Almost lost in the hoopla surrounding yesterday’s unveiling of the iPhone 3G S was the announcement that Apple will release an operating system upgrade for its current smartphones and handhelds in just a few days. Among the highlights of iPhone 3.0 are peer-to-peer gaming and cut, copy, and paste.
What You’ve Been Waiting For
The new version will bring to these devices features many consider long overdue, with cut-and-paste and copy-and-paste at the top of the list. Naturally, the process for selecting text will take advantage of this device’s multi-touch screen. This feature will be available in Apple’s own software and third-party apps. And it will extend to more than just text. Users will be able to copy images and paste them into an email.
Other long-awaited features coming to the iPhone soon are MMS (multimedia) messages — which AT&T users will get later this summer — support for stereo Bluetooth headsets, and a landscape version of the on-screen keyboard.
Games have proved to be very popular with users of Apple’s smartphones and handhelds, and the company is adding support for wireless head-to-head gaming. This will allow two devices running the same game to connect to each other over Bluetooth.
Fun and Games
iPhone 3.0 will also feature In-App Purchase. This will allow companies to sell items from within applications. On-device e-book stores is one example, but developers will also be able to sell additional levels for their games. Naturally, this will still be tied to the iTunes App Store, and Apple will get 30% of the revenue.
New software will allow users to rent and buy movies from iTunes, and then watch them on the go.
The upcoming iPhone 3G S will support recording video, but even with this upgrade the current models will not.
In theory, this new operating system version supports tethering — meaning it will be usable as a modem for another computer — but Apple’s website has the note “not currently offered in the U.S. and some other countries.”
The iPhone’s built-in calendar has been improved, and the ability to record voice memos has been added.
In addition, Apple has added a pair of features for users of its online service MobileMe. Subscribers will be able to find their lost phone on a map, or remotely wipe all the information from it.
Pricing and Availability
iPhone 3.0 will be released on June 17. Both the original iPhone and the newer iPhone 3G will be getting the new version of their system software for free, while iPod touch owners will have to pay $9.95.
Apple will continue to offer the 8 GB version of iPhone 3G at $100, giving consumers a lower-cost option. In the future, this device will ship with the new version of its operating system.