If you left this week's Apple event a little underwhelmed, it's because most of 3.0's new features have been available via Cydia and the App Store. Here's how to enable iPhone 3.0's biggest additions today.
Since many of iPhone 3.0's features were deliberately blocked by restrictions in the official SDK, for several of these apps, you'll have to jailbreak. But don't you just love that we already have the definitive tutorial on jailbreaking your phone to hold your hand through the process? That said, a lot of these features are available via free and paid apps in the App Store too.
So start with jailbreaking, then get yourself downloading these apps to get that fresh 3.0 experience before the software even drops.
Cut and Paste: Clippy (Cydia, Free while in Beta)
Apple's ridiculously delayed cut and paste solution looks slick. Slicker than Clippy, the best unofficial C+P solution, which still gets the job done though. One limitation is that you can only reliably copy and paste where you have access to the keyboard (so grabbing web snippets other than URLs is tough), but if you're staying in the main text-input apps, it works. Copying text from web pages is technically possible now, but it's extremely buggy and crashes Safari.
GPS Turn-by-Turn: xGPS (Cydia, Free)
iPhone 3.0 is totally fine with turn-by-turn GPS apps, as long as you bring your own maps to the table (Google's can't be used due to licensing issues). xGPS does use Google's Maps, and does turn-by-turn brilliantly with active GPS tracking.
Tethering: iPhoneModem/PDANet (Cydia, Free)
We've got you covered with another detailed tutorial on tethering your iPhone to your Mac (with iPhoneModem) or Windows machine (with PDANet). Keep in mind, the iPhone has always supported tethering—iPhone 3.0 simply brings an official software tool to do it, but it's still up to the network carriers to enable the feature (and set the pricing). Tethering via these jailbreak solutions works in the meantime, but be careful with how much data you use to not raise any eyebrows at the Death Star.
Email Multiple Photos: Emailpix (App Store, $3)
There have been several official apps touting multi-photo emailing, but for the most part they've been sloppily implemented. Emailpix does it fairly smoothly, though, and gives you a choice of resolution to send to save time. Granted, it takes a while, and emails are sent from Emailpix's server, so you may not want to use it for your nude self portraits.
Bluetooth File Transfer: iBluetooth (Cydia, Free 15-day trial)
iBluetooth lets you pair with your computer to send and receive files. It's kind of buggy, but does work (try setting up a PIN code if you can't get your phone to pair initially).
Universal Search: Search (Cydia, Free)
It doesn't search your applications or your iTunes music like the 3.0 version, but Search is great for the most valuable searching situation: email. It also searches contacts, notes, SMS and the web. If you have a ton of apps, consider pairing Search with QuickGold, a Quicksilver-like app launcher that can also search your contacts, SMSs and Safari history in addition to apps.
Accelerometer Controls: mCoolPhone (Cydia, Free Trial/$3)
The "shake to shuffle" feature in OS 3.0 is kind of lame, and while mCoolPhones can't touch your iTunes functionality, it lets you assign shake events to various other phone functions, like answering calls.
Notes Sync: iPhoneNotes (Mac-only desktop App, Jailbreak required. Free)
To pull off native notes sync, make sure you have OpenSSH installed on your jailbroken phone and grab iPhoneNotes, which will import all of your notes and also sync back any text file you have on your computer.
Background Apps/Push Notifications: Backgrounder (Cydia, Free)
iPhone 3.0 will attempt to solve the multitasking problem by providing a long-awaited framework for push notifications, which will allow apps to get your attention when they're not running. But it stops short of true background multitasking, which most Cydia apps are capable of (especially services like SSH). You can use Backgrounder to force official App Store apps to keep running even when you switch away to another app. It's great for keeping IM apps open and signed in while you do other things.
Landscape Keyboard: iRealSMS (Cydia, €10) and EasyWriter (App Store, Free)
Ah, the beloved landscape keyboard. In iPhone 3.0 it's coming system-wide (finally), but you've been able to get one in the most important typing apps (email and SMS) for a while. For email, try the free EasyWriter App Store app, and for SMS, there's iRealSMS, which also adds a number of other features for hardcore texters like quick-replying and advanced sorting.
MMS: SwirlyMMS (Cydia, $8) and Get MMS (App Store, $4)
MMS is a major hole, and its implementation via unofficial apps thus far has been shoddy. The best is SwirlyMMS, but even that doesn't work very well with AT&T's MMS provider, which most people will obviously be using. But if you're not on the Death Star, give Swirly a try.
Get MMS, on the other hand, makes receiving MMS messages via AT&T's annoying web interface a little easier. It takes a screengrab of the login and password AT&T sends, and lets you save the attached video or photo.
Voice Memos: Epiphany (App Store, $2)
There are a million and a half voice recorders in the App Store, but we love Epiphany, which buffers its recordings and only goes back in time to grab the important parts when you tell it to. It can't send the clip via MMS like iPhone 3.0 will be able to, but it will easily sync with your computer via wi-fi.
Adding Features Still Missing From iPhone 3.0:
Video Capture: Cycorder (Cydia, Free)
The biggest thing Apple still has yet to add into iPhone 3.0 is video recording. Thankfully, Cycorder is incredibly capable.
Flash: iMobileCinema (Cydia, Free)
iMobileCinema is a deep, deep beta plugin for Safari that supposedly enables Flash videos for a few sites. Its major compatibility claim though, with Google Video and YouTube, is moot because Apple's YouTube app catches these URLs and plays them fine. A good project to keep an eye on though.
So as you can see, the majority of iPhone 3.0's feature additions are already needs that have been addressed by third-party devs. Of course, most of these apps will not be as elegant as Apple's native solution, but it shows that iPhone 3.0 is largely about catching up.
The jailbreak world is big. If you know of any apps not covered here that address any of these features, please let everyone know in the comments. Additional research for this post by Nick Ellenoff
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