One of the biggest things holding the iPhone (and iPod Touch, but I'm just saying iPhone from here on in for convenience's sake) back from destroying the Blackberry in entertainment business circles is how difficult it is to type. Those touchscreen keys all jammed together make it nigh impossible to avoid typos, even with the sometimes accurate auto-correction function. Forget about typing a long email. It's simply easier to do on a Blackberry.
That's why one of biggest changes for Hollywood in the iPhone 3.0 software coming this summer is seemingly the smallest: The ability to use "landscape mode" when typing emails, texts, or memos. In other words, you can flip your iPhone on its side and type horizontally.
Why does that make things easier? Well, if you're on a computer now, look at your monitor. It's wider than it is high, right? Now look at your keyboard. The same.
But when you type on the iPhone, it's like turning your computer keyboard 90 degrees to the right and scrunching everything together. Now the keys will be further apart, making it easier to type without accidentally hitting the wrong key. A little change, but for those of us who type a lot on our iPhones, especially if we use it for business purposes, it could make our lives a lot easier. And being able to see what we type in widescreen will also make things easier.
What other changes will iPhone owners be enjoying this summer when software version 3.0 (free for iPhone owners; $10 for the iPod Touch) launches?
-Calendar syncing with Yahoo, Google, and other major online calendars. That's a big boost for those who use one of the major online calendar services and want that information to transfer over to the iPhone. But alas it doesn't yet work with Outlook, which is of course the most common calendar app most of us use in the office.
-Cut/copy and paste. And not just within a single email or text. You'll be able to copy from a web page and paste into an email, for instance, or cut text from a memo and paste it into Safari to do a Google search on it.
-"MMS," instead of just "SMS." What the hell does that mean? "SMS" is "short message service" and "MMS" is multimedia message service." So you'll be able to do multimedia in your text messages. most notably photos, but even audio and video clips, depending on bandwidth.
-Global search. If you have a Mac, you're probably familiar with "Spotlight." Regardless of what kind of computer you have, you may (and should) be familiar with Google desktop search. They both let you search your entire computer, be it e-mails, documents, or websites you've been to recently. Now you'll be able to do the same thing on your iPhone.
-Peer-to-peer bluetooth. That will expand the number of wireless bluetooth devices that can connect to the iPhone. Like stereo headsets. And speakers.
-In-application paid content. So now if you buy a game, you'll be able to buy more levels for that game from within it. Or additional content for any application you use. This is a big deal for the developers of iPhone apps, helping them to monetize their content beyond the initial sales. And of course movie studios are amongst the companies getting aggressively into making iPhone apps.
-Parental controls for content. If you share your iPhone with a kid, or actually buy one for them(!), you may not want them watching "Law and Order: SVU" or playing the "Watchmen" game, you can now prevent it, I assume with some kind of code. This could also help the studios, networks, and game developers sell a bit more content. However there are no parental controls for music. If you kid wants to listen to ODB on the iPhone, you're SOL.
-Voice memos. Want to record yourself saying something and send it to your co-worker or friend or loved one? Or maybe you were inspired by Norm McDonald on "SNL" in the '90s and like to leave a "note to self?" Now you can do it on the iPhone.
-An upgraded stock application including recent company news, additional price info, and widescreen charts.