Apple launched its new 3G iPhone this morning and slashed the cost to almost half the price of the existing model during the Worldwide Developer’s Conference in San Francisco.
Chief executive officer Steve Jobs said the new phone would be smaller and faster and would appeal to 56 per cent of people – Apple says – who want an iPhone but have not bought one because of the price.
In the US, the new 3G iPhone will cost from $US199 for the 8GB model to $US299 for 16GB. The new model has 3G speeds faster than the Nokia N95 and Treo 750, according to Apple, and is almost on par with WiFi speeds.
It has better battery life, with almost 5 hours of 3G talk time, and sports a slimmer form. Some of the phone’s more innovative features stem from Apple’s software development program.
Apple is internationally launching a new App Store that will make applications available for download onto the iPhone. Games, office tools and even learning aids will be available for free, or around $US9.99, according to demonstrations.
Third-party developers will keep 70 per cent of revenue for applications sold through the App Store, which will add FairPlay digital rights management (DRM) to the files.
The company also announced MobileMe today, an online synchronisation tool that unifies data between computers and the iPhone using a web-based interface. This feature, which includes iDisk integration for online file storage and sending, will replace Apple’s existing .mac service.
The iPhone 3G will be released with version 2.0 software, which includes support for Office and iWork documents, live contact search, bulk message delete, image saving, scientific calculator, language support and parental controls. Mr Jobs’ keynote address at the Worldwide Developer’s Conference did not mention the iPhone’s camera – which was expected to be upgraded from the existing 2 megapixel configuration – or video chat.
The next-generation model will be released in 22 countries on July 11th and will eventually reach 70 countries in total.