iPhone 2.2 is Shaping up to be one Major Update – [Updated]

With Apple seeding the latest beta of iPhone OS 2.2 to developers, there are now emerging details of feature additions which some users have been requesting since it’s initial introduction. Some of the features that will be added will set a new president for mobile mapping capabilities, while others may set up the road for future, more interesting, feature-full applications further down the line …

[Update 02.11.08] – It seems ‘Over-the-Air’ (OTA) podcasts are also expected from iPhone 2.2. Mac Rumors have more in-depth details here.

Here is what is currently expected of iPhone 2.2;

Japanese Emoji
A few weeks ago some screen-shots leaked onto the net depicting ‘Emoji‘ picture messaging support. Although some sources initially found these to be fake, sure enough, when Apple seeded the first beta of iPhone OS 2.2 to developers, Emoji support was there.

Street View
Along side this rumor was the addition that some people may find too invasive. Google have apparently assisted Apple in adding support for it’s ‘Street View’ [Wiki] technology, to the built in Google Maps application. This was again debunked as fake initially, until recently. Sources are now showing Google (or Apple) have implemented Google’s Street view into maps, with the extra addition of a visual ‘compass’. This comes after Google also added this exact functionality to their Android platform, and brought Google Earth to the iPhone. Whats interesting is that, Google seems to be ever enhancing features in iPhone OS recently, while it also tries to sell device’s with it’s own android software on them. A clever marketing tactic? – Possibly, but making the competition’s offering look and feel better through software, doesn’t sound to me like a good way to make a bare bones OS like Android, sell any faster.

Transit Times
Also new in Maps is the ability to look up, manage and get directions for public transport. Buses, trains and even walking. It’s not yet clear whether support for this will stretch to international, with current thinking being Apple and Google will start out with the US, and add more support for more countries, steadily.

Sharing your Location
Although a lot of applications current exist on the store which do this, I personally, along with possibly everyone else, would prefer to have this built in. The new feature is said to feature a further button within maps which, when tapped, will draft an e-mail in Mail consisting of a link. When you recipient receives the message, and they tap the link, Maps will open up (on an iPhone) and provide exact directions to them, as to where to find you.

Now supporting Line-In
Next, and possibly most interestingly, is the addition of support by Apple of Line-In. This allows for higher quality audio input, and could lead to music compilation software becoming standard on these devices in the future.

Before Delete, Please Rate
Lastly, (and not confirmed) is the possible addition of a delete-to-rate system. The basic concept being, if you hate an application that much to warrant deleting it from your iPhone or iPod touch, at least give it a rating beforehand. Now, to me, this is illogical. If you don’t like an application, the rating for it is obviously going to be low, every time. With the recent stipulation by Apple that users cannot review or rate a product without first buying/downloading it, you’d think they were actually trying to help the review system stay as fair as it possibly could. Unfortunately, this move will serve to do the opposite, giving low ratings to applications which may not deserve them.

A better way would be to find someway for users to rate an application before deleting it. This way, the initial action of them choosing to delete it wouldn’t impair their review rating.

These are just some of the known features of iPhone 2.2. Are there more which have yet to be announced? As The Apple Blog outlines, even though this update will clearly address the introduction of some major features, it also leaves others in the dust. One major want being turn-by-turn GPS. Not wanted by me personally, I know a lot of you are still waiting for that one. Another is background notification support – Where is it Apple? You know, the Push Notification Service you promised for late September?

Finally, it’s possible Apple could be gearing up to charge iPod touch owners again for the luxury of installing 2.2 and these new feature additions. Who would have thought such a thing could happen? … heh.

What do you want to see in iPhone 2.2? Feel free to leave a comment.