Hands on: iPhone 3.0 review

iPhone 3.0 firmware
The iPhone 3.0 update can be downloaded now

When O2 customers moaned about iPhone 3G S upgrades, the firm was quick to point out that version 3.0 of the iPhone OS would deliver almost everything the 3G S offered - without the pant-threateningly expensive upgrade prices.

So now it's here, is O2 right? Is Version 3.0 a whole new iPhone?

As far as everyday usability is concerned, iPhone 3.0 delivers three key features: copying and pasting, Spotlight searching and more use of the landscape keyboard. You now get a landscape keyboard in Mail, Messages and Notes, and the new developer APIs should see it in third-party apps, too.

However, we have one big reservation about the keyboard, and that's its size: it's still useless for fingers, but by taking the full width of the screen it's too wide for thumbs. For us at least, it's an ergonomic disaster area.


GO WIDE: The landscape keyboard is now available in Messages, Mail and Notes. The proportions are weird, though, and we found it very uncomfortable

With the arrival of Spotlight you can now search your iPhone in the same way as you search your Mac. Well, almost. While Spotlight does a decent job of phone-wide searches - for example searching for a name will bring up results from your Address Book, from Mail and from any other apps such as Calendar that contain that person's name - it's inevitably less powerful than its desktop equivalent, especially on email. You can search message titles and senders, but not the content of email messages.


SEARCH: Spotlight delivers quick and easy searching across your iPhone

iPhone copy and paste

FINALLY: Cut, copy and paste works flawlessly. You can also use it to copy URLs from Safari or images from your photo library

Copy and Paste is much more successful. Holding your finger on an object enables you to drag a selection area for text, and you can then cut, copy or select all; switch to your destination app, hold your finger down again and the paste option springs up. It doesn't just work for text: you can also copy photos, so for example you can copy a picture from your camera roll and paste it into an email or MMS, and it can also copy URLs from Safari's address bar.

Did we mention MMS? That's now implemented in the SMS application, now renamed Messages, although it comes at a price: the application is noticeably slower to load in version 3.0.


MMS: The Messages application feels very sluggish

Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now and her next book, about pop music, is out in 2025. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind.