Sunday, March 15, 2009

iPhone 3.0: Taking It Up A Notch?

Apple announced an event this week to discuss the upcoming iPhone 3.0 software. Since the 2.0 version was a major change in the success of the platform, 3.0 is eagerly awaited, and, of course, the speculation has begun. Kevin Rose of Digg, who was dead on in his leaks on what would be in the iPhone 2.0, has come out with his predictions. Among them was this tidbit:
"Also, the 3.0 update will have enough new features and additions to bring it up to the Palm Pre levels. Whatever Palm Pre has shown us so far, apparently, the iPhone will have too when 3.0 becomes official."
Whoa. That's a pretty major statement. I'm definitely going to change up my phone, and I'm torn between the upcoming Pre and a new iPhone 3G (I'm still on the first generation). If Apple's getting close to parity on the intuition the Pre shows, I know which way I am leaning.

By the way, I'm sure you are asking why I would be considering the 3G, if I already have an iPhone. Recent months have made the 3G very appealing to me:
  1. The GPS chip would be damn handy. I recently discovered Trapster, which allows crowdsourcing to tell you where the police are hiding or speed cameras (could have used it before I hit Phoenix. Sigh.). With the GPS chip and the iPhone app, it's like having the ultimate spotter. While it works with the cell tower triangulation, it doesn't give nearly enough notice.
  2. The GPS would also be handy for MapMyRide, an iPhone app that lets the phone do the work of tracking your cycling workout, and automatically uploading it to a website where you can track your ongoing workout and exercise, automatically.
  3. I could sure use the extra space. 16GB over 8GB is sounding pretty appealing. And the Pre is only 8GB.
  4. AT&T Wireless is selling refurbished 3G's for $199. Full warranty!

But today comes another reason: there is finally a turn-by-turn GPS directions package for the iPhone. Yes, for $40 and about 1GB of space, you can have a real GPS alternative! Kicking Tires did a great review of this new app, and found some real advantages. Among them:
  • Automatic split screen view when you come to a highway interchange, showing both the overhead map and a real-world view, so you know what lane to be in.
  • You can play your iPhone music/podcasts in the background, so you can have both the GPS voice prompts and your entertainment at the same time.
  • A definite miss in that you cannot simply select a contact and have the GPS route you to the address you have on file.
One good point they made is that this is strictly software, so it can be updated to cover these flaws. However, with the 3.0 firmware taking aim at the Pre, plus the increased benefit of the 3G, plus the new GPS option, it's going to be an interesting week.

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