Apple's iPhone OS 3.0 event, mentioned in the previous post, has drawn to a close.  The media event, held at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, was an advanced preview of the upcoming iPhone 3.0 firmware that will be released "this summer."  As of today, Apple is making a beta version of the new firmware available to developers so that they can begin utilizing the new features it brings.

And those features are many.

As Apple SVP of iPhone Software Scott Forestall revealed, iPhone OS 3.0 brings 1,000 new APIs for developers to use in their applications.  These APIs, along with various App Store enhancements, bring a wide range of new capabilities to the iPhone, such as:

  • MMS messaging
  • Cut, copy, and paste
  • Push notifications
  • In-application purchasing
  • Peer-to-peer connectivity
  • In game voice
  • Live streaming audio
  • iPod library access
  • Stereo Bluetooth audio support
  • Audio recording
  • Shake API

Prior to the event, Apple asked several developers to spend two weeks with the beta firmware and produce applications that showcase some of the new capabilities.  A number of applications were demonstrated but, of course, Touch Arcade readers will be most interested in how the 3.0 OS will improve gaming on the device, and so I'll focus on the game demonstration's from today's event.

Apple's Greg Jos introduced a short film piece that takes a look at Steve Demeter, author of Trism [App Store], one of the early App Store successes.  The piece points out that Steve developed Trism entirely outside his dayjob and the game's success allowed him to transition to full-time iPhone development.

Travis Boatman from Electronic Arts took the stage to demonstrate the company's forthcoming iPhone version of The Sims 3.  The game demonstrated the 3.0 OS support of in-game purchasing.  Boatman bought several items through an in-game store system for the Sims at a price of $0.99 each.  The title also showed off 3.0's iPod library access capabilities by having a Sim turn on his in-game stereo and play back music directly from the unit's onboard music library.

Ngmoco's Neil Young took the stage and discussed the company's upcoming titles Touch Pets, the electronic pet simulator, and LiveFire, a first person shooter with 3G and WiFi multiplayer support.  Touch Pets was used to demonstrate 3.0's new push notification system.  An onscreen notification was shown of a requested "play date" with someone else's dog.  In-game purchasing of doggie sweaters, hats, bones, and the like was also shown.

LiveFire was news to everyone (see more images in our previous post).  It's a touch-controlled FPS (slide to move, tap to fire) that supports multiplayer matches over a 3G or WiFi network and lets you send push notifications to a friend list, inviting them into your game.  LiveFire features the ability to purchase various weapons through a store system within the game.  In a bind and need a rocket launcher?  That'll be $0.99, please.  (Ngmoco has confirmed that the shown pricing was just for the purpose of demonstration.)

Apple shared a few statistics with the crowd during today's presentation, as well.  Forestall indicated that, through December 2008, 17 million iPhone were sold.  Adding iPod touch sales to the mix brings the number sold up to 30 million devices.  The free iPhone SDK has been downloaded over 800,000 times and over 50,000 companies and individuals have signed on to Apple's development program--over 60% of them having never developed anything for an Apple platform previously.  Forestall also indicated that the 25,000 applications currently in the store represent 96% of all apps that have been submitted, and that 98% of those were approved in a week or less.

The iPhone is an amazing success for Apple.  The company exceeded their target 2008 sales figures and has the most versatile and elegant mobile / smartphone on the market.  iPhone 3.0 greatly expands the unit's capabilities and should bring a wave of applications that exploit the iPhone's capabilities on a whole new level--and among those applications, of course, are games.

Apple will be releasing the iPhone OS 3.0 upgrade this summer, free to all iPhone owners.  The iPod touch upgrade will be available at a cost of $9.95.

[ Photos 1 & 3 courtesy of Engadget, photo 2 courtesy of Gizmodo ]

  • f e a r l e s s

    Took long enough! How to get beta?

  • Nicolinux

    Thanks for the news Blake. It's very nice to see that Apple seems to listen to the devs. Bluetooth thettering should be interesting for games and also the ingame voice chat. As for the micro payment model I think that it will be overly used in the beginnings. Those intrusive popups will get annoying very fast.

  • Craig

    As much as the updates should be great, it sucks that iPod touch users have to pay for the update.

  • Adams Immersive

    Micro payments will be abused--and the abusers will be ignored. The games that USE it properly could be be great products. We'll have reviews and ratings to help us make wise choices, same as now.

    I look forward to seeing what OTHER little improvements happen between this demo and the summer release. (I hope the home screen changes more than we've seen--in functionality, at least. Appearance is fine.)

    (Free updates have always been a perk on the more-expensive and subscription-accounted iPhone and not on the Touch. That was never likely to change, much less for a really BIG update.)

  • Liam(aka The Game Reaper)

    in ngmoco's twitter they have confirmed that pricing was just a demo.

  • mek

    i for one would not like to buy a 9.99 game, just for it to have me spend an additional 99 cents to get a rocket launcher, and if i dont get the rocket launcher, i can't play cause other people have the rocket launcher

    I do believe that will get OLD real fast

    just sell me a complete game

  • Rychiar

    i sure hope they announce a new phone. i stuck by my original one for a reason and dont plan to buy a 3G now. but i want mms!

  • tiago

    Dude, apple don`t you get enough? Now we have to pay EXTRA for little things in game? worst move ever.

  • Neil

    We'll clarify how purchasing systems will work for LiveFire later tonite in a blog post - it's way more gamer friendly than I think folks are imagining.

    --- Neil.

  • Bloc Party

    Wait...another costly Touch update?

    Forget it.

    Beyond a joke. This expensive gadget is fast becoming a liability.

  • Porsupah

    Hands up all those surprised that the iPhone Dev Center login page is either timing out or issuing an HTTP Service Unavailable error.. ^_^;

  • Shane

    Probably, games with micro payments will be free, or cheap, and use small purchases like that to make the bulk of revenue (wonder what the revenue sharing agreement for that is?)

  • Bloc Party

    Yeah good luck with that Neil, personally i think you are on a one way street to consumer isolation. People will respect you a whole lot more if you just sell a complete game that doesn't end up giving multiplayer advantages to people who are willing to spend more money on crappy ingame sales.

    God imagine what the Laminar guys are going to do with this concept. Probably start charging for ingame avgas.

  • Neil

    @Bloc Party - I think it's an incorrect assumption that we'd ever let in-app commerce trump play balance.

  • Noah

    LOL @ $10 iPod touch update. SO GLAD I have an iPhone.

  • gadgetking

    Has anything been mentioned about increasing the 144 app limit with this update?

  • 8bitgeorge

    Guys, it was already mentioned that LiveFire's pricing was ONLY a demostration of the capabilities of the new OS. Stop with the rocket launcher comments (I know - it's stupid) and wait until an aclaration is made. I hope it'll be more gamer friendly.

  • snow_mani

    @ mek - I agree with you. I don't want to buy incomplete games (well I don't want to buy games that are more incomplete than a lot of them already are) where I have to purchase additional items within the games to play them. That will get old very, very fast.

    @ gadgetking - I was looking for info on the app limit too. And I would love to have seen a change to how we can organise apps on the devices. Some kind of categories, etc would have been good. But it seems I am to be disappointed. Looks like I'll be jailbreaking soon.

  • JCat

    I just went back and read the article after only skimming it to see what all the rocket launcher talk was about and...yikes, this is not good -- not good at all. I know in the article, the company mentions that it was only a demonstration, but can you imagine having to purchase the higher powered weapons in a multi-player game? Those who shell out the extra 99 cents will have a ridiculous advantage.

    Is this going to be the new wave? A main stream game for only 99 cents, but the catch is, you're only purchasing the basic game - minus many of the important enhancements?

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  • SalsaMD

    For N + 1 ebooks (non-classic) I think this model is reasonable as that is how it works anyway.

    If a complete game is released at price x, and gets later massively overhauled to a significantly more in depth game worth price y, then I think it may also be reasonable to charge an upgrade price of y-x, as the dev could just as well release a different game. This would be tantamount to the software analogy of Final Cut Express and Final Cut Pro, where users would still have a complete game, though perhaps less in depth, if they chose not to upgrade.

    Beyond these examples, this new feature is highly questionable...

  • Fred

    I won't buy games with pay-addons, as I don't buy multi part games (Toy bot Stories, Puzzle Quest, etc.) now. If a tower defense game gets some quality maps after 6-12 monts and after some free ones, this might be ok, but extra-weapons, paying for every update or to get a decent amount of maps is a no-go.

  • slappy

    Stop complaining about 10 bucks. So skip Starbucks for a few days.. better yet, brew your own coffee. The money you save can keep you funded for buying new apps all year long.

  • Blake Patterson

    @Jcat: "I know in the article, the company mentions that it was only a demonstration, but can you imagine having to purchase the higher powered weapons in a multi-player game? Those who shell out the extra 99 cents will have a ridiculous advantage."

    I point you to Neil's comment: "I think it’s an incorrect assumption that we’d ever let in-app commerce trump play balance."

    What you suggest would clearly throw off play balance dramatically.

  • Blake Patterson

    @Bloc Party: $10 is costly in the context of an App Store download, but you're getting a dramatic update to the operating system (it's OS X UNIX in there, you know) that brings 1,000 new developer APIs and remedies most of the Ills I've seen the iPhone accused of having: Cut/Copy/Paste, MMS, Peer-to-peer, etc.

    $10 once a year to give your mobile device notable, new functionality does not seem ridiculous to me. And given that past significant iPod touch updates have had a price associated with them, it can't be a surprise that this one (and the next one) will, too.

  • Candy

    You bought a very expensive idevice and some of you are tripping over a mere $9.95? Are you serious?

    I'm going to buy the update as soon as it's available. Sounds like a great improvement. Worth it alone for CUT AND PASTE! 😀

  • NoName

    Touch owners complaining about the upgrade price: you can just download the upgrade for free (ie. not from Apple) . Once you apply it, all further incremental upgrades will be downloadable through iTunes (3.1, 3.2, etc.)

  • David

    You guys are hilarious! Apple has always charged for iPod updates, and this is definitely a huge upgrade. What did you think would happen?

  • Brett Archibald

    Ummm... so what's the excuse then for not allowing MMS on the original iPhone in the 3.0 upgrade...??? 🙁

  • Toaster99

    Who would possibly pay for a rocket launcher in an iphone fps?!?! If I buy a game, I expect all of the game to be there 🙁 Here's to hoping that LiveFire is cracked quickly so people don't waste there money on shit like that....

  • mek

    @Brett Archibald : different bluetooth radio

  • Future777

    At FDG we are very excited about the upcoming 3.0 Software. This means we can go the more comfortable way and e.g. enhance Bobby Carrot Forever with levelpack download functionality instead of releasing levelpack by levelpack as single app downloads.

  • ThePika

    I hope this doesn't turn into more cost for us iPhone gamers. If I bought a game, I don't want to pay more for extra features! Also, updates that cost money! This is an outrage!!!

  • Brett Archibald

    @ mek

    "Bluetooth radio"? Huh? What's that got to do with MMS?

  • Brad

    I can't believe how many people here just don't get it.

    Like what was already mentioned, a good developer will not compromise gameplay balance to make a couple bucks. And the bad developers who do try to do that will get terrible reviews and will not be able to continue that way. I think what this feature is being designed for is for expanding game content (e.g. level packs or larger update that bring significant new features). The Toy Bot Diaries series is one example of what this system would be perfect for. It's like buying expansion packs for computer games. Did anyone have a fit when expansion packs were released for Age of Empires, SimCity, The Sims, etc.? (Although I admit the number of expansions released for a single version of The Sims was a bit much.)

    And as far as iPod Touch users paying for the upgrade, I may be mistaken, but I think it's for legal reason, which explains the iPhone users do not have to pay because it is a subscription service. Either way, $9.95 a year for extensive new features is not bad at all in my opinion.

  • Andres

    When they say peer to peer do they mean an ad hoc mode like the psp has for when you have no wifi?

  • Alex

    Has no one read this post and subsequent comments from Ngmoco?

    I'll spell it out: Apple got some of their mates on stage to say nice things about their new SDK and show off some quick-and-dirty examples of a payment mechanism that's intended as much for eBook reader and sat-nav apps as gamers.

    *EXAMPLES.* Demonstrations. Understand?

    Nothing that was shown necessarily represented shipping products.

    I agree with many of the comments here, that charging for bug fixes would be cheeky - it would also be commercial suicide for a developer so don't expect it to happen.

    As for extra content, whether the extra levels recently added to Sway and iDracula, or a new song in a game like Tap Tap Revenge justify a few cents here, a dollar there is down to your own judgement.

    Just vote with your money.

    There's nothing unusual about downloadable extras these days. See Little Big Planet.

  • Noah

    @slappy: Totally. Stop complaining about high gas prices. Just walk to work a few days.

  • mek

    @Brett Archibald - haha hey i didn't say it, it was just in the Q&A according to gizmodo....the question was why the original iphone would not get bluetooth and mms and they said cause of the radio, which i suppose he didn't answer the mms question, that is what they said -haha...

    they are in the business of selling hardware.....and now microsoftware

  • 8bitgeorge

    Thinking further in the DLC situations, it's a good incentive for developers to continue updating released games with decent content (since no one would buy it if they take a cheap approach to selling 1 new feature -- ideally).

  • Reese McLean

    You guys are totally missing out on the biggest announcement for games on the iphone... the ability to use accessories with the dock connector. This means game controller add ons should be coming which will expand the options developers will have to interface and for users to control games.

    For a gadget company it should be an obvious move to make a joystick and button add-on like the concepts we have seen and developing a framework for developers to use. If this idea is not on its way it should be.

  • Fokion

    Yay at cut copy and paste and the possible use of accessories.

    Hopefully, we're finally going to see a Greek keyboard for the machine, as Apple & Vodafone saw fit to release the iPhone over here without one. Needless to say, the iPhone is the only smart phone in the Greek market to suffer from this handicap. Even 5 year old Qtek devices have localized keyboards. But hey, it's a "special" piece of kit, right?

    Anyhoo, looking forward to the update, even if I had to buy a specialized app in order to type e-mails in my native language.

  • David

    Don't be smug, iPhone owners, about the fee. If you plan to keep your iPhone longer than 2 years, then you will have to pay for upgrades as well since Apple is only amortizing the income from the sale of said iPhone for 24 months. Since this fee/no fee is the result of an artificial accounting construct, a 2 year old iPhone is no different than an iPod Touch.

    Ok, you be can snug again, who is going to go 2 years without upgrading to the latest Apple goodness?

  • RedStaR

    You iPod touch users are funny

    3.0 doesn't come out till this summer

    I think you can save 10 bucks til then

    glad I have an iPhone

  • Jesper

    When are they gonna include music quiz in that D:<

  • Dolly

    10 bucks is nothing, really. I think it's an OK price point for ipod touch owners.

    I was just thinking about this accessory thing. An official gaming controller would kill the iphone and ipod touch as gaming devices. Most developers would focus on one of the controller schemes, touch or external d-pad. Very often a half-complete touch implementation will be advertised as "touch and d-pad compatible", and very soon every iphone user would have to pack their d-pad or joystick before going out, or buy Nintendo DS

  • antonioj

    also think the possibility of external controls will finally make the iphone platform to be a complete gaming system

    if it is official, it will be much like the wii stuff...plenty of games have several types of controls, depending on what add-ons people have (balance board, nunchuk, classic controler, gun thing, etc)

  • AntAstrophY

    mirco transactions in games pfft yah i dont think so....
    as for the whole LiveFire pricing for the rocket launcher only being a demo price of 99cents? seriously do we really think they would charge less? 50cents? 20cents? 5 cents?
    if anything i think that 99cent marker would go up

  • sam

    why £5?! every update- i have to pay! then it seems 6 months later it becomes free with next paid for update.

    and this in game pay? do we get any objects with the sims3 or do we have to pay for all?

  • Richard Testani

    My 2 cents.
    I think $10 to pay for a major OS upgrade is not that much. I pay $129 every time they upgrade MacOS X so to pay Apple for the work they are providing isn't that much.

    Input controllers. Would a controller really make sense? The point of the device is to use your fingers as THE input device. A controller with a cord hanging off of a handheld device would seem weird, just get an XBOX. And a controller would lessen the mobility of the iPhone.


  • Aethereus

    pay for breath?