Thursday, 11 January 2007

The iPhone

Apple CEO Steve Jobs has launched the new iPhone (anticipated by 'industry insiders' since 2002) during his keynote lecture at the MacWorld Conference and Expo in San Francisco. According to my local paper, in an article syndicated from The Times:

"The iPhone was unveiled yesterday by Apple's polo-necked co-founder, Steve Jobs, ... to near-hysterical cheering from a crowd of 4000 Mac enthusiasts, who had been expecting either an Apple phone or a wide-screen iPod, not both."

The new iPhone, which Jobs says will 'reinvent' the telecommunications sector, got its media soft-launch in Time magazine, in an article you can read here, which describes the genesis of the phone as a mixture of Apple wanting to get onto the tablet PC wave and people hating the little buttons on their cell phones.

The iPhone abandons buttons for a touchscreen, which they will be hoping will prove as popular as the iPod click-wheel. The iPhone combines internet access, iPod functions, a built-in 2 MG digital camera and video playback features with the ability to make calls, and check your voicemail in a fandangled manner.

The phone is being released in the States this year, but won't make it to Asia-Pacific until 2008. The Time article points out a few glitches - you can't download music directly from iTunes, there aren't any games on it, you can't synchronise it wirelessly with a computer, and you need to be signed up to a cell-phone provider.

This last point is kinda important. As Jack Schofield notes on the Guardian's tech blog,

"However, in the US, you will only be able to get the phone from Cingular, apparently on a two-year contract. Frankly, if I was going to sign a two year contract with a UK network, I'd expect to get a $600/£300 smart phone free."

Schofield's bigger point however is about how Cingular has had to conform to Apple's requirements in order to get this bit of business, and what the wider implications of this might be ...

Image from the Time article

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