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Apple's IPhone 3.0 update to add copy and paste, MMS and wider on-screen keyboard

March 17, 2009 | 12:36 pm
IPhone 3.0 lets users cut, copy and paste
Apple Senior Vice President Scott Forstall shows off an iPhone 3.0 software update, due this summer, that includes features such as the ability to cut, copy and paste. Credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Apple finally plans to fix some big shortcomings that have troubled iPhone users since the device was released in June 2007. The company said today that it's adding the ability to copy and paste, to send and receive the multimedia text messages known as MMS and to turn the iPhone sideways for typing in "landscape" mode on a wider on-screen keyboard mode.

The changes, which also include some new gee-whiz features, are part of a broad update to the iPhone's operating system that's due sometime this summer. Apple released an early version of the iPhone 3.0 software for developers so they can start creating applications for it.

The 3.0 update will be free for all owners of first- and second-generation iPhones, though the 1.0 versions won't be able to take advantage of all the features. IPod Touch owners will have to pay $9.95.

One of the most grumble-inducing traits of the iPhone is its inability to let users copy and paste text, links and photos, like they can on a computer, a BlackBerry, a Treo, a Windows Mobile phone and just about every other communications gadget known to man. That oversight, which Apple never quite explained, created headaches for sending e-mail, updating contacts or inserting URLs into messages. IPhone 3.0 will let users double tap on a word to bring up a menu, from which they can choose to cut, copy and paste. It works across different programs on the iPhone. To clear the clipboard, just shake your handset.

The copy-and-paste addition triggered applause from developers and journalists during an event at Apple this morning to show off the new features. "Applause for a feature that every other device in the world has. Odd," Engadget snarked in its liveblog of the Apple event.

Other iPhone improvements that Apple touted include a better search function; a voice memo feature; the ability to connect with other iPhones via Bluetooth for gaming or information sharing; and a new App Store that lets users buy things inside the apps themselves (think new levels for games) and subscribe to receive new versions of apps as they're released. Here's a full rundown of iPhone 3.0 features from Gizmodo.

-- Chris Gaither

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