iPhone OS 3.0 promises more than 100 new features
"Apple said the new operating system would be available to current iPhone users at no charge sometime this summer. It will sell for $9.95 to owners of the iPod Touch." - NYT
Apple officially unveiled its iPhone OS 3.0 beta Tuesday, promising more than 100 new features to bolster the functionality of iPhone and iPod touch applications. According to Apple, the SDK for iPhone OS 3.0 boasts more than 1,000 new APIs, including support for apps to communicate with hardware accessories attached to iPhone or iPod touch devices. The update will also include the long-promised  Apple Push Notification service, which offers developers a channel to alert users of new information, even when your application isn't running--developers may now send text notifications, trigger audible alerts or add a numbered badge to their application icon.
Additional highlights of the iPhone OS 3.0 SDK include:
In App Purchase, which enables users to purchase content or services from an application, e.g. new levels of a game or additional chapters of an e-book. Apple's new Store Kit framework will supervise the financial aspects of the transaction, process payment with the iTunes Store and provide the application with information about the purchase.
Peer-to-Peer Connectivity, which enables mobile game developers to add multi-player capabilities.
In addition, the new Game Kit framework allows any application--not only games--to communicate between devices via Bluetooth.
Map Kit, another new framework that enables programmers to embed maps within their applications. Map Kit works with the Google Mobile Maps Service to offer panning and zooming, custom annotations, current location and geo-coding.
iPod Library Access, which enables applications to directly access music, podcasts or audio books in a user's iPod library by means of the updated Media Player framework.
At Tuesday's press preview, Apple also confirmed rumors  iPhone OS 3.0 will add support for MMS and cut, copy and paste functions--in addition, it will extend Spotlight, a desktop OS feature that allows users to conduct searches through all information on the device. Apple added that the new OS will be available free to iPhone users sometime this summer, although iPod touch owners must fork over $9.95 for the update.