3.0 firmware more important still

Phin believes that the 3.0 firmware is going to prove more monumental still, because of its support for hardware add-ons. "Nobody really can grasp how amazing this will to be; it's going to put devices running the iPhone OS (note the wording there) at the heart of medical, fitness, audio, lifestyle and pretty-much-everything-else-that-you-can-think-of devices in the years to come."

"It's this extensibility – ironic for a company unfairly famed for closed, proprietary systems – that will let the iPhone platform flourish."

Indeed, iPhone OS 3.0 provides developers with over 1,000 new APIs. As well as the hardware support, these enable othere features such as In-App Purchases, Peer-to-Peer connections and Push Notifications. We're yet to see the result of many of these so far, though.

But the plethora of apps is now having side-effects; apps are finding it harder to bubble to the surface. With millions now downloaded every week, it is becoming increasingly hard for developers to capture the attention of consumers,"

And the iPhone has other challenges, too. Carriers have continued to be under the spotlight. Here in the UK, O2 continues to be criticised for its patchy 3G coverage as does AT&T in the US.

The audience at Apple's WWDC were hardly impressed when it became evident that AT&T wouldn't be supporting MMS (updated in the 3.0 firmware) until later in the year.

App Store impact elsewhere

The App Store is certainly driving online advertising forward, says Schulz. "Many developers are now using mobile advertising to drive downloads of their applications.

"Not only is this boosting sales of paid-for apps, it is also helping developers to monetise the traffic generated by their free applications. Mobile advertising benefits both consumers and developers as the ads will help consumers users find new apps, and developers can afford to invest more time producing and updating their applications."

In the UK, 28.4 per cent of ad requests came from the iPhone, just more than in the US, while globally it was 18.6 per cent.

And now, Apple has released the 3GS, a non game-changing handset that we can't help but think is a halfway house between the 3G and the next, kick ass iPhone revolution. It does mean that the 3G suddenly looks like the budget option, with a £87 starter price tag for the 3GS on a standard O2 tariff.

Apple continues to be bullish about its handsets, press releasing a million weekend sales after the first few days of the 3GS being in stores, just as it did with the 3G. In contrast, it took 74 days to sell the first one million original iPhones – but you did have to lay down that wedge of cash up front, of course.

"Customers are voting and the iPhone is winning," said Steve Jobs, Apple's CEO in his return-from-hiatus statement. "With over 50,000 applications available from Apple's revolutionary App Store, iPhone momentum is stronger than ever." He's right, you know.

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