Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Apple shows off iPhone improvements – including cut, copy and paste + MMS messaging

It might not sound much, but to the 17 million owners of Apple iPhones worldwide, it's a big thing: the next version of its software, to be released this summer, will allow users to cut, copy and paste content between pages.

As well as cut and paste, the next version of the software – which will be free to iPhone owners, but cost iPod Touch owners $9.95 – will let them do system-wide searching, record voice memos, play games or interact wirelessly with nearby iPhone or iPod Touches, subscribe to online calendars, and possibly – depending on the mobile networks' agreement – use their phones as wireless broadband modems.

Owners of the 3G iPhone, released last July, will be able to send picture messages – a standard phone function that has been missing previously. Owners of the older version, first sold in June 2007, will not benefit because it does not contain the necessary radio hardware, Apple said.

Other additions include "push" notification, so that instant messaging programs can in effect run in the background and alert the user when a new message arrives.

Not everyone will be satisfied. Video recording has not been enabled via the iPhone's camera; nor have video calls. Apple's executives were evasive too about the possibility of being able to type onto the iPhone's screen via full-sized keyboards connected via the Bluetooth wireless system. That would enable truly mobile working - but it might not be allowed by the new system.

"Apple chose to implement well rather than do a lot," commented Ian Fogg of Jupiter Research about the update. "Right choice in my opinion. If we'd had all this earlier [it] would be less well executed."

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