LIVE Coverage of iDevice OS 3.0 Preview Event

The event has begun! RELOAD OFTEN FOR LATEST POSTS.

There are now over 25,000 programs in the App Store, with over 800 Million downloads to date. Apps are almost entirely (98%) approved within 7 days, at a 96% approval rate.

Scott Forstall has been invited onto the stage to show off “iPhone 3.0.”

Over 1,000 new APIs and Frameworks in the new system.

Additional payment/subscription models added to the App Store: three, primarily – Traditional one-time purchases, subscription/service payments based on periods of time, and in-app purchases such as extra levels or content (eBooks, mini-games, etc).

At this time, only paid apps can utilize the new in-app payments system. Free apps cannot, but this is something that is being worked on.

First really big deal for users: Peer to Peer networking between iDevices. Wi-Fi not required; devices can communicate over the cell network by identifying each other via Location Services(!), and utilize Bluetooth for short-range networking. Since so few users actively utilize Bluetooth on a regular basis — except for headsets, and even then — this will allow iDevices to take fuller advantage of their existing hardware.

This P2P system is based on Bonjour.

Hugely improved accessory connectivity & control features “taken to the next level,” according to Forstall; for example, iDevices can control the volume of remote speakers, control the broadcast channel of an FM transmitter, and — at last! — utilize Bluetooth connectivity to interact with a broad range of wireless accessories.

Moving on….

Now we’re looking at the Maps API which allows any app to integrate the functionality of the Maps application, also providing navigation services — and most dramatically, the long-awaited Turn-By-Turn directions support will also be a part of this API! This should make a LOT of people very happy, and crush one of the few nitpicks that keeps iPhone competitors able to snatch a certain percentage of potential buyers….

However, Apple can’t license Google Maps directly for Turn by Turn applications so developers will have to generate their own map imagery or come up with an alternative solution to the licensing problem.

Another much-anticipated feature is here: Push Notification in the “background.” As previously explained, “true” multitasking is too demanding on the battery and can drop standby time up to 80%….

Even when an application is closed, the system keeps a connection open to Apple’s Push Notification service and can provide three types of notification of new incoming data: visual icon badges, audible alerts, and pop-up text alerts which provide the option to launch the app when dismissing the pop-up dialog.

Some other features in the new SDK/OS that apps can utilize: In-app email, iPod library access, an API for Shake functionality, Core Data/Data Detectors, a Battery management API (user can see battery charge/status from within apps even if the menubar is hidden), system-level audio recording, Localized Collation, Proximity Sensor API, and the ability to “select” text — possibly a forerunner to ‘true’ Copy/Cut & Paste support at the OS level.

Demo time: Meebo now has their own native app. Travis Boatman from EA Games is showing off their next big release for iDevices, The Sims 3.

Boatman is showing off the ability to buy in-game objects such as a virtual “stereo” that can access the iPod Library without leaving the game or even slowing it down in any noticeable way.

Oracle demonstrates their latest; five apps on the Store already with more on the way; Hody Crouch is showing how a push notification works with their new Oracle Business Indicators app.

Forstall is back on stage, talking about the fact that JD Power & Associates has rated the iPhone the #1 business smartphone for customer satisfaction. On to Oke Okaro from ESPN to show off their latest work from the recent two-week SDK 3.0 development intensive “camp”….

Fairly straightforward, takes good advantage of the Notification service to display game scores without having the app open; “ESPN delivers 50 million notifications per month; it’s because of volumes like those that we had to spend the last six months re-architecturing our notification servers!” ….should be interesting to see how that volume increases with the advent of Firmware 3.0.

Anita Matthew from Johnson & Johnson’s LifeScan division shows off the ability for iDevices to communicate with medical accessories such as a blood glucose meter, using a LifeScan IPA that includes meal planning and insulin scheduling utilities as well as the ability to send glucose numbers via email to someone such as a friend, doctor, parent, et cetera. Fairly impressive — this new accessory functionality, long overdue, is going to open up whole new worlds for iDevice owners and the third-party marketplace without a doubt!

“Casual” games developer ngmoco is up next, with their Neil Young (no, not THAT Neil Young!) demoing Touch Pets and Live Fire. In Touch Pets, your virtual pet can have a “play date” over the network with another user, and you can purchase in-game items for your pet. Not our cup of tea, even for $0.99, but nonetheless an example of what’s to come.

ngmoco is now showing off Live Fire, which is noticeably reminiscent of popular first-person shooters of a few generations ago such as Quake 3….as with Touch Pets, you can acquire in-game items — in this case, a Rocket Launcher — through the new in-app purchases API.

The most amazing thing so far is clearly Smule’s “Leaf Trombone: World Stage,” which creates a multi-user P2P music making experience that has quite simply bowled the audience over. Applause is deafening, and the experience is difficult to put properly into words. They’d better have a demo of this because you have to experience it to understand just how amazing it really is to play music like this with someone whether they’re across the room using Bluetooth, or on the other side of the planet (lag notwithstanding)!

On to the next, even more amazing thing….*yes* it is now confirmed: Cut, Copy and Paste(!!!).

“We’ve been working really hard to design an easy-to-use Cut, Copy, and Paste interface.”

Double-tap any onscreen object to select that object or word. Tap-hold and drag to select blocks of text or multiple objects. After selection, a bubble pops up offering Cut, Copy, and Paste options.

Cut & Paste works, of course, across all apps & requires little to no effort for an app developer to support it. To undo any supported action such as editing text or executing a paste, simply “shake” the device!

Now that’s very cool, one of the most-anticipated features of Firmware 3.0…but sources tell us there’s even more exciting stuff to come, so we’re waiting with bated breath….

Finally, Landscape Mode support for the many Apple bundled applications….allowing use of the associated wider onscreen keyboard in apps like Mail, SMS, etc….and Mail now supports the sending of multiple attachments (Photos, etc) in a single email.

MMS support appears complete and advanced: pictures and audio, location maps, et cetera; sources tell us video is supported but probably won’t be mentioned today since no shipping iDevice can record video unless Jailbroken and even then quality is unsatisfactory due to motion blur/frame wobble. However, the functionality is there for whenever Apple elects to ship an iDevice with video capabilities as stock.

To help negate the hang-ups that will no doubt remain over the lack of video, Firmware 3.0 now includes Voice Memo, a recording app that will be of tremendous use to many iDevice owners but will no doubt be an upset to app developers who’ve banked on the absence of this feature prior to today.

New Calendar app with system-level functionality for networked calendar servers (CalDAV) and subscription based systems (ICS). Supported by all major web app/online calendar providers including Google and Yahoo. As with other bundled apps, Calendar now supports Landscape Mode with additional detail and a number of other interface/functional tweaks.

Powerful new “Spotlight” system-wide/app-spanning Search functionality adds searchability to virtually every bundled application, the ability to search emails on an Exchange server that aren’t present on the iDevice, and a single unified Spotlight search facility on the Home Screens (Springboard).

Stereo support in Bluetooth(!).

Wrapping up the Event now….so many new features (over 100) and APIs/frameworks (over 1,000) to talk about in the hours and days ahead! We’re working on a short list as we speak of all the things mentioned either in words or in the slides displayed during the Event, and will follow that up later on with a hands-on review of the Developer Beta!

If you’re a registered iPhone Developer or otherwise expect to be playing with the Beta tonight, drop us a line — whether it’s by email (rumors@macosrumors.com), IM (AIM: MacOSRumors), Twitter (http://twitter.com/MacOSRumors), or simply posting a comment below! We’re excited to hear from you and to report more on this huge leap forward for the iDevice Platform!

A few features not yet mentioned above that we noted:
*Register/manage iTunes accounts directly from iDevice — no computer required
*Support for cellular network “tethering” via Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth
*YouTube accounts & subscriptions etc. managed within YouTube.ipa
*H.264 codec streaming video supported via the HTML5 video tag
*Video API (supported formats can be played within an app’s interface rather than having to context-switch with MobileQuickTime Player)
*Parental Controls
*Auto-Fill
*Notes Sync
*Wi-Fi Auto Login
*Tagging of Audio and Video
*Encrypted Profiles

….there is much, much more and we’ll be detailing it here on the Web as well as our Twitter feed so stay tuned — don’t miss a beat of the most exciting developments in the iDevice software world to date, and keep a close eye on our reports as we continue to believe that new iDevice hardware is just around the corner!

LAST UPDATED: 2:53 PM Eastern — Further updates may be posted to this page, but Live Coverage is now Complete. Comments? Post them below!


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