iPhone 3G: 4 Days and Counting Down to Firmware 2.0!

iPhone 3G 2.0 Software Rumor Roundup

This is it. We're in the home stretch. 5th round, time's almost up, and Steve Jobs is slapping on the arm bar. In 4 days we find out if Apple scores the submission, the two-peat for smartphone (even gadget) undisputed heavyweight title, or if they gas out with their mostly evolutionary, not so much revolutionary, next generation handset.

Saturday we mentioned one big change: the fast 3G data chip. Yesterday it was GPS. Today we're tackling the 2.0 Firmware update.

What is this and why should you want it? Read on after the break!

The original iPhone shipped with firmware 1.0, but was rapidly updated a number of times, topping out at 1.1.4. Many times there were significant features added with these updates, such as customizable home pages, Google Maps location services, the WiFi Music Store, and many more.

But we ain't seen anything like 2.0. The big news?

Enterprise functionality, including Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, 802.1x secure WiFi networking, Cisco VPN, remote wipe, and other big business demanded features have been baked right in (which will also benefit other large institutions like Universities).

MobileMe integration across iPhone, Windows, and Mac, for "Exchange for the Rest of Us".

New settings, like enabling/disabling 3G, choosing push vs. manual data sync, parental controls, secure erase, and others will increase the amount control we have over our devices.

The built-in applications are getting tweaked as well. Mail will be getting mass-move and mass-delete, and PowerPoint and iWork previews. You'll be able to geo-tag your photos and save images from email and the web.

And last but the opposite of least: the App Store, where everything from games, to business productivity tools, to educational references, to even Jobs-doesn't-know-what will be available right from the iPhone's home screen (more on the App Store as we continue counting down).

And the best news? On July 11th, the 2.0 firmware will not only be available on the iPhone 3G, but as a free download to all original iPhone (2G) owners as well!

If you don't mind getting your drool on, Apple has a Guided Tour flaunting showing off all the 2.0 "what's new" goodness. Check it out!

I know I can't wait. What new feature are you most looking forward to?

Rene Ritchie

Editor-in-Chief of iMore, co-host of Iterate, Debug, ZEN and TECH, MacBreak Weekly. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter, App.net, Google+.

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There are 16 comments. Add yours.

jason m says:

The App Store hands down! This is going to bring what Palm, Symbian, and Blackberry owners have had to the millions who own iPhones.
This is going to be "the" device to have. There's no telling what is going to be available in the App Store. But I'll tell you this much...I'm excited about it.
And I don't even own an iPhone...yet.

xjb says:

Definitely the VPN update. My university has excellent wireless coverage - but the iphone (1.0) VPN client is incompatible. Given that I connect now to wireless on my laptop with a cisco VPN client - I'm assuming the 2.0 firmware will finally let me access wifi on campus.

WatersWest says:

Frankly, support of Exchange ActiveSync. I use exchange e-mail on my WinMo phone now. I didn't want to change that, so I've been waiting on iPhone until exchange support was there. Now that it is, I will be jumping in with both feet for the iPhone 3G. It'll also be nice to have GPS. I use triangulation with Google Maps on WinMo. It works well, but it would be really nice to know EXACTLY where I am (especially in a non-familiar city) as opposed to just approximately where I am.

Benji says:

Multilayer games over wi-fi...or file transferring to other iphones via wi-fi is what I'm looking forward to...at lease multilayer should be a no-brainer, but something tells me Apple is going to screw us over and not offer the ability to connect to other phones via wi-fi in the SDK. WTF?

acredit says:

any word on if the app store will launch early (2.0 softwear, etc)? or am i wasting all my prayers...

An (increasingly disgruntled) iphone owner says:

Cut and paste?
Drive mode?
Flash?
A browser that doesn't crash every 15 minutes?
Extended media format (e.g. divx) compatibility?
...
oh. none of those things ...
well ... at least it's free ...
what's that? App Store ... generate tremendous revenue ... increase per user expenditure ... projections of ~$100 per customer per annum?
... and ... what's that now ... pushing ... new services ... with additional monthly expenses ... under guise of ... 'new feature' (mobile me)???
...
well ... at least the data and voice plans are still Apple simplistic: easy packages, activation at home, simple
...
what's that ...
oh ...

spinedoc says:

A2DP? Oh wait, that's not included. Maybe 3.0, of the iphone 4g.

jason m says:

@An (increasingly disgruntled) iphone owner,
uh...no one is forcing you to keep your iPhone. Well, other than your contract that is...
...what's that...you could buy yourself out of it?
...oh.

jason m says:

@An (increasingly disgruntled) iphone owner,
Not trying to start anything with you. I'd love to have an iPhone and have the problems you're talking about.
The iPhone is still the handset that people want. Sure it doesn't do a couple of "important" things, but if you need all that than buy a super mobile lightweight laptop. A phone is a phone. Make some calls, try to enjoy your interface, feel good about the fact that you can surf the "real" web, listen to your music library, revel in the fact that you have an amazing screen to look at photos, take some pictures, upload them to your blog...have fun with it.
You seem like a power user for handsets, maybe the iPhone wasn't the right phone to fill your needs.
Just sayin...
2G...3G...whatever. I wants an iPhone!!

An (increasingly disgruntled) iphone owner says:

You're not getting it:
(and I'm still not understanding why people ever hoist the 'you don't have to own one' argument)
The point of my post is that the iphone has been constantly hyped up as being THE model for what mobiles should be.
I never said it wasn't an excellent phone - it is. But there's been a disconnect for over a year now between what the iPhone purports to be - essentially, the Platonic form of 21st century cell phones - and what features it offers.
I just don't drink the kool-aid. And guess what, I get to own one AND still not do so. The one doesn't follow from the other.
What's particularly disturbing is that Apple can take the time and engineering effort to roll out many things aimed at expanding revenue per user / customer base (enterprise, app store, lower price components e.g. plastic) but they neglect fundamental features: video capture, copy, drive mode, etc.
These aren't engineering marvels or impossible tasks - they're often a function of Apple's paranoia or its bean counters (and yes, Apple has bean counters just like any other company) saying 'nein'.
So please, don't give me the 'if you don't like it, don't keep it' crap. There's a fundamental disconnect between the iPhone spin and the reality. And there's yet to be a forthright explanation for why we (people who own the phone) lack features that so many others with 'lesser' phones have in their possession.

jason m says:

I thought they addressed the reason(s) why some features can't be added.
To copy and paste would mean they would have to have multiple apps open at once, and they've decided to conserve battery life by eliminating this feature. At least this is what I gathered from the keynote when they were explaning mobileME.
It seemed like they were saying that adding the feature of copy and paste would drive down battery performance, due to the fact that multiple apps would have to be open at once. Would all that copy and pasting really drive down battery performance? I don't know, I'm not a science geek, but they seem to think so.
Our demands as consumers are sometimes a little crazy. We want it all, we want it cheap, and we want it now. The iPhone is missing some "fun" things that would make it "perfect" is what I'm hearing you say. I agree.
The people with lesser phones can't do some of the things the iPhone can do, such as full internet, iTunes integration, an amazing touch screen, stable OS, etc.
They have more of a leg to stand on than copy and paste, drive mode, and stereo bluetooth when it comes to complaining about what their phone can't do.
I apologize for not supplying a more solid counterpoint to your earlier post. I'll try harder next time.

Rene Ritchie says:

I don't think you'd need multiple apps open for cut and paste, just a system wide clipboard service that could be put or got from any app that is currently open. I.e. you open Safari, copy text, text gets placed in ClipBoardService, close Safari, open Mail, paste text, and text gets read from ClipBoardService and placed into your cursor position in Mail.
My understanding is that Apple is perfectionistic about things, and so far none of the interfaces/gestures they've come up with to drive cut and paste are good enough for them. Remember, Multi-touch is a whole new GUI paradigm, like moving from the Apple II to the Mac.
The engineering for his needs to be nailed, utterly and completely (from Apple's POV). When they're happy with it, they'll launch it. I'm hoping it will be 2.x, and not 3.x.

jason m says:

See, now that's a good point.
What you just said makes sense.

An (increasingly disgruntled) iphone owner says:

That's pretty condescending to my earlier posts.
Also pretty sycophantic toward the author of the piece.
And, finally, pretty much incorrect. I think I made several good points, your earlier sarcasm ('I'll try harder') not withstanding.
Let me be clear for you, and, in the process, clarify several of your earlier misstatements.

  • I don't really care if it's expensive to have. I as a consumer am pretty demand inelastic with respect to price. Join me if you'd like, pass if you so desire.
  • Your justification for not having copy and paste reeks of myopia / rose-colored glasses. Not having copy and paste to conserve battery life? Are you for real?
    Moreover, do you not see the irony in serving that as a justification when they are rolling out battery-killing 3g just in time for the holiday shopping season? (perish the thought that we don't require 3g even though the world is becoming more and more a ubiquitous wifi environment)
  • You've rolled over (without considering) my earlier (critical) point: I'm not asking for a PERFECT phone. I'm asking that the iPhone live up to the spin and hype that pervades the word-of-mouth, reviews, and marketing of the damn thing. The iPhone is touted as being the MODEL for what a phone should be in 2008. Yet, we lack ESSENTIAL features (copy/paste), features that could be EASILY implemented (drive mode / video capture), or features that are absent simply because of an inability on the part of Apple to 'play nice' with a potentially rival company / companies (greater media compatibility across a variety of formats / Adobe Flash integration issues).
  • If I owned a $49.99 Motorola flip phone, I'd agree - these criticisms and demands would be off base. I don't own a $49.99 Motorola flip phone. I own a $599.99 + tax (original price that I paid) miniature computer with more onboard potential than the computers which currently guide our 1980s era space shuttle. I'm not asking for 'perfection' - I'm asking for the phone to live up to its promise.
  • It's galling (and I recognize I run the risk of repeating myself here, so apologies, but I think it's worth reiterating) that, with all those features that we'd like still absent, Apple can nevertheless muster the time and effort to put forth features which enable it / carriers to pocket more revenue. I"m ALL FOR profit making - horray for capitalism - but I'm not a fan of it happening at the cost of authenticism, i.e. if product x is touted as 'so great' than product x should live up to that hype, not merely move on to additional consumer bases to avoid the controversy of falling shy of the mark in a few (but a critical few) areas.
An (increasingly disgruntled) iphone owner says:

NB: I also appreciate the participation of the author of this piece. As, for a matter of fact, do I appreciate the participation of jason m. I'm all for discussion from varying perspectives. It'd be nice if the discussion could engage my points rather than merely disparage them though!
(yes, I too can be sycophantic ;))

Rene Ritchie says:

No worries, and no device is perfect, especially not perfect for everyone. If there was such a mythical device, after all, it would render the interweb chatboards silent, and we couldn't have that!