During the Apple event, representatives also demonstrated a feature called push notifications. These can enable, for instance, an automatic update of the score of a basketball game without the user needing to hit “refresh” or reopen an app. This feature also allows instant-messaging applications to run on the iPhone.
One of the most notorious oversights of the original iPhone is the ability to cut, copy, and paste text from one application to another or within the same application. This makes transferring text between e-mails, notes, text messages, or Web pages impossible. The operating-system upgrade provides a way to do this between all applications.
Other new features include an upgrade to the maps application allowing turn-by-turn directions based on a person’s real-time position; the ability to send pictures via multimedia messaging service (MMS); and an app that lets a user record, edit, and share voice memos. More applications will also support “landscape” keyboard mode, which kicks in when the phone is turned on its side.
Another important upgrade is the ability to search within applications such as mail. Right now, the phone loads only a limited number of messages from the mail server at a time, and none of them are searchable. With the new operating-system changes, it will be possible to search the subject, body, and “to” and “from” fields of any e-mail message, even if it resides on the e-mail server. The new operating system also offers a way to search across all applications using Spotlight, a feature currently available on Apple’s Mac computers. Searching for a particular restaurant using Spotlight should pull up all the e-mail messages, text messages, and notes that mention it.
The iPhone 3.0 operating system will be offered as a free upgrade and will work on the second-generation iPhone hardware; owners of the original iPhone won’t have access to certain features, such as MMS and stereo Bluetooth. And the operating system will also be available to iPod Touch users at a cost of $9.95.