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Apple's iPhone 3.0 Adds Features, Rewards Developers

The beta of Apple's next iPhone operating system supports in-app purchases, peer-to-peer connections, Bluetooth, Spotlight, turn-by-turn directions, and new app business models.
The company said the push-notification system keeps a constant connection between an Apple server and an application that the user closes. For example, an instant messaging program could be closed, and if a friend sends a message, the server would be able to send three types of notifications to the phone. These notifications can be visual, audible, or a text alert, depending on what the developer wants.

"The reason we're doing this? It scales," Forstall said.

On the consumer side, the software will have more than 100 new features that address many of the nagging complaints users had with the platform. The ability to cut and paste has been added, and the process works almost exactly as Digg founder Kevin Rose predicted in that users double tap on text, which bring up the option to cut, copy, or paste. Users can then select as much text as they want and paste the text. This feature works across all apps, including the Safari Web browser. To undo a selection, a user can just shake the handset.

The latest iPhone software also will have support for multimedia messages, a landscape virtual QWERTY keyboard across all the key applications, and the ability to record voice memos using the internal or an external microphone. Apple also boosted the calendar app by adding support for ICS and CalDAV, which is the standard used by the likes of Google and Yahoo.

The company also boosted search by showing off a universal search feature dubbed Spotlight. It lets the consumer search across all apps from a single location on the home page. Rivals Android and Palm's upcoming WebOS also have this ability. For enterprise iPhone users, Apple added the ability to search contacts and messages. If the information isn't on the phone, users will be able to search on a server via Exchange.

The 3.0 software is available as a beta today for everyone in the iPhone developer program, and it will be pushed out to existing iPhone and iPhone 3G users this summer. Users of the iPod Touch will have to pay a $9.95 fee to upgrade.

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