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Apple Introduces New Features in iPhone OS 3.0 Beta 3

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Running a new beta on the iPhone is a little like being a kid with very loving but forgetful parents during Easter. You can bet that there are lots of eggs hidden around, but you’ll probably still be finding some long after the actual hunt is over. Since Apple (s aapl) doesn’t come right out and tell you what it is specifically that’s new about a new beta, features and improvements leak out slowly as developers actually use and poke around in the software.

The latest beta, dubbed 7a280f, is no exception. Lately, all kinds of neat new tricks have come to light, some of which are just nice conveniences, while others indicate a maturation of the platform ahead of the upcoming full release in June. I’ve been playing with it myself for a while, and a lot of these features escaped my notice.

variablescrubbingOne that I did run into is audio scrubbing in iTunes, which we noticed when it was introduced for podcasts. Now any iPod track can be scrubbed in the same way, by moving the track duration slider back and forth. Just like with podcast scrubbing, moving your finger up or down on the screen will adjust the scrub rate, making it faster or slower accordingly.

This is the extent of what I noticed myself, but AppleInsider has unearthed a few more new additions. First is the ability to close out all open windows in mobile Safari, something which I’ve always wanted to be able to do. Previously, you could close out all but one, but the last would remain open until you opened a new window. Now, closing the last window will automatically create a new blank one for you to start out in.

notificationsThey also show a new settings screen for push notifications, which Apple is now actively encouraging developers to test out. This might just be my issue, but I have no such screen, and no such option in the settings page. The settings, if you do have them, allow you to turn on or off Badge, Sound, and Notification alerts, or turn them off altogether.

Data detectors have also been extended to other apps, like Notes. You can now enter info like emails and phone numbers, and your phone will recognize it as active data and automatically create an active link so you can use it to send a message, call someone, etc.

Finally, if you wish your battery indicator was more like the one on your MacBook, you might be in luck, because AppleInsider also seems to have uncovered graphic elements that suggest an option to view percentage or time remaining in addition to the existing battery indicator. The feature isn’t yet live, though, so we’ll see if it goes anywhere.

Can’t wait for the next build to see what else Apple has in store. If they stay true to form, I won’t have to wait long, either, since tomorrow will be two weeks since the last release, which has been the schedule to date for new updates.