RealTime IT News

iPhone 3.0 E-mails Live Forever: Report

Owners of iPhones running on OS 3.0 are discovering today that there's no way to completely delete e-mails from their phones due to a glitch in a new search feature.

Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) last month released version 3.0 of the iPhone's software, including the new Spotlight search feature that enables users to quickly to find apps, notes, e-mails, calendar events, contacts, music and other media files.

According to reports, the Mail app in iPhone and iPod Touch devices doesn't actually delete e-mail entirely because they can be retrieved using Spotlight.

Apple had not returned calls for comment by press time.

Matt Janssen, who first exposed the bug at the Web site Cult of Mac, created a video to demonstrate the security flaw. In it, he said that he has been able to use Spotlight to find e-mails that are "over three or four months old."

"These messages are still on the iPod somewhere, even after you delete them, but you can't find them without searching for them," Janssen said. "This is a security issue, a bug, and hopefully Apple will fix it in some later releases."

It's not yet clear whether Apple will make a change to the behavior of its software with a future iPhone OS update. Apple has already signaled that it's moving quickly roll out the 3.1 update, issuing the iPhone OS 3.1 SDK just a few weeks after the official launch of 3.0. Industry observers expect the 3.1 update to be made available to handset owners in September.

News of iPhone's lingering e-mails comes on the heels of reports that some iPhone 3G owners are complaining about spotty Wi-Fi connections since installing 3.0.

Apple isn't in a position to be complacent when it comes to mobile software, which has emerged as a key differentiator among the major smartphone brands. And with other wireless handset and software makers aiming for the dominant position in the sector, competition in mobile features has never been greater.

Google's (NASDAQ: GOOG) open-source Android is gaining momentum with two upcoming updates, dubbed "Donut" and "Éclair," which are expected to introduce greater ties to social networking and which will likely coincide with a flurry of Android-powered smartphones coming this year.

Application marketplaces like Apple's App Store are also a critical area of focus among smartphone vendors. Palm (NASDAQ: PALM) recently opened to developers its webOS software -- the mobile OS powering its Pre smartphone -- in a move to ramp up its new App Catalog application marketplace. On the BlackBerry front, Research In Motion (NASDAQ: RIMM) just partnered with Verizon to open an app store later this year based on that carrier's network APIs.