back to article iPhone 3.0 beta reveals mixed blessing

On Tuesday evening, Apple released a beta of the iPhone 3.0 software it had announced that very morn. Details are now hitting the web - big-time. Some of the new features will please iPhoneys, while others spell death for popular applications now available on the iTunes App Store. Apple giveth, and Apple taketh away. Apple …


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  1. Rolf Howarth

    Mixed blessing??

    Let me get this straight, The Register is now complaining because iPhone 3.0 adds features like voice recording and MMS that people have asked for?? How exactly is that a mixed blessing for users?

  2. Jeremy


    "Some of the new features will please iPhoneys, while others spell death for popular applications now available on the iTunes App Store."

    What? They've added a fart button? Jiggly boobs app?

  3. Jeff
    Jobs Halo

    Smug still comes for free

    I'm so glad I don't have to go shopping with the proles to add an app that gives me that warm, comforting feeling that I am truly the pinnacle of humanity, all due to my taste in communications devices!

    I shall now pray to our iFather, iSon and the Holy Jobs.


  4. Alastair

    Re: Mixed blessing??

    Clearly, you're being sarcastic, but I'll indulge...

    The 'Apple taketh away' bit is for developers. Think about it- you're a developer. You work very, very hard at your voice memo app. You sell it for $.99 in the App Store, start making a relatively decent profit. Then Apple come along with a free upgrade and blow you away. What's to stop Apple watching for the most successful apps, then include versions of their own in the next release?

    Obviously, there's no easy solution to this- Apple can't just stop working (especially when we're talking about such basic features at this point) but you can see how devs might get angry.

  5. Gary F

    Desperate Haters

    It's no surprises from the Register here.

    Apple add pretty much all the features that the nerdcore here moan about being missing from the iPhone and they still try (and fail) to put a negative spin on it.

    Am I really supposed to be upset that a FREE update will mean that I don't have to buy third party apps to fulfill certain functions ?

    If those apps are truly any good, then they should not fear competition from these additions.

    There are plenty of apps available now that replicate and add to the existing built-in iPhone apps. If they truly improve or add to the experience they will still sell.

    As I've said before, with this update, the haters are running out of reasons they can use to pour scorn upon the iPhone.

    (Go on, berate the 2mp Camera and no flash - it's about all you've got left and sounds pretty weak now).

    It will me more difficult to justify their worship of the nerd-only google phone (and soon the Palm Pre) with their second rate copy-cat interfaces, poor support and crappy app stores etc.

  6. Richard
    Thumb Down

    Taketh away?

    Only the Apple-hating El-Reg (continuing behaviour which I find bewildering) could misconstrue new (much needed) features for ones being removed.

    Products such as the iPhone are fundamentally designed with the end-user in mind; while it is good to maintain a healthy developer ecosystem, to keep them all in business is not the iPhone's raison d'etre.

    Come on, feel the love...

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    If it was the other way round...........................

    And the developers where ripping off Apple's work I suspect the Jobsian Legal Team would be mounting there veritable steeds and charging down on the miscreants like the four horseman of the apocalypse on crack.

    Most developers for the iPhone are too small to patent or to enforce a patent against the fruity juggernaut so if you come out with a decent "fix" for an apple omission expect to see it reborn in the next version without a royalty in site.

    Ultimately the developers will stop filling apples holes and focus on fart and breast apps as they know that they wont end up as part of the new OS next time around. At that stage it will be interesting to see how the iPhone OS development then evolves.

    Paris. she knows a thing or two about filling holes

  8. David Mantripp
    Thumb Up

    @Gary F

    "nerdcore" ... bullseye :-)

  9. Gotno iShit Wantno iShit
    Dead Vulture


    > What's to stop Apple watching for the most successful apps, then include

    > versions of their own in the next release?

    Apple are unlikely to specifically target any app no matter how popular. Say iBoobs was the top downloaded app, every iBoobs downloaded brings them 30% If they make an Apple iTits in v4.0 they'll be giving it away to all iPhone users. Loath them or hate them, Apple don't aim at their own feet.

    The apps getting killed off here are the ones that go as a result of fixing the major weaknesses of the device. Adding MMS will shift more phones. MMS and voice recorder developers are just innocent bystanders caught in the crossfire. I'm sure Apple are mortified. A landscape keyboard is something that can be shown off in the shop to help shift hardware & contracts. iTits is unlikely to secure many sales.

    If the next gen hardware is as comprehensively upgraded as this software release, camera, video, bluetooth, battery etc then it pains me to admit it may be more than bauble for iTwats. It'll still be way overpriced though.

    Get a life Reg’.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Horns

    Smug comes at a price

    You have to be a twat.

    Jobs in hell - with his junk collection wet knicker fanboys

  11. Pabs


    Not being an iPhone lover, I still think the iPhone lacks some very important features. E.g. 3G is old tech now with HSDPA being much faster, with the 3.0 firmware I must admit I am tempted to switch, but need to wait till december so who knows.

    I always felt the iPhone to be weak, compared to Windows Mobile phones, but the iPod Touch truely is in a class of its own, I would love one of those. The iPone is too larch to be used as a phone, but as the media decive its superb thats why I would choose the Touch.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pavlovian IFan's reaction?

    Interesting to see the almost pavlovian iFan's reaction to this article. It simply details some of the new features and the apps that are likely to be affected by it and yet they immediately jump in with both feet quoting "Apple Hating" register. From a neutral stand point (I quite like the look of the iphone but probably would not get one myself) I find the registers coverage of Apple to be like its coverage of just about every other tech company out there and I do wonder about this 'if your not with us, you are against us' reaction from the iFans.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Both Hur and Dur

    "If you've left in on the tube"

    GPS and Data connections work underground now? I

    Look, Retards. We don't HAVE to like your phone. What happened to "Think Different"? Why has it been replaced with "Conform or die"?

    Yes, it's feature complete now. Yes it looks shiny. I still don't want one. I'm not waiting for new features, or locked into a contract. I just don't want one. It doesn't interest me at all. Yes. Let that sink into your tiny mind. I don't want an iPhone. I know this is shocking to you, but it does happen. People all over the world are buying phones not made by Apple. Does this make you angry? Upset? If you aren't an apple stockholder, and the answer to either of those questions was yes, you MAY want to kill yourself. Just a suggestion.

  14. Benny

    @Re: Mixed blessing??

    "You sell it for $.99 in the App Store, start making a relatively decent profit. Then Apple come along with a free upgrade and blow you away"

    But shirley thats shooting themselves in the foot, as they take a cut from the profits

  15. Dan

    move along, nothing to see here...

    What a non-story. Do you want Apple to add these features or not? Actually, maybe you don't, because it fills the obvious weaknesses of the iphone and allows it's strengths to keep it streets ahead of anything else.

    Anyway, that aside, I've worked for a software house that was a relative bit player in the Microsoft/Citrix market, and having features made obselete by the dominant player(s) in your litle ecosystem is a fact of life. A decent dev will simply move on to something else, or even better, have several products on the go anyway in order to reduce the impact on revenue. Yes, I know that a lot of iphone devs are simply one nerd in a bedroom with an iMac, but that means they also probably have a day job to pay the bills.

  16. Adrian

    @Gary F

    Free ? Try upgrading for free if you own an ITouch. Suprised the unbiased and informative El Reg didn't spot that.

  17. Rich

    That's what they get though

    You have to admit though that you can't expect any different when you develop something that is essentially a stop gap solution for missing core phone functionality. Apple were pretty much always going to get around to implementing MMS in some form, so the developers of these MMS replacement apps must have expected that it would happen at some point. They've released their stop gap applications, and made a bit of money no doubt, until Apple have put native support in to the phone.

    So in summary, you develop stop gap solutions, make make a bit of money in the shot term, then the gap gets closed. This isn't just an Apple problem, it happens everywhere.

    Must admit though I am getting completely fed up with El-Reg's attitudes towards all things Apple. It seems that they never actually let anyone with any enthusiasm review anything Apple related, and they always focus on the negative points far more heavily that the positive.

    I'm an iPhone owner. I've also owned Windows Mobile Phones, Symbian UIQ phones, and god knows what else, and my iPhone, despite being lacking a few features, still kicks all of their asses. And you know why? Because I don't hate it. It doesn't get in my way. That's it.

  18. richard
    Dead Vulture

    @ Gary F

    you're spot on there. how this reveals 'mixed blessings' is beyond me.....

  19. Anonymous Coward

    iTards out in force

    I love how the majority of iTards here seem to think that the title of this article can only have one meaning.

    Here in the world outside Apple, you can choose your own interpretation of words, or even have more than one at once! I understand you feel words should only be used as described in the iDictionary, but many of us don't want to pay more to be able to use less.

  20. Shonko Kid
    Jobs Horns

    This is how it works.

    What's the beef here? You release a device, and make it so that it's reletively easy for 3rd party developers to add features to it, then you see what's popular and add it yourself at the next revision. Uh, why is it a surprise? I bet Apple even use the App Store purchase data to decide what to add next.

    Is there something in the iStore T&C's that suggest Apple would never compete with anything a 3rd party developer submitted? It's not an unending income stream guys, you're not the music industry y'know. You have to develop something else, something new.

  21. Fab De Marco

    Still don't want one....

    These are basic features that should have been on the phone to begin with It makes version 3.0 of the SW a bitter-sweet pill to swallow knowing that one of the biggest companies in the world lacked the foresight it include a feature that has been prominent on near enough all phones for the last 6 years. For all Apple's trumpet blowing about knowing how a user wants to interact with a product they don't know what the end user wants... a phone that does everything a £50 phone does and much much more. The previous version of the even lacked the ability to file transfer via bluetooth.

    Do you still have to wrestle with itunes to get music on it? Is it more of a fashion accessory than a piece of technology?

    I'm sorrry but the stable door is closed and the horse with the iphone in the saddle has bolted all the way over the hill.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Landmine Clearance

    Is bad for the artificial limb business.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    So what?

    Any third-party developer who adds a much wanted feature to a device always knows that at some point their work may become obsolete. It's the chance they take.

    It's happened to me. I saw my sales drop 50% in a month after a feature I added to a device was suddenly offered for free by the manufacturer.

    You hope it won't happen, and its annoying when it does, but you always know there's a distinct possibility. The more obvious and wanted the feature, the more likely it is to become a standard feature.

  24. Ian Yates
    Jobs Horns

    This is bad?

    I don't have an iPhone, but you're basically saying that $1 third-party patches for minor interface niggles are OK.

    For my sins, I have WinMob 6.1 (HTC Touch Diamond), but I can normally find free utilities to fix minor issues - is that not also the case for the iPhone?

  25. Rob Crawford

    Theyre here

    Didn't take long for the saddos to turn up and complain that El Reg isn't asking Apple to have it's babies.

    Lets try again,

    Some app developers will be losing their revenue stream (who apart from a complete mentalist) would pay for something that is now already built in (though I should suspect that paying customers REALLY SHOULD be less than happy as these things should have been there from first release).

    The fine folks at The Reg even pointed out that their favourite keyboard app (which has it's own way of doing things) should be quite from a sales slump after Apples update.

    Strangely the app devs may not be happy abpout this situation.

    I mean how hard to you people work to find something to complain about ?

    Alien becasue the fanboi concept is totally alien to me

  26. Ben Boyle
    Thumb Up

    Kudos to Apple

    Kudos for adding these missing and much whined-about features, in the same way that any other OS builder adds functonality the users want. I'm not a huge fan of either Apple or the iPhone but I do think it's a positive move from Cupertino and removes a couple of my bug bears with the device.

    Still won't buy one though, I'm not a fan of the whole closed system for apps and development. For now I'll stick with WinMo, and cope with its quirks and oddities.

  27. Anonymous Coward


    So I'm chuffed I didn't opt for the iphone when I upgraded last week - because Apple still haven't brought themselves to add the one feature I wanted: multitasking.

    I don't want to multitask much - say 3 things at once, so it should be easy to manage in the UI - but I do want to be able to do it.

    In fact, it's not ME who'll be mutlitasking because poor little v1.0 me can still only do one thing at a time. It's the apps that are useful I want to multitask - like having a GPS logger running in the background without interruption while running a stopwatch.

    Well my new Touch HD does it all very nicely thanks. Admittedly more clunkily, but it does what I want. Usability is more than a pretty interface. Not hard is it?

    If they fix this I'd probably get one next time round.

    (While HTC have clearly learned from Apple, watch Apple now learn from HTC. I bet the next iphone hardware version has a screen of a similarly-high resolution, which it has to be said is impressive.)

  28. Neil

    Not quite the end for some

    The new MMS feature won't work on the original iPhone so those apps which provide this service will have a bit of breathing space for a while.

  29. Stef


    So fanboys are now ecstatic about getting some of the features that everybody else's smartphones have always had (except multi-tasking, obviously) but they were insisting weren't important before?


  30. Richard Cartledge
    Jobs Halo

    Oh come on

    I'm an iPhone fan, but I love ElReg's fanboi/jesusphone stance.

    These articles are the highlight of my otherwise dull and colourless life.

  31. Hayden Clark Silver badge

    but the carrier part was still under development "with carriers around the world."

    In other words, making sure that the tethered connection is either logging in to a special server or uses a separate non-user-changeable APN to allow for differential charging and throttling.

    Thus it will probably be cheaper to buy a separate dongle and SIM for laptop data, instead of using your iPhone. Just not as kewl-looking.

  32. Jon H

    you have to pay for simple features?!

    This is why I'll never buy an iPhone, having to pay 3rd party developers for little features that really should be built in.

    Sure, this 3rd version seems to be catching up but it shouldn't take 3 versions to get there. Voice recording? I've got that on my old WM5 phone and I'm sure my really old SE phone had that.

    So you buy an iPhone, then you have to buy lots of "features", then you seem to have to pay subscriptions for using other apps... hmm, it's not a phone, it's somewhere to throw your money away.

  33. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The iPhone 3G has always done HSDPA - don't know whether that sways your decision or not :)

  34. Adam T

    Publish Video

    You haven't mentioned the changing of "Publish Picture to MobileMe" to "Publish Video"

  35. David

    Still no SMS delivery reports?

    I have an iPhone & while I welcome all the feature add one, I hope they haven't forgotten to add SMS delivery reports. Whole it's not a cutting edge, break through or exciting feature, I find the way the handset handles SMS messages very poorly thought through. Not everyone wants to manage their messages as if they were iChat conversations! If I wanted an IM client, I would install one! I just want an SMS client!! Surely it should have view options?

    I really dearly miss my Sony Ericsson's ability to organize my text life!

    Inbox, outbox, sent items and drafts and a cute little tick beside messages that were sucessfully delivered!

    Call me old fashioned. Call me a bit of a stalker, but I really like to know when a message has been delivered!

  36. Anonymous Coward

    Copying Microsoft

    3rd party did disk defrag, MS built it into their OS, picture viewers etc etc etc

    Apple is just copying Microsoft because their can't think up anything original

    flame-resistant coat on whilst chatting into my MS mobile phone which has cut and paste and MMS built in form day one......

  37. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Quality, not quantity.

    So now it's shit because the it can't "multitask". Define if you will multitask. Having owned the showerofshite that is an HTC Tytn II, these devices can't really multitask either. For a start only one app can be viewed and used at a time. What you microsoft fanbois are taking about is background tasks, semantic I know, but different none the less. The push techology will proved a notification backend. On a portable comms device, they are the only background services that you'd need. Unless you run a shit load of cron jobs, a web server and a database on your mobile. I just cannot understand what else you need to run. If you don't like the phone that's fine - here's an out there suggestion though, stop reading and commenting on articles about it. Unless your a troll of course...

  38. Seanie Ryan

    brains?? anyone?

    do ye all think that apple's dev road map for any device is just thought up the week before?

    i'd lay a safe bet that v1 , v2 and v3 were largely planned before the 1st gen iphone even hit the streets.

    kinda like the way, say , EVERY large company operates... mad that , isn't it???

    cool, its snowing outside....

  39. Anonymous Coward

    Missing features

    Lets get this very very clear. If MMS (or any other feature) was so vital to your life then you shouldn't have bought an iPhone in the first place. If you CHOSE to pay for an MMS app to fill that void in your life then thats your choice, nobody made you. It was pretty clear that Apple would get round to it eventually which they've now done, for free.

    If those missing features were enough to cause you to not buy the iPhone, fine, your choice. I chose to buy one as it did do what I wanted it to and did it well, again, fine, my choice. I'm not going to go around insisting you should have bought one as clearly it didn't fit your needs or you couldn't afford it, thats ok, it doesn't upset me in the slightest. I

    In reverse, please stop hating on those who did choose to buy one and repeatedly telling them why they shouldn't have either. Its a phone, get a grip of yourself and realise how truly sad it is whining about it all the time and continuously preaching how great and smug you are because you don't have one!!

  40. Michael Brown
    Thumb Down

    Enabling tethering

    "Steve Troughton-Smith, chimed in with a tweet saying that he had uncovered the interface for the much-hoped-for tethering capability - though he couldn't quite recall how he had invoked it. (Note to Steve: MacNN says that you can access it through the iPhone's Network settings. You're welcome.)"

    Well, if you actually knew what you were on about you wouldn't make that smart@rse comment about "it's in the Network Settings, stupid". It only appears in the Network Settings once the carrier settings have been updated to enable this screen. Updating carrier settings is something that only the networks or developers normally have access to. When Steve Troughton-Smith said he "couldn't quite recall how he had invoked it" he was saying he didn't know what he'd changed in the carrier settings file that had made the tethering screen available in Network Settings. Of course, once the screen is enabled any fool can find it.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's the software, stupid!

    iPhone 3.0 is a developer update, not an end-user update. Apple is trying to leverage its software ecosystem, just like it did with iPod. Remains to be seen how things work out, but stuff like in-app transactions, peer-to-peer gaming and APIs for external accessories can become HUGE by the end of this year.

    Apple is very well positioned here indeed. Well-planned strategic steps instead of checklists of atomic features. Some of their smarter competitors have already realized that commodity hardware and feature-spam provide no sustainable edge in the competition. But none of them is able to execute anytime soon, just look at the state of their software platforms.

    A rather good blog post here (unless you are a dedicated Apple-hater):

    On the user feature side, the anti-iPhone whining is getting a bit ridiculous. Now we seem to be riding backwards in time with the feature checklists. It’s not enough that iPhone now has bell X and whistle Y, it should have had them in the previous version already!

  42. Fab De Marco

    @ SMS Delivery reports

    Not sure if you are based in the UK but the lack of delivery reports is matched by the fact that o2 do not support them. I am with o2 and have a phone that supports delivery reports but it does not and will never work in the UK, even if the iphone starts to support it.

    Of course if you are not a UK subscriber please ignore the above

  43. boingo
    Thumb Down

    Why no MMS on iphone v1.0?

    mmmm... what h/w is missing from iphone v1.0 that prevents it from doing MMS? Im already doing MMS on mine using a free app store app!!

    smells like forced upgrade to me :(

  44. Steve Dulieu

    @ Fab De Marco

    On o2 in the UK preface your text with "*0#" ( thats star zero hash without the quotes) that will get you a delivery report. Make sure delivery reports are switched OFF on the handset for this to work.

    Cheers, Steve.

  45. Bod

    Where's the antitrust ?

    If Microsoft were to include new features in their OS that essentially kills off a 3rd party app, they'd be bashed with antitrust suits very hard, and all the Apple Zealots would be sure to make their opinion heard about why Microsoft (sorry "Micro$oft" or "M$") are rubbish and everyone should "just buy Apple".

  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Were talking about a voice recording app versus a web browser that was designed expressly with the intention of taking down another corporation. Some perspective please...

  47. Anonymous Coward


    In V1 you asked for ... and we gave you it in V2

    In V2 you asked for ... and we gave you it in V3




    In Vn you asked for ... and we gave you it in Vn+1

    Can any other mobile device say something similar?

    BTW: I think all of the posts elaborate on why the iPhone is such a runaway success.

    They also confer upon Apple to be the best bit of kit on the market whatever that bit of kit does and by doing so enable other alternative devices to develop in a wholesome way (try looking at the big picture)?

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Realistically pragmatic

    Why, if the posts describing iPhone's obvious oversights, misgivings and failures is the dashed thing doing quite as well as it is?

  49. Anonymous Coward

    @Mac Phreak

    > So now it's shit because the it can't "multitask". etc.

    I'll give you my specific reason shall I, it's unique to me but I'm sure others can have equally valid reasons.

    When I'm flying (as in piloting) I've found it handy to have a GPS log being made so I can review my flight on the ground. And mabe have the GPS tell me my lat/long too. It's also handy while the phone is doing that to be able to use a stopwatch function on it. And believe it or not, while doing all this, it's not unknown to make a phone call from the (noisy) cockpit when your radio fails.

    Not too demanding, really, but it's nice to be able to do it all.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    hmmm ... I dunno...

    For GPS inflight data-logging I'd rather go for something bespoke and these tend to, in the main, have quite sizable power units?

  51. captain kangaroo
    Gates Horns

    Anyone remember Darwin....

    OpenDarwin, the Open Source OS from Apple, that was 'officially' scrapped in 2006. "OpenDarwin was originally created with the goal of providing a development environment for building and developing Mac OS X "... as it happens it failed. But, OpenSuse, OpenSolaris etc all provide a blueprint for companies to create a device or OS, invite contribution from coders, and then adopt the idea's into future releases.

    In fact, it makes a lot of sense, and it was how Gates et al all met up and got working together on their first and subsequent OS's...

    The only time it stings is if Apple actually steel code. Steeling idea's is far to difficult to quantify, and that's how this is similar to companies using viral marketing, profiling etc in the never ending quest to find out what the people want, and how's the best way to deliver it.

    Unfortunately, although it makes a good rabble rousing story, i don't think there's anything really wrong with it, as long as all parties go in with their eyes open.

  52. Anonymous Coward

    Repeat after me

    "Palm Pre" "Palm Pre" "Palm Pre" "Palm Pre"

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Anonymous Coward Posted Saturday 21st March 2009 14:50 GMT

    Can your current mobile do that? Impressive if it can, but then again as you point out - really specific need!

  54. Matt Bryant Silver badge


    Last week our resident iDiot jailbroke his iBone just to get cut'n'paste! I feel slightly guilty as I did point him in the direction of the how-to. Ah well, I assume a quick reset to factory defaults and an upgrade to v3.0 when it is released will fix that, followed by a long day of downloading to get his apps back and work out which ones still operate on v3.0. He is gonna KILL me!

  55. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    yadda yadda yadda. Heard it all before with android, T-Mobile can't give the G1 away...

  56. David Chambers
    Thumb Down

    O2 change mind on iPhone MMS

    In the first few days of 3.0 ,O2-UK were quite happily turning on MMS for those who asked, Now they have changed their tune. This is the email they are sending out:-

    Thank you for emailing us about activating MMS service on your iPhone.

    I can understand your concern about activating MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service) on your iPhone. However, it isn't possible to activate MMS on an iPhone accounts as our iPhone tariffs aren't compatible with MMS.

    I appreciate your concern about iPhone developers who're trying to activate MMS on an iPhone accounts. We're looking into this at the moment and further information will be available in due course. This means we're unable to activate MMS service for you currently.

    I'm sorry for any inconvenience that may have been caused.


    The truth is, for those on the iPhone tariff with MMS enabled the billing system is working with each MMS costing 4 Text messages. So this sounds like holding fire until they can come up with some sort of bolt on at extra cost

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