iPhone 3.0 software hits handsets

Apple will make version 3.0 of its iPhone software available to download later on Wednesday, finally giving iPhone owners access to such cutting edge functionality as MMS and copy and paste.

The free software update will add over 100 new features including: Cut, Copy and Paste; MMS; improved search; landscape keyboard; parental controls; Voice Memos; a Find My iPhone feature that works together with MobileMe; Remote Wipe; wireless downloading of movies, TV and audio programs; and peer to peer functionality.

Tethering – functionality allowing the device to be used as a modem – will also be supported, but only by some carriers, and then at a price. AT&T, the exclusive iPhone carrier in the US, won’t be allowing tethering at all. While Telefonica’s UK operation, O2, will charge a princely sum for the privilege.

The iPhone 3.0 software is being made available ahead of the latest hardware to come out of the Apple stable on Friday. The iPhone 3G S (the “S” stands for “speed”) boasts enhanced memory and processor power to give a faster performance in applications and on the web.

In terms of hardware enhancements, the 3G S also features longer battery life, a 3 megapixel autofocus camera, which happily allows video recording, hands free voice control and a digital compass that complements the onboard GPS to reorient maps to the direction you are facing.

According to Ovum analyst Tim Renowden, all of these tweaks will improve the overall user experience, without making any radical changes to what is widely regarded as the most polished mobile user interface currently available. But Apple did not add support for multitasking, one area where its competitors remain ahead.

For developers, Apple has rolled out around 1,000 new APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) include a mapping API which gives third party applications access to Google Maps data and allows turn-by-turn navigation. Apple has also added support for in-app billing, and developers can also now sell applications on a subscription basis.

“Apple has a big head start in mindshare around mobile applications – among consumers and developers – and the new SDK and developer tools are aimed squarely at attracting as many developers as possible, preferably away from other platforms,” said Renowden.

In the UK, O2 is catching some flack as existing iPhone owners will have to buy out their current contracts in order to get an upgrade to the 3G S, or they will have to shell out the full price of the handset if they want to get their hands on it immediately. The 3G S 16GB sells for £440.40, while the 32GB version goes for £538.30. O2 is justified in its stance however as it has already subsidised one device for the iPhone owning masses, so subsidising an early upgrade would cost it a fortune.

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  1. Avatar Alistair 17/06/2009 @ 3:59 pm

    I loved the sarcasm in the opening paragraph. Unfortunatley sarcasm is lost among most Americans and most anyway think MMS and copy/past are cutting edge. Well actually hardly anyone in America knows what MMS is and having wasted some of my life getting it working on handsets the US was correct in skipping it altogether and just using email.

    • Avatar Phil 17/06/2009 @ 6:17 pm

      NO ONE uses EMAIL to send photos to each other on phones … so WRONG strategy there Mr Jobs.
      anyways, I’m still waiting for this friggin update to V3.
      Only Apple would get away with ..
      “errr .. well, we’ll release it on Wednesday … when we feel like it”
      Looks like this economic recession hasn’t quite hit home yet, however, I’m sure with the release of the 3GS, non product of the year, they’ll get a taste of that soon enough

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