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 ‘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]