WWDC: UMTS iPhone with GPS in July
Steve Jobs kept everyone in suspense. Before the head of Apple presented the much anticipated new iPhone to all of the developers, members of the press, and fans attending the World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, first he talked about software. Apple's CEO and his chief iPhone software developer, devoted quite a bit of time to the new firmware that now makes the iPhone useful for business users, the Software Development Kit (SDK) that had been previously presented, and to new applications. The new online service called Mobile Me was also presented in detail, before Jobs finally got to the heart of the matter.
The new "iPhone 3G" visibly differs from its predecessor with a black plastic back and a new, more accessible headphone socket. In standby mode, battery life is expected to be 300 hours in 2G mode, Apple says you can make calls for 10 hours and five hours of calls in 3G mode. You can also surf the net for up to seven hours. The UMTS iPhone supports the HSDPA download accelerator to reach speeds up to 7.2 MB/s, which, according to the manufacturer's specifications, is roughly twice as fast as its predecessor. Apple says it automatically switches between GMS/EDGE, UMTS/HSDPA and WLAN to provide the best download speeds. Inside, the developers have also found space for a GPS module. The new iPhone is expected to hit stores in 22 countries on July 11, including the UK, Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
Apple has also lowered the price considerably. The 8 GB model is expected to cost $199, with the 16 GB version going for $299 – services providers fees excluded. Although the UK distributor O2 is featuring the new iPhone on its website, no prices are yet shown. However O2 are saying that the iPhone will be 'free' with selected monthly and business tariffs, as well as being available for purchase by Pay & Go customers. According to reports, Apple also wants to start allowing its partners to subsidise the iPhone. T-Mobile, Apple's exclusive German sales partner, is now offering the 8 GB version of the first generation at a much lower price for specific contracts.
Jobs said that the SDK has been downloaded 250,000 times in the past few days. Furthermore, out of the 25,000 applicants, 4000 developers have apparently been included in the beta program. The participants include educational institutions, corporations, and the US military. Beta testers will be able to use the SDK to access the same API set that developers use for Mac applications. The applications are to be sold at AppStore's, which will be open in 62 countries.
Apple presented a selection of the new applications that the beta program has produced. They include a news aggregator for the Associated Press, a blogging tool and numerous games. An English developer contributed a music program called "Band". Applications up to 10 MB can reportedly be downloaded via GSM, with larger ones being available via iTunes or WLAN. Applications are protected by DRM. The AppStore automatically provides users with updates of programs purchased.
The new iPhone can connect to the Exchange environment via ActiveSync for messages, contacts, and the calendar via the push method. The phone also supports such global address lists as Auto Discovery and Remote Wipe, with which Exchange data can be deleted from a connected client by means of a server command. The new iPhone will also support Cisco's VPN solutions..
Firmware 2.0 also offers new features to owners of the current generation. For instance, with firmware 2.0, iWork, Word, and Excel files can be loaded onto the iPhone. Starting on July 11, the new firmware will be made available to all iPhone owners as a free update at iTunes; in the US, Apple charges $10 for an upgrade of the iPod Touch.