• One month later: Was the new iPhone 3 release really that big
  • One month later: Was the new iPhone 3 release really that big
    Written by battye
    Thu Jul 16, 2009 9:54 am

    When was iPhone 3.0 released? June 17. But here in Australia it was the early hours of June 18th when I clearly remember clicking the "Check for Updates" button in iTunes while posting regular "status updates" on Twitter. It felt good to be among the first in the world (probably among the first few million no less, considering the hype worldwide around anything Apple!) to be trying to official 3.0 gold release - even though a lot of people had been using the 3.0 Gold Master (GM, or what I'd called a Release Candidate - RC) for some time.

    Forever in history, that moment will be recorded on Twitter: http://twitter.com/battye/status/2209540612

    One month on, the iPhone 3.0 release has been drowned out by more pressing news. Like the Iran elections, Michael Jackson's death or the Ashes.

    Having used it for a month though it is time to look at the new features from a "real world use" perspective. What have I used, and what haven't I used?

    It is worth keeping in mind that I do not have an iPhone 3G S - which I will get to later. I am using iPhone software 3.0 on an iPhone 3G.

    Copy, cut and paste

    iPhone users have been calling for this since the first iPhone was released in 2007. Having had a chance to use it for a month now, I've found I haven't used it as much as I was expecting. It has been handy at times for copying a quote from an email, and the "select" function is a much quicker way of deleting text than holding the backspace button down - but overall it is not the life saver that people had made it out to be.

    For the odd occasion I need to copy a web address from Mobile Safari into an email or text message - not yet - it will be a God send. I remember having to write down long addresses on paper and having to retype them into an email. Thankfully this feature makes that a thing of the past.

    Spotlight - mobile phone search

    I haven't used it. And one of the features of it - you are taken to Spotlight if you press the home button once on the home screen - actually annoys me, as out of habit I always press the home button regardless of where I am before pressing sleep. The other method of accessing is it is a "right swipe" from the home screen, which is much more intuitive I think.

    As for the feature itself, I haven't found a genuine use for it yet. I keep my music collection well organised so I can get to what I want quickly through the iPod app. And I haven't had to search for any emails in the past month (it was a quiet month, helped by the fact that my emails are now better organised).

    So while the major Spotlight application has gathered cobwebs, there is one part of it which hasn't so much. Inside applications like iPod and Mail there is now a search bar, which works very nicely. The search inside iPod was an important addition especially, I have less than 1000 songs but I imagine there will be some very happy people that can now search their multiple thousands of songs with a few key strokes (or key taps).


    Apple buckled under the pressure. They originally left this feature out because it was not a neccessity, if people wanted to send a picture to another person they could easily attach it to an email.

    The vital flaw with this mentality was that not everyone has an iPhone, or another phone capable of receiving emails. Apple hoped that given time, other mobile phone makers would incorporate email, thus starting a mobile internet revolution. Well, more mobile phones are now internet enabled that is true. But not all of them - in fact very few of them - have implemented it well. The idea was there from Apple, but in 2009 they took a step backwards and implemented MMS, or multimedia message service.

    The iPhone's implementation of MMS is disappointing, to be honest. It is not as seamless as SMS, and feels clunky. Big images inside those SMS conversations seem out of place. I sent one MMS (with a photo) as a trial - it was slow but it worked. I don't really see any reason to send an MMS to anybody, nor has anybody found a reason to send one to me. At AUD $0.45 a pop if I'm going to send a photo, it'll be as an email and come out of the 250 MB free that I get from Optus.

    Deleting individual SMS

    Now here is a good feature, if you want to maintain the flow of a conversation you can easily remove those few pointless or meaningless SMS's - normally the result of someone pressing Send too early, something other iPhone users complain of regularly.

    It's just a shame that Apple haven't implemented a character counter in the SMS/Messaging application. It's probably the one feature stopping it from being complete.


    Scrubbing refers to moving to a different part of a song in the iPod application. Before it was very difficult to get to the right place exactly, but that has all changed.

    There are now several different levels of scrubbing; Hi-Speed Scrubbing, Half Speed Scrubbing, Quarter Speed Scrubbing and Fine Scrubbing. Essentially, you can slow down how fast the scrubbing is by moving your finger diagonally down the screen. The closer to the bottom of the iPhone your finger is, the finer / slower it will scrub.

    There are some special scrubbing features for podcasts as well. You can press a button to make the podcast play at double speed (2X), half speed (1/2X) or normal speed (1X). There is also a button to take you back 30 seconds in one tap. All other scrubbing features work also, and this is a very good new feature which has come in very handy. Of all of the new features, this is probably the one I've used most.

    Voice Memos

    A nifty little feature that really all phones should have. A voice recorder is a pretty standard function and it's good that the iPhone has it. It's one of those things that most people probably won't have an everyday use for, but for the odd occasion when you want to record something you'll be glad you have it.

    Shake functions

    You can now:

    - shake to undo typing
    - shake to shuffle

    I only recently found out about this, so I still don't know how often I'd use it. I'm guessing not regularly. To undo typing (such as in an email or SMS message) you can shake the phone.

    If you are in the iPod application, shaking the iPod will shuffle it to another song. If you are in a particular playlist or artist, the shuffle will be restricted to the that subsection. It doesn't work when the iPhone is locked, so ultimately it is quicker to just tap the skip button.


    As much as I'd love to just try this feature out, I haven't had a need to. You will need to consult your mobile phone service provider to see whether there is any additional charge for internet tethering (connecting your computer to your iPhone either through USB or bluetooth, so you can use your mobile internet connection).

    For a review from somebody that has used internet tethering (on Optus 3G, the same carrier I am with), have a look at this site: http://www.invertedreality.com/apple/ip ... xperiences

    So they are the main new features of iPhone 3.0. There are actually quite a few other small features, which you can read up on at http://www.ismashphone.com/2009/06/how_ ... one_3.html After writing this I've realised that 3.0 wasn't that big an update after all. Certainly I'm in no rush to run out and buy the iPhone 3G S - as enticing as video recording is, it's one of those features which would only be handy every so often, and not worth the $1000 upgrade.
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