At a press event in the US, Apple has unveiled its iPhone 3.0 OS software with over 1,000 new API functions.

Highlights include the long-awaited ability to cut, copy and paste, MMS messaging, A2DP Bluetooth, peer to peer Bluetooth hook-up, subscription-based applications, apps aimed at accessories and better map integration including turn-by-turn directions.

Supporting the software launch, Apple vice president Greg Joswiak revealed that on the hardware side, the company has sold over 17 million iPhones and over 30 million iPhone and iPod touches.

In addition, the company has seen over 800,000 downloads of the free SDK in a year and has now seen over 800 million application downloads.

In a move to try and address criticism over the App Store approval process, which has seen some big news stories over refused applications, Joswiak stated that Apple approves 96% of app applications.

Scott Forstall, senior vice president of iPhone software for Apple, took the stage for the details and stated about the 3.0 OS: "This is a major update to the OS. It comes with incredible features for developers and customers".

Apple is introducing an subscription-based App Store option called "In-App Purchase" that means relevant applications will offer further, add-on buys to users through the iTunes store.

The examples given are further levels or features in games, more cities in travel guides or more titles in an e-book reading app.

Another new feature is a "peer to peer" connectivity function that will see iPhone and iPod touch owners gaming against each other, or sharing info within an application through Bluetooth.

Apple is also looking to offer more hardware accessories for its iPhone platform with the move of enabling accessory developers "to build custom apps that talk directly to that hardware".

In addition, developers will now be able to better use maps in their apps. Forstall said: "We're making the heart of the Maps application an API which devs can embed into their applications", a move that will see turn by turn directions enabled for navigational apps.

Push notification is another new feature for the new OS that will see improvements for applications such as instant messaging.

Further API changes will mean iPhone developers can add streaming video and audio to their apps, as well as take advantage of in-game voice use.

Apple will finally introduce the ability to cut, copy and paste - complete with a shake-to-undo command - with the 3.0 update, something long requested by users.

Another long overdue feature due with the new firmware is MMS messaging, something the iPhone has never offered.

Other new features include a landscape on-screen keyboard in certain apps, the ability to sync Notes, Wi-Fi auto-login, the ability to forward and delete multiple messages, voice memos and improvements to the Stocks app.

Another no-doubt popular addition to the phone's software is the improved search functionality that will see all main applications now search-able, including the iPod side of things, with a "Spotlight" widget to search the entire phone.

The developer SDK will be available in beta immediately while Apple says the iPhone OS 3.0 will be available this summer free for iPhone 3G devices and the iPod touch for $9.95.

Certain features, such as the stereo Bluetooth and the MMSing will not work with the original iPhone.

Apple also revealed it will be adding 15 more countries to the App Store list to see the iTunes-based store available in 77 countries.