iPhone Firmware 3.0: 100 New Features Including Copy & Paste, MMS, Spotlight, Stereo Bluetooth, Push Notification & More

iPhone firmware 3.0 event

Apple announced more than 100 new features for users in iPhone Firmware 3.0 during the special event to preview their next generation operating system for the iPhone today.

iPhone software Senior Vice President Scott Forstall and iPhone Product Marketing Chief Greg Joswiak gave us a glimpse of some of the features we have all been waiting for; like Cut, Copy & Paste, MMS, landscape keyboard support for iPhone apps such as Mail, SMS and Notes, and Push Notification Service. So lets take a look.

Cut, Copy and Paste:

iPhone users will finally be able to cut or copy text on their iPhone and paste the contents. It was one of the most requested features since its launch. iPhone users will be able to use the feature across iPhone apps. Interestingly, it works exactly as Kevin Rose had described couple of days back. Here is how it works:

Double tap on text, and it automatically selects it — then puts grab
points at the end of the selection, with a cut/copy/paste bubble above

To select a whole block, you double tap, slide with your finger or
thumb (you get a new magnifying glass), and pull across what you want
to grab.

Long press to select blocks of text in Safari. Using the same engine
that zooms in on blocks of text to intelligently know what to select.

You can shake the phone and it brings up an undo/redo popover.

Here are some screenshots of the user interface:

iPhone firmware 3.0 - Copy and Paste feature

iPhone firmware 3.0 - Copy and Paste feature

iPhone firmware 3.0 - Copy and Paste feature

iPhone firmware 3.0 - Copy and Paste feature

iPhone firmware 3.0 - Copy and Paste feature

If you were wondering why it took so long for Apple to release such a basic and obvious feature, here is what Apple had to say:

"There were a LOT of pieces there we cared about,
we wanted to spend time on it instead of putting out something that
didn’t work right.”

Bluetooth Support:

Apple has finally added some Bluetooth Support in iPhone firmware 3.0. Here are some of the things you can do with the Bluetooth support:

A2DP Stereo Bluetooth: It has been one of the most requested Bluetooth features. You will now be able to use your Bluetooth stereo headphones and speakers with your iPhone 3G. Unfortunately it will not work with 1st gen iPhone.

Peer to Peer Connectivity: Apple has added support for peer-to-peer connectivity over Bluetooth
which can be used by iPhone developers for multiplayer gaming and other
information sharing applications.

Support for Accessories: Apple is allowing accessory manufacturers to create applications to interface with their hardware accessories over Bluetooth.

Landscape mode across iPhone Apps:

You will now be able to use iPhone's virtual keyboard in landscape mode in Apple's app iPhone apps such Mail, SMS and Notes. Landscape mode has been enabled in the Stock app as well.

iPhone firmware 3.0 - SMS - Landscape mode

SMS app enhanced:

Another frequently requested feature that will be available in iPhone firmware 3.0 is Multimedia Messaging (MMS). You will be able to send and receive photos, audio, vCard (contact cards), and β€˜location.’ The only thing that won't be supported is video.

Unfortunately, only iPhone 3G users will be able to use MMS and not 1st gen iPhone users as Apple claims that the radio in the 1st gen iPhone can't support it.

You will also be able to forward and delete multiple text messages in addition to use the app in landscape mode as mentioned earlier. You will also be able to add contacts to the text message.

iPhone firmware 3.0 - SMS - Landscape mode

iPhone firmware 3.0 - SMS - Landscape mode


One of the painful things about the iPhone has been the lack of a search feature. To address this pain point, Apple announced a new app called Spotlight and is essentially the iPhone version of the universal search feature that is available on Macs.

Using Spotlight for the iPhone you will be able to search:

  • Contacts
  • Calendar
  • Email (To, From, Subject but not message content)
  • iPod
  • Notes
  • Messaging (SMS / MMS)

Unfortunately, it looks like you will not be able to search for iPhone apps which is a pity as it would have been a good way to quickly launch iPhone apps.

As ZedSefi pointed out, you can also search for iPhone apps installed on your iPhone and launch them quickly using Spotlight. With this feature, Spotlight is probably the best features of iPhone firmware 3.0. (Thanks ZedSefi)

Anyways, here is how it works:

Spotlight for iPhone will now be your new left-most home screen. You can just start typing in the search box which brings up a list of everything that matches your search.

Here are some screenshots of the user interface:

iPhone firmware 3.0 - Spotlight

iPhone firmware 3.0 - Spotlight

Voice Memos:

Apple announced a new app for Voice memos where you will be able to record notes, lectures, interviews etc and send the recorded voice files either as an email or MMS. You will also be able to edit the voice files on the iPhone itself.

iPhone firmware 3.0 - New Voice Memo app

iPhone firmware 3.0 - New Voice Memo app


Apple is apparently building support for tethering in iPhone Firmware 3.0, however
it will depend on carriers to add tethering support on their networks. So maybe we shouldn't get excited but we can definitely expect it once firmware 3.0 is released.

Strangely, Apple did not announce the feature but spoke about it during the Q&A session.

Push Notification Service:

Apple finally introduced Push Notification APIs in firmware 3.0 that allows applications to process notifications in the background.

The Push Notification APIs is a solution for one of the features that
we have been asking for, ability for native iPhone apps to run in the

Apple believes that enabling background processes is not the right
solution when it comes to mobile phones, as it would affect the
iPhone's battery life and degrade performance.

Apple is looking to solve this problem by offering developers with push
notification service for no additional cost. Apple believes that this
unified push notification service for developers is a much better
solution, not only would it be scalable but it will also preserve
battery life and maintain performance and is an optimized solution for mobile networks. You can check out our post on Push Notification Service to find out how it will work.

iPhone firmware 3.0 - Push Notification Service

Turn By Turn GPS:

We should see third party Turn by Turn GPS apps for the iPhone as developers can now use CoreLocation which was important to develop Turn by Turn applications. However, developers will need to include their own maps due to licensing issues.

Note Syncing.

You'll be able to finally synchronize
notes you take using Notes app on your iPhone via iTunes.

Other iPhone firmware 3.0 features:

  • Apple has also enhanced the Stocks app.
  • Plans to introduce different business models for payment called In-App Purchase.
  • Apple has also added CalDAV support to Calendar.
  • You will also be able to select multiple photos, copy them and then paste them into an email. 

Apple did not mention all the 100 new features in iPhone firmware 3.0 but they showed a slide which gave a glimpse of the features we can expect such as:

Auto-fill, Create invitations, Audio/video tags, live streaming, shake to shuffle, Proxy support, Wi-Fi auto login,
LDAP, iTunes account creation, YouTube
accounts, YouTube subscriptions, YouTube ratings,
Anti-Phishing, Call Log, Parental Controls, Media Scrubber, OTA
profiles, VPN on demand, Languages and Encrypted profiles.

iPhone firmware 3.0 - Other features

Features that were not announced in today:

If these features were there in iPhone firmware 3.0, Apple would have definitely told us about them. So features that we might not see in iPhone firmware 3.0 from our iPhone Firmware 3.0 wishlist are:

  • Support for Adobe Flash
  • Video Recording
  • Ability to customize the iPhone like you can do with Winterboard. (Thanks Egypt and ZedSefi for highlighting it)
  • Better way to manage and launch iPhone apps Thanks to Spotlight this is no longer an issue.

Lets hope Apple plans to announce them when they release the next generation iPhone which is widely speculated to be announced in June.

Apple has definitely not let us down with iPhone Firmware 3.0, they have included most of the features in our iPhone firmware 3.0 Wish List. The only sad thing is that we will need to wait until Summer for iPhone firmware 3.0.

We would love to hear what do you think about iPhone firmware 3.0 in the comments section below.

[Images via Engadget, Gdgt]

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  • Ben

    cant wait to get the update, but im running on the first gen iPhone so sadly i wont get the much needed MMS πŸ™
    oh, btw First ^_^, lol

  • I just realized that since this update is so big, will it affect the hacking community? Will they start to deplete because all the features we wanted are right their?(Besides all bluetooth video recording etc…) or Will it increase even more because the limitations are almost boundless in respect to security?

  • JaCk

    when is it coming out? they mention summer… but no date?

  • Yeah no date announced so far, last year iPhone firmware 2.0 was announced in March and released on July 11th.

  • iPhone firmware 3.0 is definitely a major update and it definitely gives users lesser reasons to hack their iPhone.

    But I also think the iPhone hacking community is hear to stay until the time Apple does not allow the iPhone to be used with across GSM carriers and some of the features like Video Recording etc are still missing.

  • I guess winterboard would also be a reason to stay in the hacking stuff. I guess i would still hack my phone for video recording. =P

  • ZedSefi

    I would like to correct something, you've said that Spotlight cannot be used to search for installed apps on the iPhone (like QuickGold). This is incorrect. There is a part in today's event when Scott announced that if you are a big user and got a lot of installed applications now you can use Spotlight to locate and run them.

    Also I would like to add one of the most important features that will be missed. It is the ability to customize and install themes on the iPhone. This is the main reason why most people jailbreak their iPhones to get Winterboard and all of its related stuff.

  • Kudos to Apple!!! i really expected for apple to let me down… again. But instead they far exceeded what i expected of them, wow virtually everything we have asked for except flash, video and what not, but the rest is there, wooot.
    But here is my question, amidst 3.0 news some other news has been buried that ive been wondering about, how is the Dev team doing on hacking the new base band or making a windows version? And there is a new update for itunes but i haven't heard news from you guys on the update or from the Dev whether its safe to do so. It seems that they have dropped off the face of the planet, they used to be mentioned in virtually every other post now I'm starting to wonder if they still exist lol (i hope so ill go crazy without them). So whats the news iphonehacks? have they just stayed quiet? or too busy with 3.0 to post (which i would completely understand)
    PS I'm sad that they didn't do the accelerometer lock as i suggested, especially now with landscape SMS its going to be hard while laying in bed πŸ™ lol wonder if they could make an app for it (either Cyndia or App Store)
    UPDATE: ok take that back about Dev Team dissapearing off the face of the planet, thanks Egypt just took a look at your link. Guess they are still hard at work as always πŸ˜€ WOOT DEV TEAM!!!! You rock!!! you too iphonehacks lol

  • Yup forgot to mention it in the post, ZedSefi mentioned it as well, I have
    updated the post accordingly. Thanks Egypt.

  • TimWetter

    3.0 Sounds good so far, but then i'm a naturally suspicious person and I still maintain the belief that Apple are going to hit us with a 'prevention of Cydia' barrier. Why i hear you cry….I believe Apple now view Cydia (specifically Jay Freeman) as a threat to Apples profits (Cydia Store etc) and therefore they may have an 'anti non Apple verified Application installation solution'
    I may be blasted for thinking this rather than shouting the 'WoW, it's got cut & paste' factor (a feature i really have no use for & couldn't see what the hype was about, but hey ho, thats me) but prove me wrong & i will stand corrected.
    A lot of 3.0 looks very impressive so far, but with the release date a few months away and the revealing of 3.0 today/yesterday says there maybe still a whole host of things left to do, maybe some of the listed developments will fail to make it for 3.0's official release.
    If it came to a 'mexican standoff' between 3.0 & the UNability to jailbreak, what would YOU decide to do???
    Does Apple offer a package good enough for you to become tied down, locked to the (cr)Appstore??
    Or……, would you stay with the current O/S, retain Cydia, & effectivley continue without the new features???
    I wonder if these features could become a 'selective' choice' rather than a forced upgrade…probably not, just wishful thinking πŸ™

    Feel free to discuss, i will check back and continue further discussions

  • Hey ZedSefi,

    You are right, I missed that one. With that Spotlight is probably the best
    feature in iPhone firmware 3.0.

    Thanks for highlight it and also about Winterboard.

    I have updated the post as well.

  • iPhoneUser9800

    Yeah dis all sounds good, but I don't trust apple one bit. Operating jailbroke apps is fucked up on 2.2.1 soo imagine what apple has done for this one… i've learned my lesson updating too fast. now i'm back to 2.2 but w/ 2.30.03 baseband… πŸ™

  • iPhoneUser9800

    Apple isn't stupid, they see websites like this. We don't wanna gain a little to lose everything else we love bout our iPhones, like full control to customize.

  • marcus

    i will wait for the pwnage tool to come out before upgrading to 3.0, cause i like cycorder and i plan on keeping it

  • Daniel

    Sort contacts by Company Name damnit!?!? Huge pain the ass only having firstname/lastname.

  • halu86

    Will yellowsn0w possible for OS 3.0?? Let hope so….

  • Kashif Saeed

    Deleting of picz, music n video directly from iPhone/iPod Touch feature is missing.. n Divx codec is also missing… Think Abt it Guys ..! ThXX ..

  • Tank

    So what do you guys think, 3.0 will be out and TomTom and Nav'n'Go Igo8 will show up?

  • freakinfabulous

    Is LEAP support still missing? If yes seriously Apple! If you want to really enter businessmen club try harder. Its not I don't like current updates – on contrary I love them…but still it pisses me off that I can't connect to my office Wi-fi network and have to rely on my blackberry. I love my iPhone, but give me enough grounds to fight for it!

  • iPhoneUser9800

    Why the fuck does apple make having the iPhone soo difficult? It feels like we have to pray and pray JUST for us to have "copy & paste" and "MMS" on what is probably the most high-tech phone out. But they can make sure they work hard at stopping jailbreaking and unlocking of the phones.. I kinda feel like these recent updates are just a front to stop unlocking. and the only reason there FINALLY after all this time just now adding all the features ppl have BEEN asking for for years, is to stop all the jailbreaking. Apple needs to stop being little bitches and let EVERYBODY enjoy the iPhone with WHATEVER service the like… since WERE the ones payin $300 for a phone that needs a GRAND PREMIRE just to annouce that there giving us copy and paste… wtf!

    But we all know AT&T is the culprit behind all this…

  • TimWetter

    Thanx for the link Egypt, another forum added to my list. So far i've followed your previous comments and it's fair to say you know your stuff
    I hate to add that i'm still not convinced about the ability to jailbreak 3.0, but if it can be done… then check back here as i will stand corrected πŸ˜‰ (i hope i am wrong)

  • Do you work for http://www.iphonehacks.com? I have never seen you post a comment (From my memory at least). No problem for the link. =]


  • TimWetter

    Your memory serves you well…
    I'm a Long time reader, Short time poster!!! πŸ˜‰
    i'm the sort of guy that only adds to/ starts a topic if i feel it's relevant. Only recently started posting on iphonehacks.com, i feel it's a worthwhile site to visit and the info it supplies is excellent (iphonehacks.com helped me the same day i aquired my 8gig 3g & pointed me in the direction of jailbreaking it)
    I've followed many of your links for a while now, i get the feeling you want the same as i do…. A Ferrari o/s to match the Ferrari handset rather than having a high quality shell with far from amazing software!
    Keep up the good work mate, I for one appreciate the links & tips you provide for ALL of us out here

  • Donald

    When the new iphone comes out in July time, do you know if 2nd Gen Iphone users can upgrade for free? Even if I have only had the phone for 5 months? (on contract etc)…Cheers

  • Greg Powell

    I just jizzed in my pants….

  • You should start posting more because i like to read peoples comments and if i can add my knowledge to benefit others. Nice example with the Ferrari! =)Im glad you responded because now i know that i am benefiting others. =D

  • geogo3r

    The only two reasons I have to Jailbreak my iPhone after 3.0 would be Winterboard and Video recording and I don't know if that is enough to justify Jailbreaking it, especially since I'd be voiding a warranty for so little.

  • ZedSefi

    Regarding the accelerometer, there is a SBSettings toggle called 'NoRotation' that should do what you have asked for.

  • nice, thanks. I guess its a good temp fix. I was looking more for something like holding the corner as you rotate or something that is more temporary than having to go to settings every time i want to change it. You know what i mean? But thanks again, good app.

  • This update kinda sucks for us 1st gen iPhone users, no MMS or Bluetooth ability. I'm hating Apple soooo much know.
    They did say they've added over 100 features, I just hope one of them is to customize the look of the keyboard, navigaton bars, SMS bubbles etc.. at least if not the icons, I'm not really bothered about wallpapaer behind apps or changing icons as I really like the stock icons and if I don't I just SSH into my iPhone and change them. I think video recording will be allowed through the App Store now due to the 1000 more API's being added. Well tbh you can't delete stuff from an iPod so why would you be able to delete stuff from the iPod app? I think I might have to sell my iPhone and get the 3rd gen in August πŸ™‚

  • Jailbreaking will NEVER stop as there are thousands of people using cracked apps who will still want the option to install cracked apps including me.
    Don't worry I'm not a thief, if I like the app I buy it if not I delete it, simple as.

  • TimWetter

    Prefix & Duplicate!!!

    I use prefixes for my contavts folders, always have even before iphone.

    Example for you: (persons with this)
    Wife becomes ~ AAA[insert name of significant other] thus propelling her/him to the no.1 slot
    I use AAA, AA, A to sort the most used contacts so they remain first on my list

    Using the same prefix idea, I use Z for companies, as i find it one of the least used letters and my contacts Z field is always unused so now ALL my companies are listed using ZZZ, ZZ, Z in order of importance
    You will find that if you double up the contacts so as to have 'David' as one contact & 'Davecom' as another, yet the phone no. is the same for both, your display will say 'David or Davecom calling' for incoming & 'David or Davecom' on outgoing calls.
    Takes a bit of time to retype, but helps if you use clippy etc

    Hope this helps, it works for me

  • TimWetter

    Me again πŸ™‚
    Have a look at ABgrouper, available from Cydia on BigBoss repo
    Quote: "Create, manage and delete groups of contacts in your address book"
    Try and create a Companies group
    (i'm giving it a go, chuck a reply to this and i'll report back on findings)

  • Carl

    I wonder if the battery life is going to suffer because of the new "push" notifications for the 3rd party apps. That's all I need…..or is there a way to conserve the battery by turning the notifications off?

  • Randy

    Will ver 3 let us tether to the internet from a PC through an iPhone?

  • is there anyway to get a hold of any 3.0 apps that developers may have created already like the meebo which takes use of the push notification…

  • hari

    do they charge from us to update the apple 3.0 oparating version?

  • subbu

    in 100 features do they provide push mail notification on desk top of the iphone screen.

  • yeah

    Naw it's free.

  • sk8addiction247

    Is this only for iphone 3G or can I get all of the 3.0 firmware on my first edition iphone. I've been hearing that the new MMS texting wont work on an older iphone?

  • iPhone OS 3.0 will be available for free for 1st generation iPhone as well.

    What you heard is true, MMS feature will be available only in iPhone 3G.

  • james adition

    What a nice post. I enjoyed the article from the beginning to the end. I really want to thank you for your great deed. I hope to read more from you on this article.

    3G Mobile Phones.