updated 09:20 am EDT, Fri May 8, 2009
Rumors of a magnetometer in the next iPhone may have been confirmed, following leaked screenshots of the new iPhone debugging menus. Posted images show a new compass option, which can be turned on and off within General Location settings. Indications of a digital compass were first reported in April, when configuration files were observed to have references such as "auto-focus camera," "Voice Control" and "magnetometer."
Apple is expected to release the final version of the iPhone 3.0 firmware this summer, and one or more matching devices shortly after June's WWDC event. An apparently accelerating schedule for beta firmware may indicate that Apple intends to release iPhone 3.0 on or around WWDC, possibly as a means of circumventing the problems experienced during the iPhone 3G launch last July. In attempting to release new hardware, firmware and the MobileMe online service simulataneously, Apple overburdened networks and left many code problems unresolved.