Apple adds a host of new features to iPhone 3.0 OS

Apple unveiled its new software update for the iPhone, OS 3.0. The software will be available this summer as a free update to all iPhone 3G customers. The Developer Beta version of OS 3.0 is available today. First generation iPhone users can also get the OS for free, but Stereo Bluetooth and MMS will not work. Users who have the iPod Touch will be able to purchase the update for $9.95. 

At a press event at Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., the company demonstrated the new OS's functionality but did not discuss any new hardware to complement the OS update. It has been widely speculated that Apple will launch the next generation of the iPhone in June or July.

Avi Greengart, an analyst for Current Analysis, said while it it is important to remember that Apple is an industry leader in terms of influence, and the update added many of the iPhone's missing functions, Apple did not deliver a "knock-out" blow to competitors.

Greengart said that enthusiast's of the Palm Pre should not feel too worried by the software update. "Palm in particular should be pleased that some of the core innovations of its upcoming webOS--multitasking and unobtrusive notifications--remain unmatched by Apple," he said.

He said that the new OS update also keeps apple in the forefront in terms of application development and meeting consumer demands for a rich smartphone experience.

Scott Forstall, Apple's senior vice president of iPhone software, said there will be 1,000 new APIs for the OS 3.0. He said Apple spent the last year trying to improve the Apple SDK. He openly admitted that Apple was "late" on adding push notifications to the iPhone. 

Some of the new features that Apple said will be included in the software update are: 

  • In-app purchase, allowing users to update an application while using it.
  • Turn-by-turn direction in Google Maps, with Maps embedded into applications.
  • Push notifications (but no applications running in the background). Apple will have running apps connect to a server, and sync their latest status when users close them.
  • Cut/copy/paste functionality
  • Support for streaming video, MMS, voice memo and stereo Bluetooth

Apple said it is launching the iPhone in 15 more countries, bringing the total to 77.

For more:
- see this post
- see FierceWireless' live Twitter coverage of the event

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