CUPERTINO, Calif. - Apple Inc. on Tuesday lifted the wraps on a major update of its software for the iPhone, saying the new operating system will add features such as cut, copy and paste and a search function that works across all of the devices’ applications.
At an event at the company’s Cupertino, Calif. headquarters, officers for Apple showed off the new software, dubbed iPhone OS 3.0. The software will be available to iPhone customers free of charge sometime this summer, though no specific release date was given. The company has released a beta version of the software developer kit for developers building applications for the new system.
Shares of Apple closed trading up 4.4 percent at $99.66 Tuesday.
Many of the improvements on the software came in line with expectations from the analyst community, who are watching to see how the device can stack up to other smart phone competitors such as the popular BlackBerry from Research In Motion and the G1, which is based on the Android operating system from Google.
Also, the iPhone will have fresh competition this summer from the soon-to-be-launched Pre from Palm Inc., which has been generating strong buzz.
“It will pay off in the long run,” said analyst Tim Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies. “The cut, copy and paste features are things people have wanted for some time, and down the road, this will lead to new applications for consumers.”
The new software will allow users to copy and paste text between different applications, as well as the ability to type e-mail messages in the phone’s landscape mode.
The software will also include “Push” notifications, which is designed to improve the function of programs like IM and other instant messaging tools. It will also include support for MMS technology that allows users to send audio and image files over messaging networks.
Apple also announced a new tool called Spotlight, which will allow users to search across all applications on the device, including e-mail. The lack of e-mail searching has been seen as one major weakness of the device compared to rivals like the BlackBerry.
The event Tuesday was the first Apple has held for unveiling a new product since Chief Executive Steve Jobs took a leave of absence to deal with health issues. Jobs is set to return to Apple at the end of June.