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Shiny New Apple iPhone

June 16, 2008
By Dave Hecei,
On Monday, June 9, Apple kicked off its WWDC show (World Wide Developers Conference) with a keynote address by Steve Jobs, Apple CEO. During the keynote, Jobs showed off the much-rumored 3G iPhone (3G stands for third generation). What 3G does for the iPhone is give it much faster data speeds, something much needed for those using their iPhones on data networks to get e-mails, files and Web pages. Apple also announced the next OS X, 10.6, code named Snow Leopard. Apple also showed an updated .Mac renamed to Mobile Me, and the new iPhone Apps store.

The new 3G iPhone has added some nice features. First, the price is lower. The new iPhone starts at $199 for the 8 GB model, a big discount compared to the $399 original iPhone. The new iPhone looks very similar to the original but has a curved back, which is now plastic, making it thinner along the edges. Because the back is plastic, the phone should be able to get better reception and was most likely used because of another new feature, GPS (Global Positioning System).

A great use of the GPS feature is that it can be used with the built in digital camera to do something called ‘Geotagging’. Geotagging is where the digital photo is encoded with the location of where it was taken. Other nice improvements, according to Apple, are a standard headphone jack (you no longer have to buy an adapter to use standard headphones), better battery life, and a better built-in speaker.

The new improved iPhone will be available from Apple and AT&T starting later in July. The 8 GB model is available in black only, the 16 GB model is available in either black or in white. The 16 GB model is $299. You will no longer be able to walk out of the store with an iPhone unless you activate it first. This is a departure from the original where you took it home and activated it yourself through iTunes. This no doubt is to stop people from buying unlocked phones, which can then be unlocked through free software and then used on other GSM systems and not use AT&T.

Also announced was the iPhone App store. This is also coming in July and will be the place to go to get software for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Apple released a software developer’s kit back in January and has given programmers several months to come up with great iPhone applications. Jobs showed off several titles for the iPhone. Games seemed to have been the big hit.

In a brief statement, Jobs announced that later that day they would be releasing a developer’s copy of the next Mac OS, OS X 10.6 that they are calling Snow Leopard. In a statement released after the keynote, Apple describes Snow Leopard as a step up in performance rather than a box full of new features and technologies. One thing that they did mention is that Snow Leopard will be fully optimized for multiple processors, and they are creating a new technology to help harness the power of the GPU, the processor on the video card, to improve speed. Most modern OSes take advantage of dual, and sometimes, quad processors. Apple now ships the Mac Pro, their flagship tower workstations, with dual quad core processors, which gives it eight processors. It looks like Apple wants to make Snow Leopard the ultimate multi-core operating system.

The other major announcement at this year’s WWDC is the rebranding of the .Mac service. Starting in July, this service will be known as Mobile Me. Apple is positioning Mobile Me as the connector between the desktop/notebook Mac and the iPhone/iPod Touch. Mobile Me will have the same features as .Mac but will add or improve on others.

One big, literally, improvement is the online storage space, which jumps from 10 GB to 20GB. Also, e-mail, calendars, and contacts are going to a push system. A push system send out the information for you, you don’t have to go get this information now, it will come to you automatically on any of your synced devices.

If you are a current .Mac user you will automatically be upgraded to Mobile Me. If you have an email account, it will stay the same, but you will also get an address to boot. Mobile Me also works seamlessly with iLife, allowing you to upload videos, photos galleries and iWeb web pages.

Mobile Me will be available in July when the new iPhone starts shipping. Snow Leopard is a preview and its availability will be announced at a future date. Most likely it won’t be available until the summer or fall of 2009.

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