Wondering what the experience is going to be like next week when Apple makes its long-awaited iPhone Software 2.0 (see my preview) available? Well, wonder no more: I've gotten my hands on near-final versions of iPhone Software 2.0 and the Windows and PC versions of iTunes 7.7, and can show you the install experience as well as some of the MobileMe and Microsoft Exchange integration pieces. Let's jump right in.

Note: This is a first look only and should not be construed as a review of any kind. I will be reviewing iPhone Software 2.0, the iPhone 3G, and Apple MobileMe separately in the weeks ahead.

Upgrading to iPhone Software 2.0

You install the iPhone Software 2.0 upgrade via iTunes as you do any other iPhone upgrade. (Note that iTunes 7.7 or higher is required.) This is a multi-step and time-consuming process but is largely hands-off.


Meanwhile, on the iPhone

Once the iPhone Software 2.0 upgrade is loaded and installed on the iPhone, you'll notice a few obvious changes. There's a new App Store icon on the home screen, for example, and the Mail application includes prominent links to Microsoft Exchange and MobileMe account types.

Some iTunes 7.7 changes

Though some of these features are not available yet in the prerelease Windows version of iTunes 7.7, on the Mac version, you can see some interesting differences. The old iPod Games entry in the Source list has changed to App Store, for example, though selecting it now, before the July 11 launch, displays only whatever iPod Games you've purchased. There's also the rumored feature where you can use your iPhone (or iPod touch) as a remote.

iPhone configured for Exchange

iPhone configured for MobileMe

App Store

iPhone and iPod remotes

Final thoughts

Obviously, we'll need to wait for the public availability of the Apple's iTunes-based App Store to fully appreciate what's happening in this update. But even this early peek provides an intriguing glimpse into what's coming. (For example, if you have a .Mac account, you can configure it via the MobileMe functionality on the iPhone.) I'll have a lot more to say about this impressive upgrade in the weeks ahead. So far, so good.