iPhone users and app developers have been given a brief glimpse of the future after Apple previewed iPhone 3.0, the latest version of the phone software, due to come out this summer.
Users have been promised more than a 100 new features including the ability to copy and paste information-including text, blocks of HTML, and photos -in the iPhone's built-in apps. Users will also be able to copy and paste between applications. Third-party developers will have the ability to add copy-and-paste functionality to their apps as well.
iPhone 3.0 will also bring Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) support for sending and receiving photos, contact information, audio files, and locations; a Voice Memos app to record, edit, and share audio files; Spotlight search capabilities; CalDAV and .ics calendar support; the ability to sync notes via iTunes; stereo A2DP Bluetooth support; auto-fill; anti-phishing technology; and extended parental controls.
While the full iPhone 3.0 release won't be available for a few months, developers can get their hands on a beta version now. With iPhone 3.0, developers will now be able to build push notification into their apps, to alert users of changes in closed apps - a new instant message, for example. Apple had first promised to come out with a push-notification service at its 2008 Worldwide Developers Conference but delayed the launch. Apple executives cited developers' overwhelming initial interest in the App Store as the reason for the delay.
In addition to offering push notifications, the iPhone 3.0 software also lets developers create apps that provide turn-by-turn GPS driving directions (as long as they provide their own maps); embed Google Maps in their apps and sell subscriptions as well as add-ons through their apps.
Apple vice president of iPod and iPhone product marketing Greg Joswiak told reporters that the company had sold 17 million iPhones since the June 2007 launch of the original device. The phone is now available in 80 countries, with 77 of those countries also enjoying access to the App Store.