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iPhone 1.1.3 firmware hands-on

A detailed, hands-on look at iPhone firmware 1.1.3 reveals some interesting new features.

A select few have their mittens on the forthcoming iPhone 1.1.3 firmware update, which packs a quasi-GPS function in Google Maps, the ability to rearrange home screen icons and new bookmarking functionality. Our friends at iPhone Atlas recently posted a hands-on look at the update, noting some previously undocumented features such as redemption of gift cards in the WiFi iTunes store and enhanced Gmail access in the Mail application. Also included in the report are usage notes for the primary new features.

Particularly cool is Google Maps' new "Drop Pin" feature. Tap the small eye-looking icon in the lower-right portion of the screen then tap "Drop pin". This will drop a locator in the center of your current map. You can then drag it to a new location, or tap it to find directions to the pin, from the pin, or even add the pin as a bookmarked (saved) location. The list view for directions is also improved. It now shows pins for the origin and destination so you can tap them to see corresponding location on the map. Other niceties include the ability to see traffic without getting directions and a hybrid (satellite/map) view.

Copy/paste functionality, Flash playback, MMS and voice recording are still missing from the upcoming release and it doesn't look like unofficial third-party applications will survive the update. Still, Apple is making good on CFO Peter Oppenheimer's promise to roll out "new software features and entirely new applications" for the iPhone over time.