By Chris Nicholls
SAN FRANCISCO: Apple CEO Steve Jobs finally took the covers off the long-awaited 3G iPhone this morning, Australia time, confirming it will arrive July 11 with GPS, up to five hours 3G talk time and a starting price of only US$199.
The highly anticipated reveal, which took place at approximately 4.40am Australian time at the Worldwide Developers’ Conference, showcased a number of the model’s primary features, including its assisted GPS (which adds mobile phone tower triangulation and uses the device’s accelerometer for more accurate navigation), fast download speeds and ability to play third party games.
The new model will come in the same eight and 16 gigabyte models as before, but with a starting price of just US$199 for the eight gigabyte model. The 16 gigabyte model will ship for US$299. Jobs said the US$199 price would be a "maximum all around the world" for the eight gigabyte model, suggesting Australian prices will either be the same or only slightly higher.
The eight gigabyte model will be available in black only, while the larger version will be available in both black and white.
Battery life is claimed to be exceptional, with five hours 3G talk time, 24 hours music playing time and seven hours video playing capability.
Despite the new iPhone’s 3G capabilities, however, the new iPhone will not come with a forward-facing camera for video calling. The previous model’s two megapixel camera specification also remains, but it is unclear whether video capability, impossible without severe modification on the first iPhone, will be included this time.
While there was no confirmation of HSDPA internet for fast downloads, Jobs performed side-by-side comparisons with the popular Nokia N95, which has 3.2mbps HSDPA, and Palm Treo 750, saying iPhone download speeds were up to 36 per cent faster than either of the two platforms. The new speeds make the iPhone twice as fast as previous models.
Apple will launch the iPhone in the 22 largest markets from July 11, with other countries to follow. Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and USA all fall into the 22. Jobs said he hoped to launch the phone in up to 70 countries this year.
Appearance-wise, the new iPhone appears to match early spy photos leaked onto the internet, with a slightly thicker back, thinner edges and full plastic back. Dimensions are now 115.5mm by 62mm by 12.3mm. Weight is a claimed 133 grams.
The iPhone is available for pre-order now via the US Apple website, but the local site tells customers to visit their local Vodafone or Optus outlet. Local prices have yet to be set, but those who wish to pre-register for Optus can do so via www.optusiphone.com.au A refundable $100 deposit is required. Vodafone said they will open their website for pre-registration "in a few days".
Further images are available from www.apple.com