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Apple boosts iPhone with maps and more

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Apple’s second big announcement at Macworld last week was a free software update for its iPhone that allows users to automatically find their location , SMS multiple people in one message, and add significant new features to their iPhone through software updates whenever an update becomes available. Read more …
At Macworld in San Francisco last week, Apple made sure the MacBook Air was not the only attention-grabbing announcement. It also lifted the lid on a free software update for its iPhone that allows users to automatically find their location using the redesigned Maps application*; SMS or text message multiple people in one message; create Web Clips for their favourite web sites; customise their home screen; and watch movies rented from the new iTunes Movie Rentals right on their iPhone.

With its multi-touch user interface and pioneering software, users can easily add significant new features to their iPhone through software updates whenever an update becomes available. New iPhone products shipping from the factory will include the software update and existing iPhone customers will automatically get the update for free when they sync their iPhone with iTunes.
“iPhone doesn’t stand still—we’re making it better and better all the time,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, speaking at Macworld. “We’ve delighted millions of users with this revolutionary and magical product and it’s great to share these improvements with them.”
Maps, one of the most popular and helpful applications on iPhone, has a new interface that is simpler and easier to use and adds new features such as the ability to find your location automatically. With the tap of a button, iPhone can now triangulate your position using nearby Wi-Fi base stations or cellular towers. You can use this as a starting or ending point for directions or to find local points of interest. The new hybrid map view combines map view and satellite view so you can see major street names overlaid on satellite imagery.
Users can also now create Web Clips – icons on the home screen that take you directly to your favourite websites, including to the exact spot you have zoomed into. Web Clips easily track web sites that are frequently checked, such as news, blogs, sports sites and movie listings. In addition, users can now customise their home screen by repositioning any of the icons, and even create up to nine different home screens that they can easily flick between.
iPhone’s new software update also adds the ability to send the same SMS text message to multiple people, and iPhone saves a history of your text messages, so with one tap you can send a new message to the same group.
With Apple’s new iTunes Movie Rentals, movie fans can rent movies on their computer, easily and quickly transfer them to their iPhone, and watch them anywhere on iPhone’s 3.5 inch screen. Users can also now navigate forward or backward through their movies by chapters, select alternate language tracks and view subtitles, if available.
Pricing & Availability
The iPhone software update 1.1.3 is available immediately for free via iTunes 7.5 or later for all existing iPhone customers in the US, UK, Germany, France and through local hacks (speak to your nearest geek for an explanation).
New iPhone products shipping from the factory will include the software update and existing iPhone customers will automatically get the update for free when they sync their iPhone with iTunes. iTunes Movie Rentals are available in the US only.
*Availability and precision of Maps positioning features will vary depending on actual location.

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