Speculation on the follow-up, the "3G iPhone", has
been building ever since the first generation model was revealed -- but things
really started getting a bit uproarious over the past few months. Case makers began
leaking dimensions for the upcoming phone, supposed
"leaked" pictures of the phone were drooled over by nearly ever
gadget site on the web, and leaked
firmware was picked over with a fine-tooth comb.
Apple today finally announced its next generation crowd
pleaser. Apple is looking to address the shortcoming of its first effort this
time around and further expand its popularity (Jobs previously stated that he
wants 10 million iPhones sold within the first 18 months – it already surpassed
the 6 million mark during its first year).
First things firsts – the worse kept secret about the second
generation iPhone is its 3G capabilities. The first gen model was widely
criticized for its slow EDGE cellular broadband capabilities. Apple is now matching
the competition with the iPhone 3G. The iPhone 3G has tapered
look with thinner edges, solid metal buttons, a black plastic backing, flush headphone jack [thank
goodness], and vastly improved audio.
The faster cellular connectivity of the iPhone 3G allow for download
speeds nearly as quick as WiFi and speeds that are 2.5 times as fast as EDGE. The iPhone 3G also sports better battery life than
its predecessor. The iPhone 3G now supports 2G talk time of 10 hours, 3G talk time
of 5 hours, 7 hours of video, 24 hours of audio, and 5-6 hours of high-speed web
Another big addition is fully integrated GPS tracking.
IPhone 3G users can now get positioning information from WiFi, cell towers, and
now the hardware GPS.
Apple also confirmed early speculation that price breaks
would be in store for the new lineup of iPhones. The Cupertino,
California-based company confirmed today that the new 8GB iPhone will be priced
at $199 with a new two-year contract when it launches July 11, while the 16GB iPhone (which will be
available in white at a later date) will set you back $299 under the same terms.
The iPhone 3G will be rolled out in 22 countries on July 11 (Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany,
Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand,
Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and the U.S.).
Apple first announced the Software Developer Kit (SDK) for
the iPhone in early March along with the 2.0 firmware update. The SDK allows
third-party manufacturers to create their own applications for the iPhone and
iPod touch and upload them to the new iTunes App Store.
Developers are charged a $99 fee to publish each application
to the iTunes App Store -- Apple also takes a 30% cut of the purchase price for
each application sold to customers to cover hosting and processing fees. For
generous developers that provide their apps for free on the iTunes App Store,
the aforementioned hosting and processing fees are dropped.
Jobs noted that applications that are less than 10MB in size
will be downloadable through the cell network – applications larger than 10MB
will have to be downloaded through a WiFi connection of through the desktop
iTunes application. Automatic updates for applications will also be pushed
through to the device.
A number of applications were on display that were developed
using the SDK including SEGA’s Super
Monkey Ball (which will be available for $9.99 from the iTunes App Store),
an integrated eBay tool complete with bidding and search, and a news reader
provided for free by the Associated Press.
The latter tool will send local news to you based on your location, save images,
video, and text for offline viewing, and even allow you submit news as it
The 2.0 software -- which is available not only for the iPhone
3G, but also to the original iPhone and iPod touch -- adds a number of new
features to make the devices more corporate friendly. These include push
email/calendar/contacts between an iPhone/Mac/PC via MobileMe, auto-discovery, global
address lookup, Cisco IPsec VPN, Certificates and Identities, WPA2/802.11x, and
Other features include contacts search, bulk delete/move for
emails, a new scientific calculator, and the ability to save images to the
Photo Library. Microsoft PowerPoint documents are now supported as well.
IPhone users will receive the 2.0 software update for free,
while iPod touch users will have to pay $9.99. The update will be available