Following literally years of speculation and rumors, Apple CEO Steve Jobs today introduced the iPhone, a sleek all-in-one device combining a mobile phone, widescreen iPod, and internet communicator. The iPhone boasts a 3.5-inch widescreen display and runs a version of Apple’s Mac OS X operating system with an innovative new user interface for using just a finger to control the device on-screen.
It comes in two capacities—4GB and 8GB—and includes support for quad-band GSM, EDGE, 802.11b/g Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.0 EDR wireless technologies. The iPhone also sports a built-in 2 megapixel camera and will work with Macs or PCs. Apple’s Jobs confirmed that the exclusive carrier for the iPhone will be Cingular.
Jobs said the phone is 11.6mm thin—thinner than any smartphone available, including the Motorola Q and Samsung BlackJack. The iPhone has built-in sensors—an accelerometer, a proximity sensor and an ambient light sensor—that serve to automatically rotate the display from portrait to landscape, and to turn off the display to save power and prevent inadvertent touches. Battery life is said to be 5 hours for talk time, video or browsing, and 16 hours of audio playback.
The iPhone will be available in June. The 4GB iPhone model will sell for $499, while the 8GB model will sell for $599, each with 2-year contracts. Apple said Cingular will announce service plans for the iPhone before it begins shipping in June. The iPhone will be available in Europe in late 2007, and Asia in 2008. Jobs said he was announcing it today and shipping nearly six months from now because Apple needs FCC approval. The iPhone will sell in Apple Stores and Cingular stores.
Users are able to make calls in several different ways, including simply pointing at a name or number with their finger. The iPhone syncs contacts from a PC, Mac or Internet service, and allows users to easily create conference calls. Another new feature called Visual Voicemail lets users look at a list of their voicemails, choose which messages to listen to, then go directly to those messages without having to sit through prior messages. The iPhone also includes an SMS application with a full QWERTY screen-based touch keyboard to easily send and receive SMS messages in multiple sessions.
In addition to a mobile phone, the iPhone includes a major new iPod portion. The device features touch controls for play-pause, chapter forward-backward and volume. To go along with the iPhone’s widescreen display, there’s now a Cover Flow view for browsing your music library by album cover artwork. (The iPhone is switched automatically to Cover Flow view by simply rotating the device into its landscape position.) Movies and TV shows are obviously also now viewable in a full widescreen view.
The iPhone runs a slimmed-down version of Mac OS X, including email, web browsing, searching and maps. A rich HTML email client fetches email in the background from most POP3 or IMAP mail services and displays photos along with the text. The iPhone comes with a mobile version of Apple’s Safari web browser, allowing users to view web pages as they appear on a PC, and then zoom in to expand any section by simply tapping on iPhone’s multi- touch display with their finger. The iPhone also includes Google Maps for viewing maps, satellite images, traffic information and directions. The iPhone also includes a calendar application and a photo management application, which can be automatically synced with your PC or Mac.
Several iPhone accessories will also be available in June, including a new Bluetooth wireless headset and new pair of iPod-like earbuds with integrated microphone.