Apple officially announced the rumored iPhone Tuesday in one of its more revolutionary product introductions. Steve Jobs announced the iPod as three products in one: a revolutionary mobile phone, a widescreen iPod, and a fully-functional Internet communications device, which includes a full version of Safari and the ability to run Mac OS X Widgets.
Breakthrough User Interface (UI) features include the following:
a random access voice mail retrieval, co-developed with exclusive carrier Cingular, allows the user to go to the desired voice mail, rather than committing to sequential ‘skip’ commands. As the message plays, a duration and progress bar displays, which allows the user to know how much time is remaining in the message playback (just like iTunes).
a well-designed SMS text message interface that uses bubbles to show incoming and outgoing message history. A real-time spelling correction functionality and word completion help is also part of the colorful interface.
an accelerometer that detects portrait or landscape display and adjusts the iPhone display accordingly.
a proximity sensor that turns off the display both visually and tactilely to conserve the battery and prevent accidental activation of commands.
an ambient light detector that adjusts the screen brightness according to available ambient light, which conserves battery power and improves the visual experience.
an onscreen keyboard without any mechanical hardware keyboard.
impressive finger-pointing commands that navigate the iPhone, zoom-in, zoom-out, etc.
impressive, and appealing display colors, icons and motion of graphics during navigation and command completion.
as expected, a beautiful iPod interface for selecting music and video, which includes a new ‘Cover Flow’ interface to browse your music library by album artwork.
Technical highlights include the following:
Network wireless is quad-band GSM. The iPhone uses Cingular’s EDGE network (up to 384 kbps) and automatically switches to 802.11b/g Wi-Fi.
Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR is also available that works with a remarkably compact Bluetooth headset.
Screen size is 3.5 inches (320 X 480 at 160 ppi)
Camera: 2.0 megapixels
Battery: Up to 5 hours Talk/Video/Browsing; up to 16 hours audio playback
iPhone Size: 4.5 x 2.4 x 0.46 inches
iPhone Weight: 4.8 ounces
The iPhone is available in June 2007 and pricing set at $499 (4GB model) and $599 (8GB model), both with a 2 year contract.
What are the media experts and people on the street saying so far?
Pros: It will be a ‘must have’ for existing Macintosh users. Excellent for small business users who ‘do everything.’
Cons: Expensive. No EVDO or HSDPA — no 3G. Cingular only carrier. Built-in battery — just like iPods. Lack of real keyboard capability. Limited storage, especially for video storage and playback.
Overall Apple iPhone seems to be a spectacular product. Apple iPhone e-mail capabilities for enterprise and corporate use remains to be seen. Competition with Blackberry remains to be seen.