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Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

What you get and don’t get with the iPhone OS 3.0 update if you have an original iPhone

June 17, 2009

Eliza and I have original iPhones. Day one iPhones. They are just shy of 2 years old. They’re still gorgeous, still work well, and we couldn’t be happier with them.

A few iPhones.

Today Apple released the third version of their iPhone OS aptly named iPhone OS 3.0. This release boasts several improvements and new features – however, not all of them are available on the first-generation iPhone.

But, lets stay positive. So, what do you get if you upgrade your first-generation iPhone to the latest version of the OS? Here’s a list.

What you will actually get with iPhone OS 3.0 on the original iPhone

  • Spotlight search: In a search screen to the left of your first home screen there is now a new search box that searches your entire iPhone including music, contacts, email, etc. It works great. Just like the update to Spotlight in Leopard changed the way I used my computer I believe the addition of Spotlight on my iPhone will change the way I find, use, and open things on my iPhone.
  • Cut, Copy and Paste: Something that has been missing from the iPhone since the very first day but now seems so at home and well done. Copying text, photos, URLs, addresses, just about anything – from any app, and pasting into any application. Everyone knew Apple could pull this off better than anyone else and they have.
  • A new Messages app: The SMS application has been replaced with the new Message application that handles MMS messages. This will allow the sending of audio, photo, and text messages. I say will because for those of us in the US and using AT&T, MMS isn’t yet supported. There are several other additions to this application, however, with much it a much more well rounded application overall. Two quick examples are the new way it sends messages without stopping you from moving onto something else and the ability to delete individual messages rather than just clearing the entire conversation.
  • Voice memos: An application that I’m sure will come in handy (though you could have purchased or downloaded a number of applications that have been available through the App Store that do something similar) where you can quickly record some audio and email it (and soon MMS it) to anyone. I’d be willing to bet the utility of this application will come with time.
  • Note syncing: Although notes now sync through iTunes they are unfortunately synced with Mail.app only (I’d rather them be in a directory in my Documents directory). I don’t use Mail.app so I am not sure how this will help me right now. I’ve been waiting for this, again, since iPhone OS 1.0 and am now disappointed in its implementation.
  • Shake to shuffle: Open iTunes, play a song, shake your phone, and iTunes will randomly choose another song from your iPhone to play. Simple, fun.
  • iTunes Store and App Store updates: You can now buy and rent movies and TV shows directly from your iPhone. The App Store application has a few updates as well including the ability to redeem applications (or credit from gift cards) (perhaps for beta testing purposes for applications). It also has a much improved interface for showing the screenshots from an application.
  • The smaller updates: Several smaller updates like speed improvements, bug fixes, a few aesthetic things (like icons), and improvements like showing the phone number type (mobile or home) and location (city, state) in the Recents menu on the Phone application are among them. These are the types of updates that go mostly unnoticed by news outlets but those of us that use our iPhones for hours a day will thoroughly enjoy.

I think I covered most everything. iPhone OS 3.0 is a very, very big release for the iPhone OS and so there are a vast number of improvements that I simply could not list here.

What you do not get with iPhone OS 3.0 on the original iPhone

There are several things that you do not get with the update. I won’t list the things you don’t get due to not having the new lens, or magnometer such as focusing, and the compass related features, etc.

  • Internet Tethering: Even though AT&T hasn’t enabled tethering via the iPhone yet, same as with MMS, this will never be available for the first generation iPhone. From what I’ve read it seems a limitation based on the EDGE antenna built into the iPhone.
  • Voice Controls: Presumably due to resource limitations on the iPhone, Voice Controls are not available on the first-generation iPhone. The iPhone 3G, which shares nearly the same specs as the original iPhone, also does not support this feature. Which I find sort of odd. The Google Mobile App uses similar technology of voice recognition (and it even sends the data to the Web for interpretation) and it works just fine on my iPhone. I see two reasons for this being excluded: 1. Apple wants something even more to juice up the iPhone 3G S’s offering. Which this certainly does. 2. The Voice Controls applications does all of the interpretation on the iPhone itself instead of sending it to the service like Google’s application does and so it really is a restriction of the hardware in the iPhone and iPhone 3G.
  • Video recording and editing: Although the new video recording capabilities are not solely based on the new lens in the iPhone 3G S the ability to record, playback, and edit the video are probably the result of the new hardware (ie. CPU, and RAM) in it.
  • MMS: Thanks, or I should say no thanks, to Jacob Burke for letting me know that MMS will not be available on the original iPhone. This is, by far, the most disappointing thing that will not be available. Now I’m bummed.

That about wraps it up. The iPhone OS 3.0 update is extremely well done and a much appreciated update from Apple for all iPhone and iPod touch owners. I’m very much looking forward to updating my iPhone to the iPhone 3G S in the future and enjoying the things I’m missing now.

If you have an iPhone 3G and are wondering what you’ll get from this update, Apple has create a page just for you (hat tip: Mike Stickel).

If I missed something, and I’m sure I did, please be sure to make me aware of it via the comments and I’ll update the post promptly.

Photo credit: Erik Kastner

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