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Apple iPhone Feeling The Heat?

Upgrades to the iPhone operating system might indicate the company is feeling the pressure from the competition.

Among the updates included in the coming iPhone 3.0 OS are cut and paste -- which will make early adopters who have been clamoring for that feature since the launch of the smartphone happy -- significant upgrades to the App sales and limited push functionality. Each of those upgrades will continue to help Apple be the bellwether in the mobile phone market.

But among the upgrades are several that iPhone users have long been pining for, such as Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) and increased use of landscape keyboard typing. To Apple's credit, the company delivered the goods by giving customers nearly everything they've been asking for since summer 2007.

But the fact that the Cupertino, Calif-based computer manufacturer had to provide features standard on other phones seems to indicate that Apple is feeling the heat from the rest of the mobile device market. After all, MMS and landscape typing (via a QWERTY keyboard) have been standard options for both smartphones and non-smartphones for several years.

The lack of a few key features combined with the buzz gathering around the Palm Pre and the continued pressure from Research In Motion's BlackBerry smartphones isn't lost on Apple. Those two foils plus the competition from manufacturers like Nokia, HTC and Samsung have created a market where customers are gaining the power.

When the iPhone was first launched, Apple was confident that it was putting a product on the market that no other company could match. And the Jobs crew was right. The iPhone, simply put, was a game-changer--a portable computing device with a slick design unlike anything that had been seen before. Sure, there were complaints about it. The lack of a physical keyboard still makes some users shy away.

But again, the lack of some basic functionality, specifically MMS and landscape typing, continued to raise red flags, even though the iPhone is in its second generation.

So at the iPhone 3.0 OS unveiling yesterday, Apple took two important steps back. Adding landscape typing and MMS functionality are equivalent to the company addressing a few cracks in the foundation of a building. Now that those flaws have been shored up, Apple can keep building.

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