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Apple announces iPhone 3.0 preview event

On Thursday, Apple invited the press to a special sneak peak of version 3.0 of its iPhone operating system. The event goes down next Tuesday (March 17) at 10am Pacific, and already the blogosphere is buzzing with speculation.

This is the first time the company has announced the existence of a new point release of the popular mobile OS, though many have speculated that Apple was working on a vast upgrade after the company failed to announce any further updates to version 2.2.

The invitation reveals no details about the event, though its blueprint motif — which resembles the icon of the Xcode IDE — indicates the demo will likely be targeted toward iPhone application developers. The Apple Blog’s Darrell Etherington notes that the invitations wording — “Get an advance preview of what we’re building” — indicates that the event will be a preview, rather than a release.

Competition heating up in the smartphone OS space. Android may still have some ways to go to level with the iPhone OS, but Cupcake is addressing some lingering issues, and more phones besides the G1 will be hitting the market any day now. There’s also the looming threat of the Palm Pre and WebOS, which is coming any day now. And Nokia’s Symbian and Microsoft’s Windows Mobile should not be forgotten. They could still affect the landscape in unforeseen ways.

Many bloggers (of which OSnews’s Adam S is representative) are hoping for perennial wish list items like multitasking, Flash support, some kind of notification system, and — of course — copy and paste functionality. Apple could also announce some kind of “Dashboard for iPhone,” lowering the barrier to iPhone app development by letting simple Web applications run on the iPhone in a similar fashion to Mac OS X’s Dashboard.

Gizmodo, which has been pushing for the Palm Pre since its introducing at CES earlier this year, gave an extensive magical unicorn-fantasy list of items — many of which are unlikely to matter to Apple. On the other hand, long-time Apple watcher John Gruber posted a link to his iPhone 3.0 wish list from January’s Macworld Expo in January. His three predictions are simple: copy and paste, a redesigned home screen, and background notifications.

It’s obvious that Apple’s not one to play catch-up. Despite the iPhone’s phenomenal success, the company is intent on improving its products. Next week’s event is proof that Apple intends to continue to dominate the smartphone space.

And, hopefully, finally add copy and paste.

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