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IPhone 3.0 update cures headaches

Users will finally be able to cut and paste, handle MMS texts and more. (Did we mention cut and paste?)

March 18, 2009|Chris Gaither

SAN FRANCISCO — Apple Inc. finally plans to fix some big shortcomings that have troubled iPhone users since the device was released in June 2007.

The company said Tuesday that it was adding the abilities to copy and paste, to send and receive the multimedia text messages known as MMS, and to turn the iPhone sideways for typing in "landscape" mode on a wider on-screen keyboard.

The changes, which include some gee-whiz features, are part of a broad update to the iPhone's operating system due sometime this summer. Apple released an early version of the iPhone 3.0 software for developers Tuesday so they could start creating applications for it.

The 3.0 update will be free for all owners of first- and second-generation iPhones, though the 1.0 versions won't be able to take advantage of all the features. IPod Touch owners will have to pay $9.95.

One of the most grumble-inducing traits of the iPhone is its inability to let users copy and paste text, links and photos as they can on a computer, a BlackBerry, a Treo, a Windows Mobile phone and just about every other communications gadget.

That oversight, which Apple never quite explained other than to say that adding the function presented a bigger challenge than one would think, created headaches for people sending e-mail, updating contacts or inserting URLs into messages.

IPhone 3.0 will let users double tap on a word to bring up a menu, from which they can choose to cut, copy and paste. It works across different programs on the iPhone. To clear the clipboard, users just shake the handset.

Other iPhone improvements touted by Apple include an upgraded search function, a voice memo feature and the ability to connect with other iPhones via Bluetooth for gaming or information sharing.

Apple also said that its App Store for downloading programs would let users buy things inside the apps themselves (think new levels for games) and to receive new versions of apps as they're released.

Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said the iPhone 3.0's "many minor features add up to a major difference."

Apple's shares gained $4.24 to $99.66.

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chris.gaither@latimes.com

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