Because Apple hasn’t made enough cool stuff with an "i" in front of it

So today at Macworld, Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled something many have described as a long-time coming. The Apple iPhone has been announced.

This little gadget is a tech nerd’s absolute dream. It combines a Video-capable iPod, a cell phone, a digital camera, and a portable email/web sufing device all into one. It runs a full version of Mac OS X (that’s the latest version of the Mac’s operating system for those who don’t get the acronyms) and comes complete with Apple’s safari web browser.

The touch screen is quite big for a device of that size at 3.5 inches, yet the iPhone is only 11.6 millimeters thick. That’s thinner than Samsung’s highly popularized Blackjack device. It’s got full Wi-Fi and cellular network capability built in, and even auto-switches to Wi-Fi the minute it detects a signal.

Sensors built in the iPhone detect when you bring the phone up close to your face and instantly turns off the music, if any is playing. It also instantly switches to landscape format if you turn the device on it’s side.

So you’re probably wondering where the keypad is. Well, there’s no hard keypad on this thing. It’s all touchscreen. The touchscreen is a new technology from Apple, known as a “Multi-touch display” that lets you use your finger (no stylus) to dial numbers, type on a full QWERTY keypad, scroll through songs on the iPod (no click wheel anymore either!). The iPhone simply brings up whatever interface you need, and is apparently senstive enough to react to all of them with little error. Those of you who have iTunes version 7 or above, you probably are aware of the “Cover flow” option when listening to your music. Would be pretty cool to have it on your iPod though, wouldn’t it? iPhone does.

It fully integrates Google maps as well, so you can search for a place on Google, have it bring up that location’s phone number, and then select to instantly call it. When browsing the internet, the phone has full zoom and scroll capabilities, again all from the Multi-Touch display.

You know how you have to listen through all your voicemail in the order you got them on your current phone? The iPhone lets you view them like you would email, so you can see an organized list of who’s called you and pick which ones to listen to first. Pretty nifty.

The built in camera has a 2-megapixel resolution and a pretty wide ranging photo management app, and syncs easily with your PC and/or Mac, something wildly overdue on camera phones.

Aight, that’s a quick overview of all the features this darn thing has, and it’s an awful lot of them. Let’s talk about the nitty gritty details which could make or break the device

A Touch Screen? Won’t that get smudged or smeared or scratched up pretty quickly?
You’d think so. Jobs didn’t have any designers or engineers availible to answer questions about that. Most reports are guessing they utilitized a scratch-resistant materiel for the screen, however, one which doesn’t smudge easily and takes wiping off fingerprints well.

What Wireless Network(s) can I use this with?
That’s another big “iffy” thing at this point. It’s only going to be availible to Cingular Wireless consumers when it releases, instead of being open and configurable to any network as many had hoped. That could cause them to either lose a substantial number of possible buyers who are unwilling to switch from their provider without incurring massive fees. It’ll be VERY interesting to see what Cingular demands of the iPhone, they could place severe restrictions on data transfer rates or just lock features out (they have done so on other phones before).

When can I get this, and how much will it cost?
The iPhone will ship in June, and will cost $599 for an 8-gig model and $499 for a 4-gig model. That is expensive as hell. I would imagine Cingular would offer a discount with a new/renewed contract, but still. Actually, I’m seeing conflicting reports that indicate those above prices are WITH the typical 2-year service contract from Cingular, and others that do not. A lot of people are going to be turned off from that alone, until the price starts dropping. Analysts point out that the Ipod was originally rather expensive for an MP3 player, but as storage technology fell in price and Apple became more efficient at manufacturing them, prices fell, and see no reason to expect anything different.

All in all, a smart move by Apple. All-in-one media devices like the new Blackjack (successor the the Blackberry) which combine internet, email, phone, music/video player, and camera would be a huge threat to their market share, and it looks like the iPhone here is the gadget which can help them maintain that huge market. Not sure how well the business decision to partner with Cingular, rather than release an open phone capable of working with ANY network will go over, but they are the number 1 wireless network in the country, so we’ll have to see if it’s worth it. We’ve got 6 months to see how it plays from here, as it is.

For more info:
Official announcement and details on early look
Reuters (hat tip to Hotair)
Slideshow of images from Macworld announcement at CNet

EDIT: Almost forgot to do THIS!

    • Josh
    • January 10th, 2007

    We were talking about this in ATS today. It’s cool to actually see it up close and personal.I’m loving the internet on my computer! You’re awesome! Have a great day!

    • godzwarrior
    • January 11th, 2007

    dude drop what ur doing and read my blog this minute. seriously.

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