Apple has finally announced MMS support for the iPhone with the latest update to the firmware, iPhone 3.0.
You can send or receive photos over a network, as well as contacts, audio files and your location if you're into playing games with a stalker.
You can add these functions to the device as well, so if you get a picture message from an unknown, you can add them straight into your contacts book and save the picture to your gallery as well.
Although the 2.0 firmware upgrade added in the ability to search in contacts (which was a pretty basic error) now users can search across multiple applications.
All these search functions will be grouped together in a home screen called Spotlight, which will be located to the left of the normal home screen, which can be accessed by flicking left.
This means you can search for an App if you've got billions on your handset, rather than flicking all the way over to the millionth screen.
Survey the landscape
Users fed up of the inaccuracy of the portrait QWERTY keyboard will now be able to use it in landscape mode too, as Apple finally catches up with its rivals.
This means that even SMS and email will be able to make use of the mode, with more screen real estate to use when trying to tap out messages.
Apple also unveiled In-App Purchase for the new firmware, meaning that if developers want to let users buy additional content from within an App they can now do so.
This means users will get prompts to purchase subscriptions, for instance continued magazine downloads, or more levels for gaming. This means developers can give away Apps, but you'll be able to pay for only what you want within them, which is a nice touch.
iPhone 3.0 also supports P2P connectivity, mostly for gaming applications. The connection will allow you to bring up a dialogue that lets you find local services, although it's only over Bluetooth, so no Wi-Fi compatibility.
However, this will also be used to allow users to send contacts between one another, essentially letting iPhone digitally handshake with one another, with no need for pairing.
With the SDK for the iPhone 3.0, accessory developers will also be able to make custom applications that can communicate directly with an accessory, for instance an equalizer for a speaker, or FM control for a transmitter. This functionality has already been seen on the iPod to a lesser extent, so it's good to see it on the iPhone and iPod touches too.
The Google Maps App can also now be used as a public API and embedded directly into any App, which means that finally users can get all the power of Google's mapping software in different Apps, ie restaurant finding or location-based services.
However, the more exciting news is the ability for the GPS system to use turn-by-turn functionality, although users have to bring their own maps and can't use Google's. We doubt this will be a problem for the likes of CoPilot or Tom-Tom, so we're not too upset.
The final bit of good news is the inclusion of A2DP stereo Bluetooth, meaning that users will finally be able to listen to the their tunes in full wireless stereo glory.
Overall, the iPhone 3.0 updates have been solid rather than unspectacular in this release, fixing the gaping holes Apple left itself with the release of the iPhone and the iPhone 3G, but still it's good to see the company taking a pro-active stance in changing this.
The new iPhone 3.0 firmware update will be coming this summer, and will be free to all iPhone customers, with iPod touch users having to fork out £7-ish for the upgrade.
However, original iPhone users won't be able to use MMS or A2DP, so they'll be forced to upgrade to the iPhone 3G (or a secret new device coming this summer) if they're desperate to send picture messages to pals.
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