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17 June, 2009

iPhone OS 3.0

I got to my computer at 5:30 AM yesterday, docked my iPhone Original with 2.x OS and hit the 'Update' button in iTunes. All I got was a message that my iPhone (as my wife) was "up to date" with the latest 2.1. whatever OS. Blast! I was hoping to upgrade before the masses descended upon the one OS X 10.6 server sitting in some garage in Palo Alto. Um, I'm not sure if that is where it is. It is just where I imagine Apple has kept their servers for some 25+ years.

For the next few hours, I hit the update button every time a humming bird flew by my office window which looks upon the lovely curtains of my neighbor's window just 6 feet (1.83 meters) away. Finally, sometime around 10:00 the update cranked away. All went fine and in the time it takes me to refill my coffee cup emblazoned with the chemical structure of caffeine, the iPhone was alive with 3.0!

So what is new? What is exciting? Was it worth the wait? Was it worth the expense?

Cost -- Free. I can't argue with that! Once again, Apple provides an update that delivers great features with an admission price that you simply can not argue about. O.K., I hear you iTouch users. Yes, I know! OS 3.0 is a whole $9.95 and most of you with that ipod Touch are about the same age as my nephew. But admitt it! For the cost of 2 weeks allowance, this upgrade will have incredible payback. The girls (or boys) will be amazed as you text with 2... count them! TWO thumbs!. But, more on that later.
Anyway, even at $9.95 + tax, license, building and printing fees this is a small price to pay for 2 thumbs typing in addition to everything else you get.

Best new Feature?
When I was young, I used to love reading manuals. Big fat manuals. I read the PDP/11 manuals. I never learned anything from them but I did build up calluses on my fingers and improved my reading speed by 11%. Nowadays, I don't RTF much. And with 3.0 there isn't a manual sitting around on the iPhone. So, you are left to your own intuitive devices to deduce how stuff works.

My first attempt at the Cut, and Paste features selecting a block of text left me confused, bewildered and sipping some Kona. The secret is in how you select. Go for the simple. Just double tap a word and a small menu will appear with 'Cut, Copy, Paste' tabs. Two small pointers sit at the front and back of your selection. You can drag those pointers to expand or contract the select area. Then ... Cut , Copy or Paste away.

That cut, copy and paste appears everywhere; Notes, Messages, Email, But what about legacy App Store applications? Will it work there? I am a frustrated verbaphore. When I get flumoxed trying to think of a word with the appropriate musicality, I sometimes look for similar words in other languages. One of the apps I use to find those words is iTranslate. The app has 2 windows, one where you type in the word and the lower window where the translation appears. I am happy to see that the Cut, Copy, Paste commands appear here too. So, this CCP is a great feature and one that really should have been around since day one. But, I'm glad it is there and Apple has done a great job with it.

Next new feature -- Landscape Typing Mode. Up until Wednesday, one gripe I had about the iPhone was the inability to type in Landscape mode in eMail and Messaging. I use both probably more then any other app so this defect in functionality was sorely missing. Well, it works just as advertised. Mail and Messaging allow landscape. Two thumb typing works great. Sadly, my thumbs forgot how to fly over the keyboard. Ah, they will relearn.

That is it for now. There is more. Perhaps I'll update you all after a few days of playing around with the OS. Suffice it to say 3.0 is excellent even on an old pre-3G phone.

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