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Apple unveils iPhone, merging phone, web and iPod

apple4 "Today, we're introducing three revolutionary new products. The first one is a widescreen ipod with touch controls. The second is a revolutinoary new mobile phone. And the third is a breakthrough internet communications device. An iPod, a phone, an internet mobile communicator... these are NOT three separate devices! And we are calling it iPhone!"

During the 2007 MacWorld Keynote Address, Apple chief Steve Jobs unveiled a new handheld computer and communications device: the iPhone. After announcing details of the new Apple iTV product, Jobs went on to say that this 'is a day I've been looking forward to for two and a half years.' Comparing it to the launch of the Mac in 1984 and the iPod in 2001, Jobs described it as Apple's third revolutionary product. The so called iPhone is buttonless, runs OS X, and uses a touch screen with no stylus.

The phone has a 3.5-inch screen with 160 pixels per inch (ppi) resolution and is 'thinner than any other phone at 11.6mm'. There is a two megapixel camera built-in on back a standard headset jack (3.5mm) and a Sleep/wake button on top. There is an iPod connector on the bottom to help it connect to existing iPod peripherals. A proxmity sensor on the handset will change the screen when you put the phone next to your ear, and an accelerometer allows a shift from landscape to portrait mode depending on orientation. An ambient light sensor turns down the screen dependent on the surroundings. The battery offers five hours of active life and most impressively runs OS X - Apple's operating system.

While thecrowds in San Francisco went wild as details were unveiled, the price is likely to put off some users. iPhone will be available in the US from June priced at $499 for the 4GB modelt and $599 for the 8GB (with a two year contract). In Europe it will be avaiilable before the end of the year and in Asia from next year. In the US the mobile will be offered exclusively with Cingular.

apple6 WiFi phone

As a phone the product is not 3G but is quad band and runs on WiFi, Bluetooth 2.0, EDGE and It seems that the phone will run on Cingular in the US. The phoe automatically switches to WiFi networks when in the area, which coupled with Skype would allow unlimited free phone calls worldwide. Web access is offered via Safari, with normal web pages appearing shrunk down but in their entirety. Double clicking on parts of the screen zooms in  to that area of content, with fingers used for scroling.

Bringing Yahoo and Google together

"I've had the privilege of joining the board and there's a lot of relationships... if we merge the companies we can call it Applegoo -- but I'm not a marketing guy. You can actually merge without merging. Each company should do the absolutely best thing they can do every time, and he's shown it today."
Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google

The phone works closely with both Yahoo and Google, with every user getting a Yahoo email account and Google search and maps built into the handset. The chiefs of both former rivals shared the stage to proclaim their support of the service in an inadvertant snub towards Microsoft, the remainder of the Big Three internet powerhouses, not preset. alongside google maps. n a particular snub to Microsoft,  the and through a partnership with Yahoo, every iPhone user gets a Yahoo account.

Software on the phone is managed through widgets. For example, built in Google Maps recognise where you are at any point, and can map you exactly.  This in turn links to region specific data, such as nearby shops, which in turn allows you to make phone calls directly.

apple7"I want to show you Google Maps on iPhone - it comes up and I'm going to go to Moscone West. And here we are, boom, I'm going to want a cup of coffee afterwards, so I'm going to search for StarBucks." This brings up Google maps local information for Apple which drops right into the phone and Steve starts calling them "Yes, I'd like to order 4000 lattes to go please. Sorry, wrong number thank you!" 




Enivornmental concerns 

The phone includes video voicemail which was demonstrated with a clip of board member Al Gore. The appearance made a strange encoutner of the Inconvenient Truth star given the increasing criticism Apple has been receiving of late for it's environmental track record, having been rated by Greenpeace bottom out of all the major PC hardware manufacturers for its practices. Greenpeace is campaigning to get Apple to behave more responsibly - and for Gore to encourage this - and was not allowed to exhibit at the MacWorld conference.

Apple finished by announcing that it was changing its name from Apple Computer Inc, to Apple Inc, arguably a direct two fingers up at Apple Corps who lost a court battle with Apple last year over the company's involvement in music. The event finished with two songs from MacWorld stalwart John Mayar: Gravity and Waiting on the World to Change (lyrics printed below). 

Waiting On The World To Change

me and all my friends
we're all misunderstood
they say we stand for nothing and
there's no way we ever could
now we see everything that's going wrong
with the world and those who lead it
we just feel like we don't have the means
to rise above and beat it

so we keep waiting
waiting on the world to change
we keep on waiting
waiting on the world to change

it's hard to beat the system
when we're standing at a distance
so we keep waiting
waiting on the world to change
now if we had the power
to bring our neighbors home from war
they would have never missed a Christmas
no more ribbons on their door
and when you trust your television
what you get is what you got
cause when they own the information, oh
they can bend it all they want

that's why we're waiting
waiting on the world to change
we keep on waiting
waiting on the world to change

it's not that we don't care,
we just know that the fight ain't fair
so we keep on waiting
waiting on the world to change

and we're still waiting
waiting on the world to change
we keep on waiting waiting on the world to change
one day our generation
is gonna rule the population
so we keep on waiting
waiting on the world to change

we keep on waiting
waiting on the world to change

Photos from Engadget