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Apple iPhone takes on mobile market

By   |  January 10, 2007

Motivated by their successful move into the digital music arena, Apple are now having a go at the cellphone industry with the iPhone, taking on players such as Nokia, Motorola and Blackberry.

Apple announced the iPhone at the Macworld Expo. As part of Apple’s move into consumer electronics, CEO Steve Jobs announced that Apple Computer Incorporated is undergoing a formal name change to Apple Incorporated. Quoting ice hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, Jobs said “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”


The iPhone combines a mobile phone with the media functionality of the iPod and an advanced internet browsing interface. Featuring a 3.5″ wide touch screen, users navigate using their fingers.

“iPhone is a revolutionary and magical product that is literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone,” said Jobs. “We are all born with the ultimate pointing device – our fingers – and iPhone uses them to create the most revolutionary user interface since the mouse.”

Apple has chosen Cingular, the most popular carrier in the US with over 58 million subscribers, to be Apple’s exclusive partner for iPhone in the US. How the iPhone will be implemented in South Africa is not yet known.

Eager to be at the forefront of innovation, Apple have given their new gadget some nifty new features.

Visual voicemail lets users look at a listing of their voicemails, decide which messages to listen to, then go directly to those messages without listening to the prior messages.

A built-in accelerometer, proximity sensor and ambient light sensor have been added to extend battery life and make life easier. The accelerometer detects when the user has rotated the device from portrait to landscape, automatically changing the content of the display accordingly to display web pages and photos in a landscape aspect ratio.

iPhone also boasts a proximity sensor which detects when you lift iPhone to your ear and immediately turns off the display to save power and prevent inadvertent touches until iPhone is moved away. How this will work when the user is idly lying down pool-side or in bed is yet to be found out. (Review copies please!) An ambient light sensor automatically adjusts the display’s brightness to suite the light levels, saving unnecessary power.

As with an iPod, the iPhone syncs with a user’s iTunes library on their PC or Mac. New to iPod is the iPhone’s Cover Flow which allows one to browse the music library using album covers. When navigating your music library on iPhone, you are automatically switched into Cover Flow by simply rotating iPhone into its landscape position.

For internet connectivity, iPhone features a rich HTML email client which fetches your email in the background from most POP3 or IMAP mail services. With the ability to multi-task, users can simultaneously read web pages while downloading emails.

Unfortunately for us in South Africa, it may be a while till we get a chance to try out this nifty accessory. iPhone will be available in the US in June 2007, Europe in late 2007, and Asia in 2008, in a 4GB model for $499 (US) and an 8GB model for $599 (US).

Motorola shares fell on the announcement of the iPhone, dropping 14 cents to $18.12 before the open of the US stock exchange this morning. Nokia shares fell by 2 percent by midday in Helsinki.

Apple shares climbed 8.3 percent to a record $92.57 in early trade.

Presently Apple’s South African branch has not been issued with local pricing or availability details, but Tectonic was told that SA is normally grouped with Europe and sometimes Asia. When the SA senior marketing executive returns from the Macworld Expo on Monday, more will be known.

Technical Specifications:

Hardware Features
– 3.5″ Widescreen touch-sensitive display
– 11.6 mm thin
– 2 megapixel camera
– Proximity sensor, accelerometer, and ambient light sensors
– Quad-band GSM/EDGE + WiFI + Bluetooth 2.0
– Battery Life: 16 hours audio, 5 hour talk/video/browse time

Software Features
– Runs OSX
– Conference call support with up to 3 participants
– Multiple SMS session support (iChat-like interface)
– Safari: first fully useable HTML browser on a phone
– Widget support
– Yahoo IMAP mail
– Google Maps (with satellite image) integration

For full details on the iPhone, go to www.apple.com/iphone/

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