developer monthly. Selected features include:

Peer to peer connectivity: A standard system panel will find others who are using the same application in near proximity and form a connection; so you can now play Backgammon and other games with other users. They claim this is seamless with automatic discovery wirelessly over Bluetooth, no pairing for developer and end user. Bonjour is the technology behind it. It works for any peer-to-peer application, not just games.

Accessories: Speakers are among the most popular. The new SDK allows developers to build applications that talk to the accessories. For example, you can use an Equalizer if the speaker manufacturer builds that in or an FM transmitter that automatically find the best FM station to use.

Maps: Using Google maps, service developers can embed maps with multiple views.

Push Notification: Instant Message apps really take a toll on battery life; but with push notification, you can choose text or audio alerts to notify you of incoming messages. This helps with battery life and overall iPhone performance.

Apple invited a variety of vendors to show off new applications, such as Meebo for instant messaging, games from Electronic Arts, Oracle with business indicators, ESPN to deliver media, and health-related glucose monitoring from Johnson and Johnson’s Lifescan company, and more.

Judging from responses online to various live blogs and an iPhone twit, the new customer features, such as cut, copy, and paste are the hit of the press conference. Other requested features implemented include Landscape mode for all applications, plus support for MMS (multimedia messaging service), so you can send your photos or contact info. easily, CALDav for Calendar app, and Spotlight Search.

The iPhone 3.0 SDK works for all the iPhones and iPod touch; but not all the features are available, depending on your model. While the iPhone 3.0 SDK is available now, the end-user software should be available this summer.

How do the developers like this new software? Well, StuFF mc, Lead iPhone Developer at in Germany told me: “We’re thrilled with the new possibilities that the iPhone OS 3.0 offers us. As a matter of fact, we are already seeing tons of ways we can make one app we developed better, thanks to the Email panel and the Push notification services. We’re also very happy about the new streaming possibilities and the Pay in App. As day to day users of the iPhone, we’re also very happy about Copy, Paste, and other very neat stuff Cupertino just gave us a sneak peak at!”

Now, I’m not there to confirm or deny any of the above, but I’ve tried to give you the basics of today’s announcement for your reading pleasure. Please comment below if I missed your favorite new feature.

Oh, and the latest news: Apple has posted a video of the press conference online!

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