* Unveils iPhone 3.0 operating system
* Features include copy-and-paste, automatic notifications
* Apple shares up 4.4 pct
(Adds additional details, analyst comment)
By Gabriel Madway
CUPERTINO, Calif. (Reuters) - Apple Inc
unveiled new software for the iPhone that will support some
long-anticipated features, such as copy-and-paste of text and
picture messaging, as the company pushes to stay competitive in
the phone market.
Apple also gave its vast network of software developers a
slew of new options for upcoming applications, such as support
for subscription models and automatic alerts, a move applauded
"They've taken a few more steps ahead of the pack in the
race," said CCS Insight analyst John Jackson, adding that, in
spite of the omission of certain features until now, the iPhone
was still the most high-profile cell phone.
"Two years on they still have the cool phone and business
model that everybody's talking about and trying to emulate."
While Apple's touchscreen inspired many imitators, some
users complained it lacked functions common in other
smartphones such as multimedia messaging and the ability to
copy and paste text.
Such features already exist on rival devices such as the
BlackBerry from Research In Motion Ltd and Treo from
Palm Inc and phones based on Windows Mobile from
Microsoft Corp. iPhone is central to Apple's plans, as
growth in its Mac computer and iPod music player businesses
On Tuesday, Apple -- represented by iPhone software senior
vice president Scott Forstall, as Chief Executive Steve Jobs is
out on medical leave -- lifted the veil on iPhone 3.0 software
with 100 new features, including some long-wished for updates.
An early version of the software is available to
application developers today and will be available to consumers
this summer. IPhone users will be able to download the software
upgrade for free, while iPod touch customers will be charged
The updated software kit for developers will have more than
1,000 new programming functions, including peer-to-peer
capability, an interface allowing applications to communicate
with iPhone accessories such as docking stations, as well as
access to the phone's music library.
Analysts said that while most the of software updates were
long expected, improvements to the developers kit could help
increase revenue made from applications.
Gartner analyst Van Baker said the message of the event was
clearly targeted at the developer community. He expects the new
development kit to enable third-party vendors to create better
and more expensive applications.
"This is a pretty significant release ... it will certainly
help to drive commerce," Baker said.
NEW APP FEATURES
The next-generation iPhone operating system will enable so-
called push notification, allowing developers to build
applications that can provide automatic alerts of items such as
sports results or the arrival of an instant message. The alerts
would show up automatically even if the user is in another
It will also allow developers to offer subscriptions and
sell content within their their applications.
In addition, a peer-to-peer capability will enable iPhone
users near each other to interact for features such as gaming.
Apple also promised multimedia messaging capability with
the new 3.0 software, allowing users to send each other
photographs from the phone.
On top of that, the company unveiled a widely anticipated
universal search feature called "spotlight," which can scour
key applications on the phone such as e-mail and iPod.
Apple, which sells iPhones in 80 countries, said Tuesday
consumers had already downloaded 800 million iPhone
applications from its store, which offers 25,000 applications
Apple said it will expand its App Store to 77 countries
Apple declined to comment when asked about plans to release
a netbook computer or a new iPhone model. Many analysts expect
to see a new iPhone this summer, while some speculate Apple
will also introduce a stripped-down version for as little as
Apple's second-generation, 3G iPhone was an immediate hit
when it was released last July. The company sold a total of
13.7 million iPhones in 2008, topping its 10 million target.
The iPhone App Store has become something of a consumer
phenomenon, helping boost interest in the device. The store
features a wide array of applications, some for free and some
for a fee. Under Apple's model, 70 percent of the revenue goes
to the developer.
"What they did with this blew us away," Forstall told the
audience, referring to the applications developers.
Apple shares closed up $4.24, or 4.4 percent, at $99.66 on
(Writing and additional reporting by Sinead Carew; Editing by
Edwin Chan and Tim Dobbyn)
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