San Francisco: Apple Inc. moved to distance itself from rival smartphone makers on Monday by introducing the iPhone 3G S, a souped-up device that offers much faster processing speeds, a video recorder, compass and voice commands.
The iPhone 3G S (the “S” stands for speed) will go on sale June 19 for $199 (Rs9,472) for a 16GB version and $299 for 32GB of storage, doubling the capacity of the 3G models they replace. Apple senior vice- president Philip Schiller said the company also will sell a $99 8GB version of the current 3G.
Apple’s newest phone will run iPhone 3.0, the upcoming operating system for the iPhone and iPod touch family of devices, of which more than 40 million have sold.
The combination of new 3G S hardware and iPhone 3.0 software should keep pressure on companies such as Research in Motion Ltd, Microsoft Corp., Palm Pre and Google Inc., all of which have sought to steal back much of the attention that the iPhone has attracted in the smart phone space.
Tech track: Apple’s newest phone features a 3-megapixel camera that supports video recording with editing and sharing capabilities via email, YouTube and multimedia messaging. There is also a voice command feature for making calls or controlling media playback. Reuters
“We think customers will be blown away with all that it does,” Schiller said in the keynote speech at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, which started on Monday.
Schiller led the opening speech in place of Apple CEO Steve Jobs, who remains on medical leave until the end of this month.
The iPhone 3G S will emphasize speed, not only through a faster processor but also through its ability to support the next evolution of 3G high-speed networking. The device will be able to take advantage of AT&T’s plans later this year to begin doubling the speed of its 3G HSDPA network.
“This is the fastest iPhone we’ve ever made,” Schiller said.
The iPhone 3G S features an upgraded 3-megapixel camera that supports video recording with editing and sharing capabilities via email, YouTube and multimedia messaging. There is also a voice command feature for making calls or controlling media playback. A compass has been added, and battery life has been improved by as much as 50%, depending on the application.
The iPhone 3.0 OS software, which will be available on June 17 as a free upgrade for existing iPhone users, will feature more than 100 new improvements for consumers and more than 1,000 new ways for developers to build for the iPhone platform.
The features include new cut-and-paste ability, landscape keyboard access, MMS multimedia messaging and universal search across e-mails, contacts, applications and the Web. A newly introduced feature called Find My iPhone enables people to track down their iPhone and erase data on it if using a MobileMe account.
Independent app developers also will be able to include new in-app payments, peer-to-peer networking via Bluetooth for gaming and other programs, and push notification for applications like instant messaging alerts.
The software improvements maintain the momentum for Apple’s App Store, which offers 50,000 programs. Michel Guillemot, CEO of mobile game maker Gameloft, said he was excited about the iPhone 3G S’ combination of features, which he said will enable more mobile cutting-edge experiences.
“These are the first steps in a revolution, and developers are able to build on this,” he said. “I don’t know anyone else than Apple that is moving so fast in delivering an Internet experience with perfect results for everybody.”
Tim Bajarin, an analyst with Creative Strategies, said Apple is migrating the iPhone even more toward becoming a true mobile computer, in the process distancing itself from rivals who are having trouble keeping up.
“What you’re seeing with the iPhone and its apps and features is Apple continuing to set the gold standard, and it makes it harder for others to catch up,” he said.
In other news, Apple announced that its Snow Leopard Mac OS X upgrade will be available in September for $29 for existing Leopard users or $49 for a family pack.
Schiller also announced new MacBook Pro 13-inch, 15-inch and 17-inch models that feature longer battery life, LED-backlit displays, an SD card slot and a FireWire 800 port. The 13-inch MacBook Pro, which updates the 13-inch aluminum MacBook model, starts at $1,199. The 15-inch and 17-inch models received price cuts and will begin selling for $1,699 and $2,499, respectively. Apple also cut the price of the MacBook Air to $1,499 and the solid-state drive configuration to $1,799.
©2009/The New York Times