Michael Gartenberg hits the nail on the head about why the iPhone 3.0 upgrade is important:
“Apple’s got a 1,000 new APIs for developers to build on, they showed a few today in demo applications. What’s interesting is that most of those applications shown would be virtually impossible for developers to create on other platforms.”
(My emphasis added)
It used to be a truism that it took Microsoft three bites at the cherry to create a truly good operating system. Version 1.0 was crap, version 2.0 was usable, but version 3.0 was the one you really wanted. With the iPhone, Apple followed the same pattern – while managing to produce good, but flawed, products for versions 1 and 2.
A thousand new APIs for developers means a massive jump in power in terms of application development. I’m still not sold on the lack of background processing – and I think the “80% reduction in battery life versus 23% reduction for push notification” is a canard – but it will allow developers to do maybe 70% of what you’d want background processing for. And there’s so much more in this update that’s cool for developers that more than makes up for it.
(UPDATE: I hear from someone familiar with the technology my description of the 80% reduction in battery life as “a canard” may be a bit harsh. In a worst-case scenario – which involves IM, of course – the iPhone might well experience that kind of drain. But the point remains that other OS’s, including S60 and Android, run background IM without getting battery life measured in a handful of hours, which is what an 80% reduction would imply on the iPhone. My guess – and it really is a guess – is that those phones simply feature bigger batteries and less power-hungry hardware. So background processing can be done without reducing battery life to nothing – but not, at present, on the iPhone’s hardware.)
What Apple has now created is a mobile applications environment that’s second to none, and that’s going to win them an awful lot of market share. It won’t get them to number one – there’s far too many roadblocks in the way – but it will get them a big share of a huge market.
And finally: MMS. Thank god Apple has come to its senses over a feature that should have been in since the first 3G phone. It’s not a feature that I’d use, but it’s been a deal-breaker for many, many people I know.