Apple Rolls Out iPhone 3.0 Operating System Upgrade

iPhone

FROM WIRED.COM GADGET LAB

Apple on Wednesday released iPhone 3.0, a major upgrade for its iPhone operating system, delivering capabilities customers have demanded, such as multimedia messaging, copy and paste and universal landscape mode.

The operating system, which Apple previewed in March, became available for download at 10:10 a.m. in the iTunes Store.

The update is free for owners of the original iPhone as well as the current iPhone 3G; iPod Touch users must pay $10. Users wishing to upgrade must plug their device into their computer with the USB dock connector and then load iTunes 8.2, where they can download and install iPhone 3.0.

iPhone 3.0 (which some have confused with the third-generation iPhone, iPhone 3GS), addresses many complaints about the current and previous iPhone operating systems. Despite iPhone 2.0’s introduction of the iPhone’s phenomenally successful App Store for distributing third-party applications, many Apple critics have blasted the iPhone for its lack of a basic copy-and-paste function, among other shortcomings. iPhone 3.0 adds copy-and-paste functionality and many new features that will give immediate benefits to end users, regardless of which applications they use.

Here are some other noteworthy end-user features:

  • MMS support. (One major caveat: AT&T customers may be in for disappointment, because Apple said at last week’s Worldwide Developers Conference that AT&T would not support MMS until late summer. AT&T declined to comment on the reason behind the delay, but the company said it’s not network-related.
  • Apps communicate with accessories via dock connector or Bluetooth. (We call these app-accessory combos dongleware. See our wishlist for dongleware we’d like to see, as well as a list of great dongleware suggestions from readers.)
  • Support for peer-to-peer Bluetooth. That will enable the iPhone to connect with other Bluetooth devices, including stereo Bluetooth headsets. Previously, the iPhone only supported Bluetooth for connecting to monaural phone headsets.
  • Global search feature. Enables users to search content in various applications on the iPhone from a single interface. Like the search feature in Mac OS X, this is called “Spotlight.”
  • Compose in landscape mode. The ability to compose e-mail messages, text messages and notes in landscape mode gives the user a larger, easier-to-use keyboard.
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