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Apple made available the beta version of its iPhone OS 3.0 and updated software development kit (SDK) to registered developers to begin work on a new and vast array of applications for the popular multifunction mobile phone.

The new iPhone OS 3.0 and software development kit (SDK) includes more than 1,000 APIs (application programming interfaces, In-App Purchases; peer-to-peer connections, a new application interface for accessories, access to iPod music library, and new connections to Google Maps.

Apple made the new version of iPhone OS 3.0 available to developers to begin their preliminary work on new applications, ensuring a full set of new entertainment, informational and productivity applications are available when the OS becomes generally available this summer.

Mobile applications are among the fastest growing segments of the channel and application development community. Following Apple’s lead, other smartphone manufacturers and software platforms have or plan to launch application stores. Those vendors include Microsoft, Nokia, Palm and BlackBerry.

>> CHECK OUT: 10 Nifty Mobile Business Applications

Apple, which started the mobile app trend with the iPhone, now boasts more than 50,000 application developers globally and 25,000 apps in its online iPhone store.

Several thin client and streaming application vendors, including Wyse Technology and Symantec, are developing applications to bring PC desktop apps to the iPhone and other mobile devices. The new iPhone OS 3.0 will likely make those enterprise and SMB apps more adaptable to vendors, solution providers and end users.

The new iPhone OS 3.0 includes several new features and capabilities that will extend the uses of the iPhone for personal and professional use. They include:

— in-App Purchases: The linking of the phone to Web services applications for transparent and seamless payment for online services and purchases.

— Cut, Copy & Paste: The ability to do simple cutting and pasting of data from documents and Web sites on the iPhone. Common feature on PC was previously unavailable on the iPhone.

— Peer-to-Peer Connectivity: Leveraging Bluetooth technology, the new OS will give users the ability to connect to another iPhone to browse files, music and videos.

— Push Notifications: A business function that allows enterprises to more easily send information and notices to subscribers and users.

For more detail on the iPhone OS 3.0 or to join the beta developer program, go to the Apple developer site.

According to the Channel Insider 2009 Market Pulse Report, smartphones and Web-capable mobile devices and support for mobile solutions are in the highest demand among end users.