iPhone 3G 2.0 Software Rumor Roundup

This is it. We're in the home stretch. 5th round, time's almost up, and Steve Jobs is slapping on the arm bar. In 4 days we find out if Apple scores the submission, the two-peat for smartphone (even gadget) undisputed heavyweight title, or if they gas out with their mostly evolutionary, not so much revolutionary, next generation handset.

Saturday we mentioned one big change: the fast 3G data chip. Yesterday it was GPS. Today we're tackling the 2.0 Firmware update.

What is this and why should you want it? Read on after the break!

The original iPhone shipped with firmware 1.0, but was rapidly updated a number of times, topping out at 1.1.4. Many times there were significant features added with these updates, such as customizable home pages, Google Maps location services, the WiFi Music Store, and many more.

But we ain't seen anything like 2.0. The big news?

Enterprise functionality, including Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync, 802.1x secure WiFi networking, Cisco VPN, remote wipe, and other big business demanded features have been baked right in (which will also benefit other large institutions like Universities).

MobileMe integration across iPhone, Windows, and Mac, for "Exchange for the Rest of Us".

New settings, like enabling/disabling 3G, choosing push vs. manual data sync, parental controls, secure erase, and others will increase the amount control we have over our devices.

The built-in applications are getting tweaked as well. Mail will be getting mass-move and mass-delete, and PowerPoint and iWork previews. You'll be able to geo-tag your photos and save images from email and the web.

And last but the opposite of least: the App Store, where everything from games, to business productivity tools, to educational references, to even Jobs-doesn't-know-what will be available right from the iPhone's home screen (more on the App Store as we continue counting down).

And the best news? On July 11th, the 2.0 firmware will not only be available on the iPhone 3G, but as a free download to all original iPhone (2G) owners as well!

If you don't mind getting your drool on, Apple has a Guided Tour flaunting showing off all the 2.0 "what's new" goodness. Check it out!

I know I can't wait. What new feature are you most looking forward to?