Apple's new iPhone 3.0 software adds several long-awaited features, including copy/paste, MMS and search, the company revealed yesterday.
Those are among the more than 100 new features slated to debut when the company Apple launches iPhone 3.0 this summer.
"This is a major update," said Scott Forstall, Apple's senior vice president of iPhone software, who handled most of the 90-minute presentation. "I can't wait until you get your hands on it." He did not set a timetable for iPhone 3.0's release - Apple did not do that last year, either, when it previewed iPhone 2.0 in March 2008 - and said only that it would ship "this summer".
"I don't want to use Apple's words, but this is clearly a significant development in the iPhone," said Mike McGuire, a Gartner analyst. "There is the potential here for some really significant changes."
"There's an awful lot of stuff in [iPhone 3.0] that developers will be happy with," added another Gartner analyst, Van Baker.
A beta of iPhone 3.0 and the supporting SDK (software developers kit) are available now for developers, said Greg Joswiak, Apple's head of iPhone and iPod marketing.
Among the most notable end-user features coming to the phone and iPod touch are cut-and-paste and MMS.
With iPhone 3.0 in place, users will be able to cut or copy text from one application on the device, then paste it into another. To select a block of text, for example, the user will double-tap, then slide a finger across the desired text; a bubble boasting Cut, Copy and Paste options will appear above the selected text. To paste, the user double-taps at the insertion point and selects Paste.
"Frankly, I wasn't sure we would ever see cut-and-paste," said McGuire, who tagged it as the premier end-user addition to the iPhone.
MMS, or Multimedia Messaging Service, is the feature sported by most mobile phones that lets users send photos and video as attachments to text messages, something the iPhone has lacked. Instead, users were forced to use email to send photos, preventing them from flicking pictures directly to others' phones.