Apple released the next version of the iPhone operating system to developers earlier this week.

Among the new features phone makers can go to town on:

  • System-wide search, using Apple’s Spotlight search technology.
  • Copy-and-paste for text, photos and SMS, one of iPhone users’ most-wamted additions.
  • Multimedia Messaging Services, allowing iPhone users to include images and audio recordings in text messages.
  • In-app micropayments, which will allow application developers to create apps for which extra content can be purchased from within the app, without the need to access external, third-party payment systems.
  • Better GPS functionality, using Apple’s Core Location technology.

Apple also unveiled P2P capability for the iPhone, allowing users to network their handsets to do a variety of things, including playing multi-player games.

The company also announced hardware communication capability for the iPhone, essentially allowing third-party developers to create plug-in devices whose controls appear on the iPhone’s screen. Applications could include an iPhone-based blood glucose monitor for diabetes sufferers, which could use the phone to process blood sugar data and connect to a remote health services facility.

Items to note:

  • Not all current iPhone users will be able to access all the new features of iPhone OS 3. Ask your service provider what you should expect from the OS 3 update.
  • No version of the Adobe Flash Player has yet been announced for iPhone OS 3.

iPhone OS 3 will be available on new phones and as an uopgrade for excisting users this summer. iPhone users will get a free update but, again, iPod Touch users will have to pay (US)$9.95.

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