FAQ: What iPhone 3.0 means to you

Apple packs upgrade with 100 new features, 1,000 new APIs

Okay, now that I know when and how much, what's in iPhone 3.0?

A lot, according to Apple and analysts. "This is clearly a significant development in the iPhone," said Mike McGuire, a Gartner Inc. analyst, in an interview Tuesday after Apple's preview.

Apple said iPhone 3.0 will include more than 100 end-user additions and enhancements, but it spelled out just a fraction of that number Tuesday during the 90-minute event. It also claimed that iPhone 3.0 boasts over 1,000 new APIs (application programming interfaces) for developers, who can use them to create new types of third-party applications, add functionality to existing apps or communicate with iPhone and iPod Touch hardware accessories.

What's the biggest new feature?

Your mileage may vary, of course, but the early consensus seems to be that the addition -- finally -- of copy and paste is the biggest deal for users.

"Frankly, I wasn't sure we would ever see cut and paste," said McGuire, who like his colleague Van Baker tagged it as the top addition.

With iPhone 3.0, you'll be able to cut or copy text from one application on the device, then paste it elsewhere in that app, or into another. To select a block of text, you double-tap, then slide a finger across the desired text; a bubble boasting Cut, Copy and Paste options appears above the selected text. To paste, double-tap at the insertion point and pick Paste.

You can also copy and paste photos, as well as select multiple photos -- also a first on the iPhone -- to paste into an e-mail message.

Very nice. What else?

Also tops on most lists is the new Apple app-wide search, dubbed "Spotlight" to match the integrated search within Mac OS X, that will let you search through Mail, Calendar, Notes and iPod on the iPhone and iPod Touch. Previously, the only available search was in Contacts.

If you're rooting through your inbox and a search doesn't find what you're looking for locally, the app will ping the IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) server and look for it there.

However, the tool cannot search through e-mail message content, as can Spotlight on a Mac (or Windows' built-in search tool on that platform).

Will iPhone 3.0 let me run more than one application at a time? I want to keep my IM open and still do other stuff, for cryin' out loud.

Sorry, you're out of luck.

But Apple has finally added push notification to the iPhone. "You know, we're late on this one," said Forstall, tacitly admitting that Apple punted on the feature last fall.

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Gregg Keizer

Computerworld
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