SLIDESHOW

iPhone 3.0 Software: What You'll See

In pictures: The best features of Apple's upcoming iPhone 3.0 software update.

Spotlight

It isn't hard for your iPhone to become cluttered with information, from contacts to calendar appointments, to nine pages worth of third-party applications. Spotlight search fixes this — simply move one page to the left of the Home Screen and you'll find a search box. Type in your keyword and it will bring up a unified list of search results. You can even customize your results, restricting the information to contacts, apps, notes, mail, calendar, and music or video. Unfortunately Spotlight won't search the contents of an e-mail, but it does bring up results for recipients and subject lines.

Landscape Keyboard

Answering the prayers of many iPhone users and inadvertently putting many third-party apps out of business, iPhone Software Update 3.0 brings the landscape keyboard to more than just Safari. Now you use it in Notes, Mail and, thankfully, the SMS app. The speed improvements accompanying the software update also make the keyboard more responsive.

Copy and Paste

Arguably the biggest feature lacking in the original feature set of the iPhone is the ability to copy and paste. Apple has finally made the feature available, and it has been executed well. Hold down on the desired text, and click "Select" for the single word or "Select All" for the entire paragraph. The highlighted box can be altered, and you can then choose to Copy, Cut or Paste. Once the text has been copied to the clipboard, it can be pasted across applications; you can paste a Web address from Safari into an e-mail, or type up a blog entry in Notes and paste it into the third-party WordPress app for uploading, for example.

Mail Multiple Photos

The ability to copy and paste pictures as well as text across applications means that you can now use the Mail app to send multiple photos to others. The function works well but it does mean that you're constantly switching between applications; until there is an import feature integrated directly into Mail, we will stick with Multi-Photo Email.

Multimedia Messaging

Until now, iPhone users have had to resort to jailbreaking in order to send photos using MMS. Now, Apple has capitulated and built MMS into the SMS app, which has been renamed Messages. It took some finagling to get our phone MMS-ready but once the proper carrier settings had been entered it worked like a charm. Unfortunately, without the video recording capability of the upcoming iPhone 3G S, owners of the iPhone or iPhone 3G will have to be content with sending snapshots.

Share Contacts and Manage Individual SMS Messages

Individual contact pages have been tweaked slightly so you can view call history with the contact, and even share the contact with someone else by e-mail or MMS. The inability to send as a standard SMS means that you won't be sharing the contact too easily with iPhone users who haven't made the transition to Software Update 3.0.

Also making the cut in the software update is the ability to manage individual SMS messages. Hit the "Edit" button in an SMS thread and you can delete or forward individual SMS messages; definitely a handy feature.

Voice Memos

Dozens of apps deliver the same functionality, but Apple has released its own app to do the job. Voice Memos is fairly straightforward — record sounds and share clips by e-mail and MMS — but the user interface is attractive and, of course, it's free. What this means for the voice recording apps already available from the App Store is yet to be seen; we can't foresee too much of a future for these apps without a new twist.

New Bluetooth Features

Bluetooth on the iPhone hasn't quite caught up to the rest of the world yet, but iPhone Software Update 3.0 does fix a lot of the problems. We'll continue pining for Bluetooth file transfers, but in the meantime Apple has added Internet tethering and A2DP stereo audio streaming to the list of tricks; both are nice additions for those on the move. Apple has also added peer-to-peer connections via Bluetooth. In the future this will enable you to play multiplayer games between iPhones without unwieldy Bluetooth connection procedures.

Settings

Some of the iPhone settings menus have been tweaked to suit the new features. Apart from Spotlight result restrictions and the addition of Parental Controls, the most notable new options are the ability to enable or disable MMS and a new iPod feature called "Shake to Shuffle." This is enabled by default, and shuffles the music when you shake the phone; not necessarily earth-shattering though certainly iPhone-shaking.

Redeem iTunes Gift Cards

Apple has made some changes to the App Store that reduce the need to resort to a computer when purchasing iPhone apps or iTunes music. Now you can redeem iTunes Gift Cards directly from the App Store, topping up your iTunes account if you don't have a credit card and allowing you to buy apps without touching a PC.

Use multiple iTunes accounts

Other changes to the App Store include the ability to sign out of your iTunes account in order to use another one. There have been rumors that Apple would no longer allow you to download multiple copies of an iPhone app without having to pay again. This would prevent people from sharing iPhone apps without paying for them but it seems this measure hasn't been introduced yet.

The way the App Store displays app photos has also changed. You no longer have to click on each individual photo to view them at full size, but rather the photos appear as a sliding thumbnail gallery. Many people have issues when loading these photos, so we hope that this will prevent such problems.