iPhone 3G: Great news and yet another delay

It's official. The iPhone 3G is here. Sort of here. Almost here.

It's a dizzying and exciting time for iPhone users. Heck, it's a great day for all Mac users, indeed for all computer and mobile phone users.

But there was more to today's announcements than just the iPhone 3G. Much more. The information overload at the WWDC Keynote today was so great that it will be days before I can absorb it all.

The biggest news was, as everyone expected, the iPhone 3G -- with 3G network support, GPS built-in for Maps, improved audio and a price as low as $199!

On the heels of this news, there was the announcement of a new me.com service (replacing Apple's .mac service), offering enterprise-like capabilities for the "rest of us."

Apple also revealed, in almost a throw-away comment, that it would be showing a sneak peak of Mac OS X 10.6 (Snow Leopard) later today -- but just for developers attending the WWDC.

Added to all of this news were further details about the variety of new programs coming to the iPhone's App Store, the newly announced ways to privately distribute iPhone applications (in particular an Ad Hoc option, useful for situations such as a professor who wants to distribute something just to his/her class), the new server-based notifications, the ability to view iWork and Office documents on your iPhone, and the previously-announced enterprise "push" features.

Whew! My head is still spinning.

Yet, there was one definite downer amidst all the excitement. The new iPhone 2.0 software and iPhone 3G will not be available until July 11.

Now, I am usually one to defend Apple when it comes to "unexpected delays." My general position is...a year from now...what will we remember more...how great the iPhone 3G is or that it shipped a month later than we thought? The former. In the end, the delay won't matter much. And I still believe this to be so.

But for today... I have to gripe just a little.

Come on, Apple! How long must we wait for your third-party iPhone software support? How many delays must we endure?

There were hints that Apple would be announcing such support back in September. When the big announcement finally came in October, all we got was a promise that the support was indeed coming. We would have to wait until February to find out the details. In February, we were disappointed to receive only a "road map" and an SDK from Apple. No software for end users was released. No real details were provided. The actual software, we were told, would not be available until June. Well, June is finally here. And now we are told to wait yet again. It will be July 11 before we can get our hands on iPhone 2.0.

It's starting to feel like a "bait-and-switch" except that the switch is to just keep waiting instead of switching to some other more expensive product.

I'm sure this mild irritation will quickly wear off once July 11 rolls around. But for now, I am more than a bit bummed.

There were also a few new iPhone features I was hoping to see that are apparently not coming in July — features such as voice-activated dialing, MMS support, expanded Bluetooth options, and a better camera.

Regardless, there's more than enough news and new stuff to sift through for now. I won't be needing to look for things to keep me busy, while I wait for July 11 to arrive.