Apple Releases iPhone OS 3.0; AT&T Opens up iPhone 3G S Eligibility

Apple today released its anticipated iPhone OS 3.0 update prior to the launch of the iPhone 3G S on Friday, June 19, with numerous updates and improvements compared to the previous iPhone OS.

The Cupertino-based company last week confirmed the looming iPhone 3.0 software update during the Worldwide Developers Conference.

There are around 100 new features and updates in the iPhone 3.0 update, though the most notable has to be the ability to now cut, copy, and paste text directly in the phone, along with a horizontal landscape keyboard and Find My Phone feature designed to track down lost or stolen phones.  Apple also included turn-by-turn GPS directions, better search capabilities, additional parental controls, and a new Voice Memos app.

Users most anticipated the ability to quickly and easily cut, copy, and paste material from one application directly into another application.  Furthermore, the ability to rotate the iPhone into landscape mode — offering a larger keyboard in Mail, Notes, Safari, and Messages — has been a long time request by iPhone owners.

In addition to boosting the number of apps for iPhone owners, Apple also included 1,000 more programming tools that can be used by developers to create new apps.

Along with the noted iPhone OS 3.0 launch, AT&T also has opened up phone eligibility a bit more for current iPhone owners who want to upgrade to the 3G S.   New subscribers and “qualified” AT&T subscribers qualify for the $199 16GB iPhone or $299 32GB iPhone when it launches.

Apple received criticism from current iPhone 3G owners who were originally dismayed to learn they’d have to pay either $399/$499 or $599/$699 depending on the length of time left on their AT&T contract.  Many of them took to the internet to voice their concerns to Apple, noting it’s not fair that they, as iPhone customers already, have to pay more for the phone upgrade.

IPhone owners who have owned their phones for at least 12 to 18 months and pay $100 minimum per month in fees can purchase the iPhone 3G S for $299 or $399 on Friday.  Furthermore, people who were told they’d have to wait until July, August or September to receive the price will be able to pick up a phone on Friday for the “new buyer price.”

Both Gizmodo and Engadget have been able to sink their teeth into the iPhone 3G S, with both sites noting the phone is a quality product — although editors for both sites indicate iPhone 3G owners might not need to upgrade, as the phones share a very similar user experience.