Apple Reinvents The Phone

Apple's CEO Steve Jobs introduces the iPhone, which he says is an iPod, a mobile phone, and an Internet communication device.

January 10, 2007

5 Min Read
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Apple is reinventing the phone, Steve Jobs told an audience of 4,000 at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco on Tuesday.

After months of rumors and conjecture that have kept blogs and chat rooms ablaze with activity, Apple's CEO took the wraps off what he hopes will be the next must-have gadget -- the iPhone.

The phone is being touted as a widescreen iPod, a mobile phone, and an Internet communication device all in one. Calling it a "leapfrog" product, Jobs says it is five years ahead of any other smartphone on the market.

"This is a day I've been looking forward to for two and a half years. Every once in a while a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything," said Jobs, who cited the introduction of the Mac in 1984 and the iPod in 2001. "After today, I don't think anyone will look at these old smartphones the same way again."

The iPhone touts a new user interface that Jobs called a multi-touch display. The screen runs the length of the device, which doesn't have a built-in keypad. The 3.5-inch screen will have 160 pixels per inch for a high resolution.Users will be able to scroll through contact lists, music lists, or movie lists with a swipe of the finger. A keypad will appear on the touch screen when needed, and then disappear when not needed. Pictures can be enlarged by making a backwards pinching motion across the screen. Want to view a horizontal picture in its entirety? Simply turn the device on its side and the picture will appear in a landscape mode.

"The problem today is the keyboards," said Jobs. "They are there whether or not you want them to be there. Controls and buttons are set in plastic so you can't change them for each application or down the road when new advances come out. We are getting rid of the buttons."

The phone, which will begin shipping in June, will run the Mac operating system and use the Safari Web browser. Jobs called software on other smartphones "baby software" and the audience of Mac fans erupted into applause and cheers when he announced that the iPhone will use the Mac OS. "It's simply got everything we need -- multi-tasking abilities, security, graphics, animation, audio, and video," he said. "It's a desktop-class application and networking."

The device will auto-synch to a PC or Mac and users can manage their rosters of movies, music, contacts, calendars, notes, and bookmarks from iTunes. Uses can set up their lists in iTunes and then synch it down to the iPhone.

The iPhone, which is only 11.6 millimeters thick, will have a 2 megapixel camera built into the back of it. Cingular is set up to be the exclusive carrier.A 4-Gbyte version of the iPhone will sell for $499, and an 8-Gbyte version will sell for $599. It will ship in the U.S. in June and in Europe in the fourth calendar quarter of this year. It will ship in Asia in 2008. It will be sold in Apple and Cingular stores.

Here are some iPhone features:

iPod features

  • The iPhone will have a built-in speaker, as well as a headphone jack.

  • Turn it on its side and the picture turns into a landscape mode. This works for digital photo albums, as well as for CD cover are, which shows up with the music files.

  • Click on the image of a CD cover and the image will spin around to show you the playlist on the back of it.

  • The screen can be adjusted to show a movie normally or in wide-screen mode.

"It's the best iPod we've ever made," says Jobs.

Phone Features

  • Contacts can be downloaded from a PC or Mac.

  • Contact lists will offer different phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and photos of the person. When the phone rings, not only the person's name will appear on the screen but a picture of them, if it's in the contact list, will pop up as well.

  • Visual Voicemail. Have you missed 10 calls while you were flying from New York to Chicago? The iPhone will list them for you on the screen so you can pick and choose which ones to listen to and in what order.

  • The phone supports both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.0.

  • Users can set up conference calls.

  • The phone will enable users to set up a list of favorites for the people they call most often.

  • Touch the screen and a keypad will pop up. A keypad also will pop up for text messaging and e-mailing.

  • If a user is listening to music when a call comes in, the music will fade out and the device will ring. When the call is over, the music will come back up.

  • Apple's trademark white earphones will have a microphone to be used with the phone feature.

Internet Communication Features

  • It's designed for HTML e-mail and will work with any IMAP or POP3 e-mail service.

  • Safari will be the first fully usable HTML browser for a mobile phone, Apple says.

  • The iPhone will sport Google Maps for traffic reports, satellite images and directions.

  • It will support widgets for weather and stock reports.

  • Yahoo will push e-mail down to iPhone users free of charge.

  • If a user is looking at an e-mail with a phone number in it, just click on the number in the e-mail and the phone will make the call.

  • Need to find a restaurant in a city you're visiting? Find it with Google Maps, and then call them on the same device.

  • Users can view e-mail with a split view just like they do on their desktops.

"It's the Internet in your pocket," said Jobs.

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