New iPhone OS due on Wednesday

Version 3.0 of the handset's operating system will bring system-wide search, cut-and-paste, push notifications and enhanced keyboard options to Apple's popular device

A revised operating system for Apple's iPhone will be made available on Wednesday, adding functionality such as system-wide search and cut-and-paste to the popular handset.

iPhone 3.0 was first shown off to developers in March. The update is free for iPhone users, and will be uploaded to iTunes early on Wednesday evening.

System-wide search is provided by the Spotlight tool, which is already found on desktop Macs. The tool allows the user to search for a phrase across the handset's contacts, messaging, email, calendar and iTunes applications.

The cut-and-paste functionality is called up when the user double-taps on a section of text, then selects the desired action. Mistakes can be reversed by shaking the handset.

Push notifications have been enabled, so users do not need to constantly remember to check for new messages, and iPhone users will now be able to invite contacts to meetings and forward contacts to colleagues.

Version 3.0 of the operating system also adds the option of using the soft keyboard in landscape mode. Emails, text messages and contacts can now also be viewed in landscape mode.

A native voice recorder application has also been added to the iPhone's operating system for the first time, and users will now be able to send multimedia (MMS) messages.

Developers can now charge users within applications for enhancements to those applications, rather than forcing them to adopt payment mechanisms outside the iPhone.

Peripherals manufacturers have also been given more access to the built-in functionality of the iPhone, allowing many to put the controls for their external devices on the iPhone itself.

The latest version of the iPhone, the 3G S, will go on sale on Friday. It includes new hardware features that will not be available to older handsets running the new operating system — these include video recording and the new model's built-in compass.

The new hardware also includes a more-powerful graphics chip, which has led to questions about whether graphics-intensive software such as games designed for the new phone will be compatible with the old.