I was reading about the software today, and found a link in one of the articles to the 2.0 iPhone software release. It's not yet available on the iTunes download, but the article did provide a direct link to it on Apple's servers.
So I downloaded it and installed. This one is a pretty hefty update. 225MB. It completely erased and reloaded my library onto it, so it will take 30-45 minutes for the update to complete.
On the surface, it's no different than the 1.0 software. I'm sure they've added a bunch of bells and whistles, and fixed a few bugs, but the big thing that's different is the iTunes App Store.
Now, I haven't purchased an App yet, but I have downloaded a couple free applications. Remote (which allows your iPhone to become a remote for iTunes or your AppleTV), NetNewsWire (the iPhone sibling to the Mac RSS Newsreader of the same name), and probably the coolest of the apps now available, Pandora.
For those of you not familiar with Pandora, it is a music service that allows you to create music choices from music you might have never heard of based on the music you do know. It's known as the music genome project, where music is broken down into component parts, categorized, and linked to other music that shares similar traits. It's a website I have used for a long time, and now it works on the iPhone.
What sets this application apart (whether or not it's on the iPhone) is the "set it and forget it" approach. Let's say I pick Joe Satriani as the musical trait I want to listen to. So for hour upon hour I am presented with music from many artists that share similar traits to Joe Satriani. It goes beyond that of "sounds like", but more into other traits that link the songs.
Anyway, back to the iPhone version. What makes this application great is the seemless integration into the phone/iPod function of the iPhone. It streams the music from their servers across WiFi or EDGE (and I would assume the 3G network when the new iPhone comes out tomorrow). As long as I have cell service, I can continue to have Pandora stream to me, so now I can enjoy Pandora on my daily drive or next motorcycle adventure. Given the flexibility of the platform, I fully expect to see XM and Sirius streaming apps for the iPhone on the horizon.
Back to the iPhone 2.0 software. The ease by which applications can be installed from the iTunes App Store will revolutionize the model for software applications to be installed on all mobile devices. Pick it, it downloads, and it gets sync'd to your iPhone. Even if the application is upgraded, the iTunes App Store on the iPhone will perform an upgrade check and let you know when any of your apps have been updated.
Thus far, all my choices have been the free versions of the apps. However, there are a couple games that use the motion sensors of the iPhone to control gameplay. Maybe I'll give one of them a whirl.
8AM local time tomorrow, the iPhone 3G goes on sale at a Apple Store or AT&T Store near you. I'll stick it out on the old one for a little while... unless that craving for the new phone with GPS overwhelms my better judgement.