It probably hasn’t escaped your attention that Apple have released their 3rd generation of the ever popular iPhone along with an update of the OS for all iPhone users.

The new phone itself isn’t much different from the older 3G version, boasting a very similar look and feel, but packing a few extras under the hood:

  • Quicker processor
  • Double the memory (256MB)
  • Updated camera that can do video recording
  • Electronic compass
  • Nike+

It is quite good that Apple haven’t updated the fundamental design as it means all the accessories and add-ons that were available for the earlier version work with the new one.

The interesting thing about this phone is that most people with the iPhone 3G will not be able to upgrade immediately, tied in as they are to an 18 month contract with O2. That said, sales of the new 3G S seem to have been pretty strong with many original version iPhone users upgrading (my wife upgraded on the day it was released) and a whole bunch of new customers drawn in by Apple’s impeccable marketing.

Of interest to all iPhone users is the update to version 3.0 of the iPhone software which brings with it a whole host of useful additions.

A few highlights are:

  • Ability to use rotated keyboard in any app (that supports it) particularly useful in email app.
  • MMS
  • Copy and Paste
  • Enhancements to activesync (main one is to allow push to other folders than the inbox)
  • Global Search
  • Enhanced bluetooth
  • Tethering (ability to use your phone like a USB 3G dongle)
  • Push notifications

There are a lot more, I have only highlighted the particularly newsworthy ones and the ones that I personally have found benefit from. The keyboard update and the general user interface enhancement have made the whole experience more aesthetically pleasing and more practical. This is quite impressive considering the quality of the previous version, but Apple have done a good job with the incremental improvements.

Of all the updates I would expect the push notifications to have the biggest long term impact as it will allow developers to build applications that appear to stay open on the device when they have actually closed, this is going to be extremely important for instant messaging and social networking type apps.

Overall the latest updates are a good addition to the iPhone series; I wonder what they have up their sleeves for next year….

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