Apple has revealed the details about iPhone OS 3.0, the next major update to its smartphone operating system. Due sometime this summer to users of first-generation iPhones and the iPhone 3G, the software promises to deliver plenty of improvements.
Here's what you can expect from the iPhone 3.0 software:
Copy and Paste: iPhone users have long lamented the lack of cut-and-paste functionality. But not anymore: The new software will allows users to cut, copy, and paste sections of text, photos, links, or just about anything else. This should greatly simplify tasks such as sending e-mails, entering contacts, and more. To use cut and paste, you'll just double tap on an item to bring up a menu, from which you can select cut, copy, or paste.
Multimedia Messaging Service: Also known as MMS, multimedia messaging is another feature that's been sorely lacking from the iPhone. That means that you'll be able to send and receive photos, address cards, audio files, and links via text message.
More Powerful Searching: iPhone 3.0 offers two key search features. The first is a Mail-centric search tool that lets you search e-mail messages, subjects, from and to lines, and other headers. You'll also get a new Spotlight feature, accessible from the home page, which will let you search across the entire iPhone.
Landscape View in More Applications: The current iPhone software allows you to turn your phone sideways to get a wider view in certain applications, such as the Safari Web browser. With the 3.0 software, you'll be able to do this in more applications, including the e-mail, notes, and SMS apps. This will give you access to a wider keyboard when composing messages, and will allow you to read some messages more easily.
Expanded Calendar Support: iPhone 3.0 will include support for CalDAV and .ics calendars. What does this mean for you? The iPhone will now support calendars from Yahoo, Google, Oracle, and more, without requiring that you sync them via a computer.
Voice Memos: You'll be able to record audio files using the built-in phone microphone or an external microphone, and can share them via e-mail or text message.
Note Sync: You'll be able to sync notes you create on your iPhone with your computer, using iTunes.
App Store Subscriptions: Apple will offer new business models in its App Store, one of which is subscriptions. This will allow magazine publishers, for example, to sell subscriptions to regularly delivered content. Developers will also be able to sell additional products within an app. For example, a game developer could sell you additional levels for a game.
Push Notification: This will allow applications to deliver information to users even when they're not running. For example, your instant messaging app could notify you when a new message arrives, rather than you having to launch the app and check for messages.
Peer-to-Peer Gaming: This feature will allow developers to build games or applications that allow users to interact with one another.
Better GPS: Apple will allow application developers to create apps that deliver turn-by-turn directions, conceivably turning the iPhone into a true portable GPS.
What you won't find in iPhone 3.0:
Apple did not announce a video recording capability, the ability to transfer files via Bluetooth, or a tethering plan (which would allow you to use your iPhone as a modem for your laptop).The company also didn't announce plans to allow true multi-tasking, which would allow applications to run simultaneously. iPhone 3.0 will require you to close one application before opening another one.
Apple is releasing the 3.0 software to application developers now. That means that plenty of applications that use the new features should be available when the software is made available to users, sometime this summer.