Apple Launches its Much Anticipated iPhone
January 9, 2007 2:19 PM
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Steve Jobs says Apple's changing the world again
MacWorld 2007 -- Apple today officially unveiled its iPhone which, as many had been hoping for, is quite a revolutionary product indeed. Steve Jobs heralded the iPhone as an industry-changing device that throws out old assumptions and conventions and brings in the new. With all of its features and design cues, the iPhone should prove to be an extremely hot device.
The largest feature on the plate for the iPhone is clearly its display. The iPhone packs a 3.5-inch display with a resolution density of 160 dpi, one of the sharpest screens in the industry. In fact, the screen takes up virtually the entire surface area of the iPhone. There's no keyboard or direction stick on the iPhone, just a big screen. The iPhone operates entirely on touch-screen technology and is something that Apple had been working on for a long time.
last reported that Apple had submitted
filings with the FCC for touch screen technology involving intuitive gestures
. Many assumed that the technology
would be used in a next-generation iPod
, but today it made its debut on the iPhone.
Users are able to navigate the iPhone by using a virtual keyboard that's smart enough to know when accidental tapping occurs. The screen also takes in gestures such as scrolling, pinching and stretching motions. The screen itself is also smart. The user interface automatically changes from portrait mode to landscape mode depending on how a user holds the phone. The virtual keyboard can be called up and tuckd away at any time.
Music is very much part of the iPhone and Apple does not disappoint. Integrated into the iPhone are all the usual iPod features that many users have come to love. Music and iTunes syncing, album artwork support, smart playlist features and, most importantly, movie playback. Steve Jobs demonstrated the iPhone playing back Pirates of the Caribbean 2 in full screen.
In terms of applications, the iPhone supports the usual set of smart-phone features: email, text messaging, web support, address books, photo, video and music playback. However, the iPhone uses smaller versions of applications already used on its Macs. Jobs demonstrated browsing the Internet on the iPhone using Safari -- full websites loaded very quickly and in full detail. Lest there be any doubt, the audience was definitely impressed by the iPhone's speed and rendering capabilities. Users can even pinch the screen to shrink webpages on the fly to fit the screen. Email capabilities are in full force too with support for such sophisticated features as full HTML email support and even IMAP supported through Yahoo! email.
The iPhone's operating system is based on a slim version of Apple's powerful OS X. One of the neatest features on the iPhone is the support for widgets -- the same tiny utility-type applications found on OS X's Dashboard. Jobs demonstrated navigating Google's virtual satellite mapping system and how easy it was to get around applications and widgets on the iPhone's touch-sensitive navigation system. Of course, being OS X, all graphical animations and transitions were silky smooth.
Jobs indicated that the iPhone was also a workhorse. The unit can talk for roughly 5 hours and play back audio for 16 hours. There will be two GSM models released, a 4GB model and an 8GB model, for sale at an introductory price of $499 and $599. As
previously reported, the
iPhone is confirmed today to be a Cingular Wireless exclusive product
. The demo iPhone that Jobs showed already had a Cingular log on it.
Screen size: 3.5-inches
Screen resolution: 320 by 480 at 160 ppi
Input method: Multi-touch
Operating System: OS X
Storage: 4GB or 8GB
GSM: Quad-band (MHz: 850, 900, 1800, 1900)
Wireless data: Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) + EDGE + Bluetooth 2.0
Camera: 2.0 megapixels
Battery: Up to 5 hours Talk / Video / Browsing; Up to 16 hours Audio playback
Dimensions: 4.5 x 2.4 x 0.46 inches / 115 x 61 x 11.6mm
Weight: 4.8 ounces / 135 grams
The iPhone will begin shipping in June of this year.
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1/10/2007 9:24:16 PM
Today at a small luncheon meeting at the 2007 International CES show in Las Vegas, Cingular's Glenn Lurie, President of National Sales Distribution, briefed the press on further details regarding the new Apple iPhone and the business arrangements between Apple and Cingular. An Apple representative was originally scheduled to appear at the meeting, but turned out to be a no-show.
Cingular stated that the iPhone saga started nearly two years ago when Steve Jobs placed a call to Cingular's CEO, Stan Sigman. Apple at the time was looking to further the relationship that the two companies established while working together with Motorola on the original iTunes cable phone, the ROKR E1. Apple supposedly tested Cingular a bit early on to see how well it could keep a secret, and apparently as of the launch at Macworld yesterday, only 3 people from Cingular had ever actually seen the device. Cingular's Lurie stated that they were put in the unusual position of having to gain approval for the Apple deal from the Cingular board of directors while not being able to actually show its members any hardware.
This hints at just how much Apple was, and remains today, in the driver's seat when it came to a potential iPhone deal. While Cingular does have a multi-year exclusive deal with Apple to sell the device, Apple has been responsible for defining the phone's specifications, setting the price, and building the user interface. Apple is also responsible for the decision to not allow any 3rd party applications to be installed on the iPhone, as well as the decision to not include 3G data support in the initial iPhone. The fact that there will only be only on-screen AT&T or AT&T/Cingular branding, and no such markings on the exterior of the iPhone, also shows that this really is Apple's baby, and that Cingular is just happy to have been invited to tag along for the ride.
The iPhone will be available at Apple and Cingular retail stores, online, and, at Apple's discretion, possibly even eventually offered at large retailers such as Walmart. The only way to obtain one will be to enter a new 2 year service agreement with Cingular, or to extend an existing agreement for 2 years. The device will be locked, and Cingular's Lurie joked that Apple's engineers would be looking at ways to prevent unlocking once the device is released, something that would not be all that surprising.
Cingular hinted that they might offer iPhone specific data plans, though they gave no specifics. They promised more information when the release date gets closer. When asked about that release date, and whether or not it was a firm June date, Glenn Lurie stated that Apple was fully in control of the timeline, seeming to say that if there are delays, it will not be Cingular's doing.
Glenn Lurie stated that the iPhone would likely be offered with a 1 year warranty, similar to current iPods. First tier tech support for the iPhone will come from cross-trained Cingular reps, with higher level iPod related issues being passed on to Apple personnel.
When asked about the very high price point set by Apple for the handset, Lurie asked the audience how many of them owned phones, how many had smartphones, and how many additionally had an iPod. He then suggested that it was not that much of a stretch to pay $200 above the cost of a Palm Treo 750 to get the added iPod functionality in one device. That claim seems a bit weak, however, when you consider that the iPhone by many definitions is not truly a smartphone and will not be able to offer the same functionality found in most such devices - thanks largely to Apple's decision to keep 3rd party developers out of the box. Lurie did reiterate that the iPhone is primarily an iPod. Steve Jobs himself called it the best iPod ever. It seems more fair to look at the iPhone as an iPod with added phone functionality, much as how cameraphones are primarily phones with camera features added and not nearly as capable when taking photos as are dedicated cameras. Especially when you consider that the iPhone will not even support over the air music downloading. All media must be side-loaded to the device, just as is the case with the current iPod offerings.
No matter what its limitations might turn out to be, however, it seems certain that at least the initial iPhone will be a huge success due to Apple's brand loyalty. While Lurie was restricted from making any comments on 2007 sales projections for the device, Apple's Jobs stated that they expect 10M unit sales in 2008.
"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997
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