The original iPhone was an amazingly capable device, but it certainly wasn’t perfect. The 2.0 software update is a major improvement over the original iPhone operating system that adds dozens of new features and refines several old ones - changes many users have been waiting for since the iPhone’s introduction. Perhaps best of all, it’s available to all iPhone and iPod touch owners. (iPhone users can upgrade for free, while iPod Touch owners need to decide if the update is worth £5.99.)

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The App Store
The iPhone 2.0 software only adds one new application, but it’s a gateway to an entirely new world. The App Store lets you to download and install applications created by third-party developers (some for free, others at a cost).

On your Mac, the App Store is part of the iTunes Store, but on the iPhone, it’s an app unto itself. Unlike its neighbour, the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store, the App Store is available over Wi-Fi or a mobile connection. The only hitch: if you try to download an application larger than 10MB, you’ll be asked to use Wi-Fi or download it via iTunes on your computer.

Tapping on any application in the store takes you to a description of it and a screenshot. To buy or download an application, you tap the price: if the button reads Free, it will change to Install when you tap it; if there’s a price, it will change to Buy. Once you enter your information, the App Store will return you to the iPhone’s Home screen, where it will add the icon for the app you’ve chosen to download, along with a progress bar showing its installation process. (You can do other things while the application is installing.) If you purchase apps on your iPhone, they should copy over to your computer the next time you sync. In our tests, that wasn’t always the case - if yours don’t sync automatically, select Transfer Purchases From iPod or iPhone Name in iTunes’ File menu to force your files to transfer.

To remove a third-party application, you can tap and hold its icon. The icons will begin to dance on the screen, and a black X badge will appear in their top-left corners. If you tap that X, you’ll be asked if you want to delete the application. Because applications must store all their data in the app’s package, however, deleting an application also deletes all its settings and stored information.

Check out our reviews of the best iPhone apps

If you delete an app that you wanted to keep, you can redownload it later for free (unlike media from the iTunes Store); you can load applications onto as many iPod touches and iPhones as you want, provided they’re synced to your iTunes Library.

Just a few taps and you can fill an entire iPhone home screen with programs from the App Store.

While third-party applications broaden the iPhone’s abilities exponentially, they come at a price beyond the cost of the application: Because those applications and their attendant data take up room on your iPhone, backing up your phone - which iTunes does every time you sync it - takes much longer than before.

But don’t worry too much about the iPhone’s applications eating up your phone’s storage space: while some programs, such as Apple’s own Texas Hold ‘Em, are plus-sized, the vast majority of the 25 applications I installed were under 1MB.


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