New discoveries turn up in betas of Apple's iPhone 3.0 software [u]

By Sam Oliver

Developer sources familiarizing themselves with betas of Apple's iPhone 3.0 software have uncovered a handful of additional tweaks and improvements to the system in recent weeks, including changes to Safari's window handling, new battery status indicators and notification preferences, as well as the advent of data detectors in certain apps.


With the release of iPhone 3.0, Safari will let you close out and clear all your open browser windows without having to first create a new blank page to get rid of the contents of the last active window.

For example, you can have eight open Safari windows in the existing version of the iPhone software, seven of which you can close rapidly by using the red "x" icons in the upper left-hand corners of the pages. However, there's no "x" icon to close out the last page standing. Therefore, the only way to get rid of the contents on this last remaining page is to first create a "New Page," then cycle back to the page and close it out.

With iPhone 3.0, Apple has enabled the option to close out the lone remaining page. Once the "x" icon is triggered, the page disappears and a new blank page quickly slides into view. This process is reportedly difficult to capture in a screenshot, though an example illustrating part of the process can be seen below.

Battery indicators

Meanwhile, it appears that iPhone 3.0 will also introduce an option of showing you how much battery life you have left on your iPhone or iPod touch in a numerical percentage.

Resource files contained within the new version of the device's Springboard application include 22 new PNG files to facilitate this option. Half are numerical characters (and a "%" sign) in black typeface for representing healthy battery level percentages while the other half are in red typeface for when battery life falls bellow a certain threshold.

It appears, though it's not confirmed, that users will have the option of selecting how their battery status indicator appears in the menubar -- such as an icon-only view (per current versions of the software), an icon + numerical view, or a numerical-view only. This would be similar to fast user switching menu option for Mac OS X that lets you display the accounts by "Name," "Short Name," or "Icon."

Push Notification preferences

Also visible in the latest betas of iPhone 3.0 software is a new Push Notifications preference pane that will allow you to enable or disable any of the three types of notifications that third party applications can push to your handset: Sounds, Alerts and Badges. Alternatively, notifications can be disabled as a whole. This should provide users with tighter control of their battery usage.

Data Detectors

Finally, it's also noted that Apple is enabling Data Detectors in a variety of new applications. Data Detectors automatically detect text fragments like email addresses, phone numbers, and street addresses, so you can execute actions on those fragments via touch selections -- like dialing a phone number automatically by clicking on it or adding it to your address book.

The example above shows Data Detectors in action in the new Notes application. The detectors are only visible and executable when viewing a note, not while editing one.

Variable scrubber speeds

Update: These shots just came in, showing the ability to change scrubbing speeds in the iPod application.

"You press and hold on the little dot to scrub and slide your finger down the screen to get finer scrubbing speeds," a person familiar with the software said. "There are four options: Hi-Speed Scrubbing (normal slide position), Half Speed Scrubbing, Quarter Speed Scrubbing and Fine Scrubbing (furthest down the screen)."