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Apple iPhone proves the axiom: it takes three tries to get any tech product right.

It’s been famously said of Microsoft that it takes them three tries to get anything right.  In actual fact, it probably takes every company three tries to deliver a truly great product. Release 1 – get the product to market.  Release 2 – listen to customers and correct the biggest omissions in the product.  Release 3 – fit and finish.

Take, for example, Apple and the iPhone.  Famously missing 3G in the first release, cut and paste, search and numerous other features through the first 2 releases, iPhone OS 3.0 delivers the goods.  And that’s what OS 3.0 is – the fit and finish release.

Search – not only did the team at Apple finally deliver the ability to search your inbox in this release, they went a step farther.  You can search the entire phone – music, photos, calendar items, business cards, emails and so on.  It’s the best search I’ve ever used on a mobile device.

Cut and Paste – the company that pioneered it on the desktop, finally implemented it on the phone.  ‘Nuff said.

Camera – yes, iPhone 1 and 3G had a camera – with no autofocus, no ability to take video, and the same pixel count as the Olympus point and shoot I bought in 1998.  iPhone 3GS corrects those deficiencies and brings the pixel count up to an anemic 3 megapixels, the same as Nokia’s 2006 vintage N93.  It’s still not close to the two year old N95’s 5 megapixels, or the jaw dropping 8 and 12 megapixel devices coming from Sony Ericsson and Samsung.  And for the price, how about some premium optics and a flash, Apple?

Sharing a contact – yes, unbelievably you couldn’t share a contact without installing a 3rd party application on prior releases of the OS. How long has BlackBerry been able to accomplish this simple feat?  Now iPhone can too.

Speed – not just on the new iPhone 3GS hardware, but also on the 3G hardware, OS 3.0 is much snappier

Voice Control – famously missing from a device that is often used in a vehicle and that has no physical buttons. Not just voice dial, however, but full on voice control.  Driving home yesterday I told iPhone to “Play songs by Diana Krall”, and moments later was listening.  As with search, this is the best voice dial I’ve used on a mobile phone. 

There are numerous other enhancements, especially with the 3GS hardware.  Every iPhone owner should install OS 3.0, at minimum. And, although it falls short in several areas compared to the competition, in my opinion the 3GS hardware is also worth the upgrade, if for no other reason than speed.

Third times the charm.  Even for Apple.

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