Christmas came a day early for iPhone Phans. They were expecting the iPhone 2.0 firmware update on July 11, but it became available for download (if you knew where) along with the new MobileMe software (ditto) and early adopters were updating their iTunes software to version 7.7 and examining the new AppStore (discussed below), which is already online.
I’m not talking about the new iPhone 3G device, which debuts tomorrow, rather the iPhone 2.0 firmware update — which will also run on the 3G by the way. iPhone 2.0 runs on today’s iPhone version 1.0 device.
More than 550 applications are available at opening, 130 of them are free. The iPhone Phaithful began downloading these applications this morning.
- Prices: $0 – $69.99
- Free: about 25% pf apps
- $0.99 – $9.99: about 70% of apps
- Over $9.99: about 6% of apps
The selection of applications at the AppStore range from the sublime to the silly.
For the sublime, Epocrates Rx is highly valued by physicians and is indespensible in their moving from the Palm, Windows Mobile, or BlackBerry platforms — to the iPhone.
On the silly side, PhoneSaber is a little application that allows you to display a lightsabre, in your choice of color — upon your iPhone screen — and when you move and rotate your iPhone, it makes the renown Star Wars lightsabre sound. But it’s cool.
Loopt on the other hand, is one of the first of many location-based social media applications. There are over half a dozen presently on the AppStore, including MySpace, Facebook, and Twitterific (for Twitter) but this one ties in friends and location in new and innovative ways — as was shown at the Steve Jobs announcement at the recent Apple WWDC.
Remote, which has become popular in the first day, is an application that allows you to control iTunes remotely via WiFi. The iPhone is becoming a universal remote, software utility belt, and information treasury.
Applications drive volume in attracting both developers and consumers to a new platform. Windows Mobile has many applications available for smartphones, the Palm platform has thousands of applications. For Apple to jump in to this market with over 500 applications on the first day is remarkable. Many have complained that it took Apple a year to open up the platform. Those who couldn’t wait would “jailbreak” their iPhone to install 3rd party apps. But now there is a remarkably easy and attractive way to select, download, and install free or inexpensive software applications for this device. In addition to syncing from iTunes, applications can be downloaded and installed over-the-air from the AppStore application on the iPhone.
Installing the iPhone 2.0 firmware update is quite straightforward. After downloading it through iTunes — which you’ll first want to update to version 7.7 — you install the firmware update to the iPhone. You have a choice of “wiping” the iPhone clean, or installing it and retaining all your settings. I elected the former, as I wanted a pristine device. However, if you want to keep your settings, note that by using this approach you may lose your Notebook data on the iPhone and all your email account settings, along with other settings and home page bookmarks.
In this scenario, I elected to restore my Calendar and Contacts — essentially overwriting the iPhone with iCal and Address Book information.
More details in my next post.