Apple iPhone 3.0 Update Looks Underwhelming

Software coming this summer will keep phone competitive, but isn't grounbreaking

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The iPhone 3G.
The iPhone 3G.

Maybe it's unfair to expect more groundbreaking news from Apple's iPhone. But I'm underwhelmed by the updates coming to the smartphone's software.

Most of the iPhone 3.0 changes will make current users happy by keeping their handset competitive. But there didn't seem to be anything particularly new or trendsetting.

The big additions for consumers include cut-and-paste editing, multimedia messaging, system-wide search, and wireless networking directly between iPhones. Other key changes benefit developers for iPhone apps, which already number more than 25,000. More power for developers will mean more power for the phone.

But most of the major changes that consumers will see appear defensive. They respond to capabilities present in BlackBerry and Android phones, and even fall short of some promised in upcoming updates to Palm and Microsoft devices.

With the new software, due this summer at no cost to current iPhone owners, the handset may remain the best of class. But I didn't see anything today that alone would compel many new buyers. Or am I fooled by the lack of showmanship with Steve Jobs on medical leave?

Apple is said to be readying a new model for this summer. Maybe that will have something to elicit a "wow." But no official word today on new hardware.

A couple of good reports with more details are at CNet and Gizmodo. Or draw your own conclusions by watching a stream of the event itself.

Then let us know what you think. Is the iPhone losing its lead over competitors?