Apple has slashed the price of the iPhone 3G to just $99 from today as it unveiled the new iPhone 3GS which will be available on 19 June in the UK.
The announcement came at Apple’s worldwide developers’ conference, which opened today in San Francisco, and attracted 5,200 programmers from 54 countries.
Apple also made its first serious attempt to woo corporate users by announcing integrated support for Microsoft’s Exchange in its new Mac operating system.
Announcing the iPhone 3GS, Apple said launching messaging was twice as fast as the 3G, loading SimCity was 2.4 times faster, viewing Excel
3.6 times faster, and loading the NY Times almost three times faster.
As predicted, the new phone has an autofocus camera with a three megapixel resolution and a neat “tap to focus” feature as well a macro focusing down to 10cm. There is also video support at 30 frames per second VGA and audio recording, with auto focus, white balance and exposure. Users can edit video simply by ”tapping a finger”.
It supports voice commands and recording, as well as a digital compass with links to Google Maps.
The new phone also has encryption built in and supports encrypted iTunes back-ups and instant remote “wipes” of all data on the phone, should it be lost. Standard talk time on a 3G network is five hours, with up to nine hours browsing over a wifi link. The 16Gb version will cost $199, with $299 for the 32Gb version, with AT&T in the US. The iPhone 3G's price wil drop to $99 from today.
Both the 16GB and 32GB iPhone 3G S will also be available to O2 Pay & Go customers at the following prices:
- iPhone 3G 8GB - £342.50
- iPhone 3G S 16GB - £440.40
- iPhone 3G S 32GB - £538.30
iPhone 3G S 16GB and 32GB models will also be available on a number of O2 business tariffs on a 24 or 36‑month contract.
Most of the announcements were pre-figured when Apple unveiled the beta version of OS3, its new iPhone operating system, and the system developer kit. Apple said the OS3 would ship on 17 June, free on iPhones, and $9.95 for iPod Touch.
Apple claimed most mobile web browsing was now done on iPhones, and pointed to 50,000 applications available for the iPhone, compared to less than 5,00 for Android and around 1100 for Nokia phones.
Apple also launched a new 15 inch Mac notebook with a built-in lithium ion battery with a life of seven hours, a 40% improvement on previous batteries, which Apple expects will last five years without replacement. The Mac has an SD slot for removable storage, which makes file transfers from digital camera very quick. The basic unit comes with 4Gb of memory and retails for $1699.
Apple also upgraded its 13-inch and 17-inch versions as well as ther Air, and dropped prices, making this “the most affordable line-up” of MacBooks, according to Phil Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of worldwide product marketing.
Apple also referred to Snow Leopard, the latest version of the Mac operating system, OSX. This was a refined version with more Microsoft Windows 7 functionality.
Apple added it was shipping its new browser, Safari 4.0, which was nearly eight times faster than Internet Explorer 8 on a standard benchmark test, it claimed.
A new version of the Quicktime video player, X, has a new user interface, similar to the iTunes full screen viewer.
Craig Federighi, VP of Mac OS engineering, said a Dock Expose feature made it easier to move content between applications. It was also easier to search and highlight items in a browsing history with the new Safari.
He said new technologies in Snow Leopard made these possible. These included support for 64-bit, multi-core, multi-threaded processing. He said all major OSX applications now supported 64-bit operation.
Acknowledging that Office is a de facto standard, Apple also announced better support for Microsoft Exchange. Exchange support is now built into OSX Mail, iCal diary functions and Address book, it said, meaning that Mac users still have access to OSX tools like Spotlight inside Exchange applications.
Exchange support is free, Apple said, whereas Microsoft users pay for it. Snow Leopard will go on sale in October for $29, making it tough competition for Windows 7, which comes out at the same time.
Scott Forstall, senior vice president of iPhone software at Apple, said there had been more than more than one billion downloads of the 50,000 applications for the 40 million iPhones and iPod Touches already sold. Progrmmaer has downloaded he system developers’ kit for the iPhone OS3 operating system more than a million times, he said.
OS3 had more than 100 new features, he said. These included Cut, Copy and Paste, and Undo across all applications, and landscape operation across the apps. There was support for HTTP streaming audio and video, with the bit rate and data quality adjusting automatically to the connection speed.
The iPhone now supported more than 30 languages, including those with non-Roman alphabets. A new service was Find My Phone for MobileMe customers, which allows any web browser to show the user, on a map, where his or her phone is.
It allowed them to wipe all the data on a lost phone remotely and to restore it again from the iTunes back-up, once they find it.
There were more than 1,000 new APIs, he said. A key one is App Purchase, which allows software developers to charge users for extra stuff they might want to buy. This was good for gamers who wish to buy more armour or powers, for instance. The revenue split was the same as for App Store, 70:30 for the developer and Apple respectively, with the developer setting the price.
Apple also announced a glucose monitor for the iPhone, which uses one of a number of new accessories for the device. Games developer gameloft announced Asphalt 5, a racing game, for the iPhone, which allows the user to listen to his or her iTunes while playing the game.
Airstrip Technologies unveiled Push notifications that allow someone’s lab reports to be “pushed” to a doctor. The notice links to patient data, but it can also stream EKG information over 3G communications networks.
ScrollMotion unveiled an app that turns the iPhone into a competitor to Amazone’s Kindle e-reader. With more than a million books, 50 major magazines, 170 daily newspapers already in the App Store, they were now negotiating with textbook publishers.
Tomtom, the GPS direction finder, showed a turn by turn application for the iPhone, whick comers with a car kit that allows the iPhone to recharge on the move.
Users connect Pasco unveiled a Spark application that allows users to connect sensors to record and input data to the iPhone, turning the device into a science lab, according to the presenter.