On Thursday Apple announced that new iPhone software will be available for preview next week.

According to an email invitation, Apple said it will provide a sneak peek of the iPhone 3.0 software as well as new software kit information that third-party vendors use to create applications for the device.

The event will be hosted on March 17 in the company’s corporate campus in Cupertino, California.

Last summer Apple released its 3G iPhone selling a whopping 6.9 million devices in the September quarter as consumers got their hands on the little gadget. In the December quarter 4.3 million units were sold.

The iPhone is one of Apple's main engines for growth.

In 2008 the company sold over 13.7 million iPhones, beating its 10 million target.

The major contributor to the iPhone's success has been the applications offered through the company's App store, which launched last July which features various programs some free and others not.

Consumers have downloaded more than 500 million applications. More than 15,000 applications are available.

In early afternoon trading on the Nasdaq, Apple shares rose 3.3 percent to $3.07.