At MacWorld today Steve Jobs announced the iPhone, the long awaited iPod cellphone that has been spoken about in whispers for over a year. Though the phone was expected, some of the specs are surprising. The entire face is a touch-screen that recognizes multiple touch points (stretch photos larger with two fingers). It uses OS X as the operating system, making it as fully functional as a portable computer. You manage all your media and information with iTunes. The iPhone has 4 GB or 8 GB of storage. It will be available this June for $499 (4 GB) or $599 (8 GB) from Cingular (two-year contract required), their exclusive partner in the United States. It will hit Europe in the fourth quarter, and then Asia in 2008.
Some of the smaller details make the iPhone more impressive--a 3.5" widescreen ratio screen with the highest resolution yet for an iPod. It has wireless and EDGE for Internet, using a fully-featured Safari. From partnership with Yahoo it uses Yahoo search and Yahoo IMAP email. From a partnership with Google, it uses Google search and Google Maps (with built-in GPS). It supports Widgets. It has an accelerometer to orientate the screen as portrait or landscape. It has a sensor that knows when you put the phone up to your ear to turn off the screen and any music you are playing to take a call. The phone capabilities, like voicemail and conferencing, have an interface to make it easy to use--skip to your fifth voicemail without listening to the others. The battery has five hours of battery life, stretched to 16 hours for music.
Jobs began the keynote discussing Apple's latest milestones--2 billion songs sold in iTunes making them the #4 seller of music, 50 million television shows sold, and 1.3 million movies sold (Paramount is also now selling films on iTunes). He discussed Apple TV, their set top box that will enable you to access all of your digital media (music, film and photos from iPod, Macs, or PCs) on your television. It has a 40 GB hard drive and can play 720p high-def video over component or HDMI and has wifi. It will be out in February for $299.