As we earlier wrote about, one of the main topics of Steve Jobs’ keynote at the 2007 Macworld Expo and Conference was the much sought-after iPhone. Much has been speculated about how Apple’s phone would be, and even how it would be called, given that the “iPhone” trademark is actually already been owned by Cisco. Nonetheless, Apple chose to name its product “iPhone”, and it seems to be an exciting product!
Engadget was among the first to break the news, and cites some of the key features of the iPhone.
Sweet, glorious specs of the 11.6 millimeter device (that’s frickin’ thin, by the way) include a 3.5-inch 480 x 320 touchscreen display with multi-touch support and a proximity sensor to turn off the screen when it’s close to your face, 2 megapixel cam, 4GB or 8 GB of storage, Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR and A2DP, WiFi that automatically engages when in range, and quad-band GSM radio with EDGE. Perhaps most amazingly, though, it somehow runs OS X with support for Widgets, Google Maps, and Safari, and iTunes (of course) with CoverFlow out of the gate. A partnership with Yahoo will allow all iPhone customers to hook up with free push IMAP email. Apple quotes 5 hours of battery life for talk or video, with a full 16 hours in music mode — no word on standby time yet. In a twisted way, this is one rumor mill we’re almost sad to see grind to a halt; after all, when is the next time we’re going to have an opportunity to run this picture? The 4GB iPhone will go out the door in the US as a Cingular exclusive for $499 on a two-year contract, 8GB for $599. Ships Stateside in June, Europe in fourth quarter, Asia in 2008.
At first glance, the features seem to resemble your run-of-the-mill smartphone and PDA, save for the fact that the screen is larger and more crisp than other devices of the same size. However, it’s in the user interface that makes a big difference. The iPhone will not have any physical keyboard or keypad type input mechanisms. Instead, it will use a touchscreen. But this will not be like the existing touchscreen technologies that we now have with Tablet PCs or even touch-sensitive PDAs and mobile phones. The touch screen technology of the iPhone will be much like that of the current iPod’s clickwheel (something that feels more like a laptop touchpad rather than a flexible screen overlay popular with PDAs). Apple is said to have patented over 200 technologies just for the touch sensitive aspect of the iPhone itself.
Also, there’s the GUI factor. Apple is known for using very intuitive GUIs over powerful back-end processing. This is one reason why Apple OS X has much appeal over other operating systems like Windows. OS X features a visually-appealing, easy-to-use graphical interface over a powerful UNIX-based architecture. Apple’s engineers and UI designers seem to have thought things up very well. For instance, you can pinch an image from its corners to resize. And you can just drag around icons to move them. An on-screen keyboard lets you type in text, and this will appear and disappear by itself as necessary.