The news out of Apple’s WWDC 2009 came so quickly that our News column has barely been able to keep up with it all. Here’s a quick summary of what was announced, along with links to our full articles:
WWDC 2009 Keynote in Brief: Learn about new MacBook Pro models, the $29 Snow Leopard upgrade, iPhone OS 3.0 and iPhone 3GS announcements in our text play-by-play from the event. See over 100 pictures in our photo gallery, as well. Accessory problems twice interrupted the Keynote.
iPhone 3GS Announced: A weird name for a largely iterative upgrade to the iPhone 3G, the iPhone 3GS features a 3MP still camera, 640x480 video camera, voice controls, twice the storage capacity (16/32GB), improved responsiveness, and modestly improved battery performance. It hits June 19 for $199/$299.
iPhone 3GS Upgrade Fees: AT&T and Apple are hitting “early upgraders” with $200 to $400 fees if they want the iPhone 3GS, depending on when they purchased the iPhone 3G or other AT&T phones.
iPhone 3GS Data Plans Announced: AT&T, Rogers, and O2 are amongst companies announcing plans with no changes for prior 3G service offerings, but potentially higher charges for features such as MMS and PC/Mac Internet tethering.
iPhone 3GS Gets Enhanced Remote Support, New Headset: Apple has updated the iPhone 3GS headphone port with support for the Earphones with Remote and Mic, which it includes along with the device.
iPhone 3GS Radiation Data Released: The iPhone 3GS puts out less potentially dangerous radiation at maximum in five of six measures than its predecessor, but more in the sixth.
iPhone OS 3.0 Coming June 17: Free for iPhone and iPhone 3G users, $10 for iPod touch owners, it adds a variety of new software features to every iPhone OS device, and unlocks new hardware features in certain devices as well. iTunes video downloading and Find My iPhone are newly announced features, atop the massive list we’ve been compiling since March.
Rogers Wireless has revealed its pricing for the iPhone 3GS in Canada, via Keith McArthur, the company’s official rep on Twitter. The pricing is mostly consistent with the U.S., with the 16GB model offered for $199 CAD with a three-year contract and the 32GB running $299 CAD with the same terms. The 8GB iPhone 3G will be sold for $99 CAD, again with a three-year voice and data plan. As before, the phones will only be offered through Rogers/Fido and its selected partners. In addition, the company plans to reintroduce the $30 monthly 6GB iPhone data plan starting today, but is only offering it for a limited time. The iPhone 3GS will be released in Canada on June 19.
O2 has announced its pricing and plans for the iPhone 3GS in the UK. New or qualifying customers choosing an 18-month contract will be able to purchase a 16GB model for between £87 and £185, depending on the tariff chosen, while the 32GB model will range from £175 to £275. On a 24-month contract, the 16GB model will be free with all except the £35 tariff—it runs £87 with that plan—while the 32GB model will be priced from £97 to £175. For Pay & Go users, the 8GB iPhone 3G will be £343, with the 16GB iPhone 3GS running £440, and the 32GB model costing £538.
The company has also revealed its pricing on tethering plans for the iPhone, which will run £15 on a month-by-month basis for 3GB of data, or £30 a month for 10GB; customers will be able to purchase extra data at the rate of £5 per 1GB. Business customers may sign up for 24-month tethering Bolt On plans, with the 3GB running £10 a month and a 9GB plan costing £20 a month. On a month-to-month basis, these plans will run business customers £13 and £24, respectively. Tethering plans, as well as the iPhone 3GS, will be available from June 19. [via Macworld UK]
Apple has posted a new reference to an iDisk application for the iPhone and iPod touch on its website. Found under “More Features” in Apple.com’s iPhone section, the listing descibes an iDisk application which will allow MobileMe users to view files from their iDisk on their mobile device. The application will support viewing of Office, iWork ‘09, PDF, video, and other files, as well as share files with others via email, and access the Public folders of other MobileMe members. According to the text, the iDisk app will be available as a free download from the App Store; a release date is not mentioned, but may be planned to coincide with the release iPhone OS 3.0.
Announced and demoed during yesterday’s Keynote Address, ngmoco has released its new game Star Defense for the iPhone and iPod touch. Star Defense is a tower defense-style game, set on different worlds, which can be rotated and zoomed via multi-touch gestures. Features include 5 classes of towers, 15 total weapons, each with unique attributes, both Campaign Mode and asynchronous multiplayer in Challenge Mode, seven distinct worlds, and three levels of difficulty. Star Defense is available now from the App Store and sells for $6.
As just three of what will most likely turn out to be a number of quiet changes to the iPhone 3GS hardware from its iPhone 3G predecessor, Apple has disclosed details of changes to the iPhone 3G’s headphone port, headset, and radiation emissions, which offer mixed news for users of the upcoming 3GS model.
Since 2007, Apple has included the iPhone Stereo Headset with all iPhone and iPhone 3G devices sold worldwide, a pair of earbuds with an integrated microphone and single-button multifunction controller that can accept and reject calls, as well as pausing audio playback and skipping tracks. In 2008, Apple introduced the Earphones with Remote and Mic, adding volume controls to the remote control and changing the microphone to a version that sounded less natural, exhibiting some sibilance but also greater intelligibility. Due to a headphone port hardware change to support the additional remote volume control functionality, the new Earphones worked fully only with late 2008 iPod models, and were sold separately. According to Apple, they are now included in the iPhone 3GS package, replacing the iPhone Stereo Headset, and signaling that the iPhone 3GS has received the updated headphone port found on the latest iPods.
Additionally, just-released test-result documents submitted by Apple to the FCC show differences in the iPhone 3G S’s tested radiation emissions relative to its predecessor. A breakdown of the highest reported SAR values in three different broadcasting bands follows; lower numbers are better, and the FCC’s limit is 1.6 W/kg on any given measure.
Part 22 (824 - 849 MHz): 3G - Head: 0.506 W/kg, Body: 1.03 W/kg. 3G S - Head: 0.57 W/kg, Body: 0.67 W/kg.
Part 24 (1850 - 1910 MHz): 3G - Head: 1.38 W/kg, Body: 0.521 W/kg. 3G S - Head: 1.19 W/kg, Body: 0.33 W/kg
Part 15 (2400 – 2483.5 MHz): 3G - Head: 0.779 W/kg, Body: 0.088 W/kg. 3G S - Head: 0.52 W/kg, Body: 0.06 W/kg.
These numbers appear to indicate that the iPhone 3Gs puts out lower maximum radiation levels when broadcasting in the 1850-1910 and 2400-2483.5 MHz frequency ranges, higher when near the head in 824-849 MHz, and lower near the body in that range, as compared with the iPhone 3G.
AT&T is offering its remaining stock of 16GB iPhone 3G units for $149 with a two-year agreement, according to the Boy Genius Report. Citing an AT&T insider, the report speculates that since Apple is only offering the 8GB model via its website, 16GB units may be available on a “while supplies last” basis. Apple didn’t mention the 16GB model during today’s Keynote Address, suggesting that these discounted units are not part of its long-term strategy for the iPhone.
During a presentation focused on re-highlighting iPhone OS 3.0 features that had previously been demonstrated at an Apple SDK event, Dock Connector accessory failures twice interrupted an extended look at OS 3.0 development efforts to date. Following smooth and occasionally impressive presentations by Gameloft, Airstrip, ScrollMotion, Tom Tom, and Ngmoco, an educational company called Pasco demonstrated what was to be a science teaching application with an iPhone OS 3.0 balloon-monitoring sensor accessory, which failed to perform during the demonstration; subsequently, co-developers Line6 and Planet Waves were scuttled in a presentation of a software and accessory-based guitar and amplifier control system when the accessory failed to work.
Though the developers made light of the accessory failures to some audience applause and laughter, Apple Senior Vice-President Scott Forstall—a participant in the first presentation—noted that the problems seemed to be correlated to the number of people watching, and said that the software had worked properly during rehearsals. Combined with problems iLounge’s editors have noted with recently released accessories and their related iPhone applications, the demonstration failures raise questions as to the user experiences that will follow when broadened Dock Connector accessory support is introduced in the iPhone OS 3.0 release this month.
In conjunction with Apple, AT&T today announced details of its rate plans for the iPhone 3GS, which will continue to offer “unlimited data” access but without any promises of support for tethering or multi-media messaging (MMS). The iPhone 3GS rate plan will cost $30 per month, with speed performance varying by area—an Apple press release notes that higher-speed 7.2Mb/s HSDPA will be offered “where available” without adding additional information. Tethering, a feature that enables the iPhone 3GS to work as a modem for a Mac or PC, is supported by the iPhone OS 3.0 but has been given no date of availability by AT&T, while MMS support will be coming in “late Summer,” with no clear details on pricing. AT&T is the exclusive carrier of the iPhone 3GS in the United States, as it has been for the original iPhone and iPhone 3G; users have complained about slow data speeds, dropped calls, activation computer issues, and other aspects of the AT&T experience during and after both prior launches.
AT&T has announced that the upgrade prices for iPhone 3GS will be $399 (16GB) or $499 (32GB) for customers who are still under contract after purchasing the prior-generation iPhone 3G, a $200 premium over the “standard” iPhone 3GS prices of $199 and $299. Using a pricing configurator found on Apple’s BuyiPhone.Apple.com web site, users can find out their individual upgrade prices based on the remaining length of their AT&T contracts, which may be higher or lower depending on the date of their prior upgrades. Users must commit to a new two-year contract; an $18 Activation fee and a $18 Early Upgrade fee are also assessed.
Updated: Some readers have reported upgrade price quotes of $599 (16GB) or $699 (32GB), which may be based on the length of their status as AT&T customers, and their more recent purchase of iPhone 3G hardware.
In addition to the previously disclosed features of iPhone OS 3.0, Apple today announced that the software—officially launching June 17 worldwide—will now include two new features that were previously rumored: Find My iPhone and direct-to-device video downloads. Find My iPhone relies upon a subscription to Apple’s MobileMe service to let users automatically create sound and text alerts on their lost devices, helping them to either find the devices themselves or inform their finders as to their presence and return details. Users can send out noises that are audible even if the iPhone’s ringer switch has been turned off; they can also completely wipe the iPhone from afar, and use the integrated GPS functionality to locate the device’s current position on a map.
iPhone OS 3.0 also adds video downloads, a feature that enables the iPhone to wirelessly download movies, TV shows, and other video content without being connected to a computer. The feature also adds audiobook download support to the iPhone’s integrated iTunes Store for the first time, and permits direct-from-device video rentals as well.
In an effort to increase the affordability of the iPhone family, Apple has announced that the black 8GB iPhone 3G has dropped in price to $99, following the introduction of the more powerful iPhone 3GS model today. It is unknown whether any changes have been made to the $99 iPhone 3G model as it has fallen in price; Apple occasionally makes undisclosed tweaks to its devices or their pack-ins coincident with price drops. We will update this story with additional details as they become available.
Apple today officially announced the iPhone 3GS, the sequel to the iPhone 3G, with a June 19 initial release date. The added “S” stands for “speed,” a reference to the device’s faster processing and potential data transfer speeds. Available in four models—16GB white or black ($199 each), and 32GB white or black ($299 each)—the iPhone 3GS preserves much of the look and feel of the iPhone 3G, adding the following new features.
* A 3.0 Megapixel still camera with VGA video recording capabilities, autofocus, 10cm macro distance mode, auto white-balance, and tap-to-focus features. This camera promises to take more detailed, sharper still pictures than before, with improved low-light performance, as well as enabling users to create and edit videos directly from their iPhones for instant sharing over email, MobileMe, YouTube, or MMS.
* HSDPA 7.2Mb/s transfer speeds. Apple notes that this feature will only be “where available from AT&T later this year,” which is to say not everywhere in the United States, and questionable elsewhere outside the United States.
* OpenGL ES 2.0 graphics acceleration.
* Voice control, allowing users to dial out by saying the person’s name or speaking the numbers. The feature also works for audio playback, letting users play music by artist, album or playlist, activate the Genius feature by saying “play more songs like this,” play, pause, activate shuffle, skip tracks, and ask “What’s playing right now?”
* Digital compass with an accompanying Compass application and Maps integration, so it automatically orients any map to the direction you are facing.
* VoiceOver voice prompting and accessibility features, including Universal Zoom, and Mono Audio so that left and right channel audio can be blended into both earphones.
* Improved battery life, with 9 hours of Wi-Fi internet browsing, 10 hours of video, 30 hours of audio playback, and 12 hours of 2G talk time, compared to 6, 7, 24, 10, and 5 hours, respectively, on the iPhone 3G. 3G talk time remains 5 hours.
* Nike+ support, following the same included app and $19 Sensor accessory model as the iPod touch 2G.
The iPhone 3GS will roll out in the US/Canada/France/Germany/Italy/Spain/Switzerland/UK on June 19, then a week later with six more countries. Rollouts will continue thereafter into a number of other countries over the Summer. Prices listed above are based upon qualified new customers and upgrades, and will be higher in the case for users who aren’t qualified—for instance, AT&T will offer users who aren’t eligible for the cheaper pricing the iPhone 3GS for $399 for 16GB models and $499 for 32GB units.
The iPhone 3G S has been announced, and we have all the details and pictures for you. See our Flickr collection of 100 images here, and the transcript by clicking on the title of this story!
[Editor’s Note: We’ve heavily pruned the gallery since this article was initially posted, reducing the total number of images to better spotlight the good ones.]
In traditional fashion, Apple has temporarily taken its online Store offline for the duration of its Keynote event, a step which almost invariably sees the addition of new products to the digital storefront. Apple’s online Store typically relaunches immediately following the event with new items highlighted prominently on its main page, as well as on other pages of the Apple.com web site.
Photos direct from the WWDC 2009 Keynote are now appearing on iLounge’s Flickr photostream, and will continue to appear during the keynote. Initial banners spotted on site reference the Grand Central multi-core processor technology found in Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard, and the new APIs found in iPhone OS 3.0. We’ll have plenty more to say and show you over the course of the next few hours!
Updated: Visit Live.iLounge.com for live updates from the event now!
iLounge’s editors have arrived in San Francisco, California to provide live coverage of Apple’s 2009 Worldwide Developers Conference, which kicks off Monday morning at 10:00 a.m. Pacific Time with a Keynote Address from Apple Senior Vice President of Worldwide Product Marketing Phil Schiller and other company executives. Expected during the address is the announcement of a release date for iPhone OS 3.0, as well as the introduction of the third-generation iPhone; a ship date announcement for the company’s upcoming Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard release is also likely.
Visit the iLounge.com homepage for our live coverage starting at 10 a.m; we will have a special page set up to provide live keynote coverage. Continue reading for more on-site pictures.
Developer “DVD” Jon Johansen has posted a brief article explaining the Palm Pre’s unsupported “Media Sync” feature, which allows it to appear and sync as an iPod through iTunes. According to information provided to Johansen, the Pre’s Mass Storage interface identifies itself as an iPod, enabling it to trick iTunes and sync. Johansen notes, however, that the root USB node still identifies itself as a Palm Pre, meaning it should be fairly easy for Apple to disable the syncing feature. As of iTunes 8.2, the Pre can still sync with iTunes, but given the short amount of time between the discovery of the Pre’s sync mode and the software’s release, it is extremely unlikely that Apple had time to make the necessary changes in order to block the device.
This week’s edition of iLounge’s weekly newsletter, iPodweek, will be available later today. iPodweek is a weekly summary of the best iPod news, reviews, and feature articles we’ve published, and it also features giveaways and iPod accessory discount offers from various companies and retailers. There is still plenty of time to sign up for this week’s edition, if you haven’t done so already — just use the simple form below to submit your email address.
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Belkin has introduced its new Micra and Fuse Cases for the fourth-generation iPod nano. The Micra Glam case offers a shiny, sparkling finish by embedding glass beads inside the clear case, while the Micra Dusk case offers a smoky charcoal tint, subtly changing the color of the nano inside, and the Micra Chex case adds a white checkerboard pattern to the device. Every Micra case is made from polycarbonate, includes a ClearScreen Overlay screen protector, offers open access to all ports and controls, and sells for $20, or $25 for a 2-Pack. The Fuse Case blends a matte black polycarbonate bottom with a colorful, glossy polycarbonate top piece, adding a paint drip design on the back reminiscent of Apple’s nanochromatic advertisements. Available in pink/black, yellow/black, red/black, clear/black, purple/black, and blue/black, the Fuse Case sells for $25. Belkin’s new Fuse and Micra Cases for iPod nano 4G are available now.