iPhone 3.0 software update contains surprises, like computer tethering

There are a bunch of surprises, some long-awaited, in the iPhone 3.0 software update coming on June 17th, Apple announced today at its Worldwide Developer Conferences. One of the coolest is that you can now use the Internet connection of your iPhone to get Internet access for your laptop when you’re in a place where you can’t get normal web access.

This feature is called tethering, and this is how I’m getting access to the web right now on my Windows Vista laptop, using my Verizon phone to do the tethering. The iPhone tethering will work with any Mac or PC and will be supported by web service providers around the world.

Interface interactivity: Other features, some known and some new, include “cut copy and paste” functions that let you capture something and paste it into any iPhone application. There is an “undo” function, where you can shake the phone to immediately undo the last action you took.

Multimedia Messaging: MMS support will be coming this summer on phones with AT&T service. You can search through your calendar, email, and even email stored on a server (and not the phone itself) directly on the iPhone. With iTunes, you can now purchase a movie or video on your iPhone, rather than doing it from a computer, so that you can buy a movie to play while waiting in an airport. It also works for rentals and audio books too.

Phone finder: If you ever misplace your phone, you can now locate it with “find my iPhone.” You can go to a computer and then look up its location on a map. It will send out a sound signal, even if you left the phone in silent mode. If the phone is really lost, you can wipe out all of the data on it remotely.

Parental controls: Are now fine-grained, meaning you can set a phone so that your kid can only play G or PG-rated movies on the device.

Speed: And the new version of Safari on the iPhone 3.0 software can now get a busy web page in 43 seconds, compared to 126 seconds on the previous version of the software.

These are some truly killer features, some that allow you to become less dependent on a computer and more dependent on the iPhone itself.

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