Even when first launched, the Apple iPhone was expected to be replaced by a model that used the fastest of the mobile broadband networks...
SAN FRANCISCO — Even when first launched, the Apple iPhone was expected to be replaced by a model that used the fastest of the mobile broadband networks widely available in the U.S. and worldwide. This didn’t seem to affect sales. After 6 million were sold, that day is finally coming.
Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs introduced a new iPhone in San Francisco on Monday, one that uses AT&T’s faster third-generation (3G) cellular network, costs $200 less and comes in black and white. The phone, unveiled at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, will be released in the U.S. and 21 other countries on July 11 for $199 or its equivalent — or less — for the base model.
Monthly charges for data on AT&T’s network, however, will rise from $20 for unlimited use to $30 per month for personal users and $45 per month for extra corporate features. These rates are the same as AT&T charges for its BlackBerry subscribers.
The iPhone 3G will download and upload data several times faster than the current model, which is out of stock.
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The 3G phone allows Apple to compete head to head with smartphone giant Research in Motion’s extensive lineup of BlackBerry phones, and smartphones from Nokia and those running Microsoft’s Windows Mobile operating system. While Apple has gone from 0 to 20 percent of the smartphone market in the U.S., its worldwide share is only slightly more than 5 percent, compared with Nokia’s 45 percent, RIM’s 13 percent and a double-digit percentage for a variety of makers using Linux.
While you could get the original iPhone in any color, so long as it was silver on the back, the new $199 model is backed in rugged black plastic and has 8 gigabytes (GB) of storage for audio, video, photos and some personal data. The $299 model comes in black or white and has 16 GB of storage.
The iPhone 3G comes with updated software that focuses on large corporate or “enterprise” users. Key to this is full support for Microsoft Exchange, a corporate messaging standard, despite iPhone’s competition with Windows Mobile phones.
This support includes live updates of calendar and contact information, searchable user directories even for extremely large companies, and remote “bricking” of the iPhone. This last feature lets a company information-technology worker erase and disable a phone over the cellular network.
In Apple’s most recent 10-year arc as a company, beginning around Jobs’ return to leading the firm, corporations have been largely ignored in favor of the richer consumer markets that matched up with Apple’s design and media-creation strengths.
That attitude has clearly changed where the iPhone is concerned, at least.
Referring to corporate customers — including more than 200 of the Fortune 500 companies that participated in testing of this new software release — Jobs said, “Everything they told us they wanted, we have built right into iPhone 2.0 right out of the box.”
The newer operating system also allows software developers to write and release programs that work on the iPhone, something widely available on all major smartphone platforms. Apple will impose substantially higher restrictions on its partners, requiring that generally released software be sold exclusively through its AppStore, approving all applications and taking a minority cut of each sale.
At the developers conference, an Apple executive brought several software firms’ representatives onstage in the first hour of the keynote to demonstrate software.
With the exception of two game developers and a one-man operation that produced a fascinating musical-instrument program, the software shown differs little from packages available on mobile devices or which can be used in nearly the same manner with a full-featured mobile Web browser.
Sam Altman, from mobile social-networking site Loopt, may have caused Apple to gulp when he mentioned at the end of his demonstration that his company’s product was available on other phones and other cellular networks.
The games, by contrast, took advantage of an onboard accelerometer that detects changes in motion, as well as a range of gesture recognition available to programmers to build into their software. Pangea Software’s Brian Greenstone demonstrated a version of Enigmo, a game in which dripping water is captured and redirected. “The game is completely touch based,” he said.
The iPhone 2.0 software also includes support for displaying a greater variety of attachments in e-mail, including Microsoft PowerPoint files, and three Apple business-application formats, parental controls and support for a large array of languages.
The 2.0 release is backward compatible with the first model of iPhone, and it will be released at no cost in early July for those phones. The iPod touch will also get a software refresh, which will cost $9.95.
Apple Senior Vice President Phil Schiller presented another prong in the iPhone update: a revision to .Mac, Apple’s online Web hosting, photo gallery, data storage and synchronization service.
Renamed MobileMe (using the me.com domain name), the .Mac service has been revamped to be much like an integrated and more fully functional alternative to Google’s online mail, calendar and other applications.
The new service works directly with the iPhone, allowing updates for e-mail, events, contact changes and other data. Mac OS X users also get immediate updates when online via Address Book, iCal and other software. The service costs $99 per year and includes 20 GB of storage.
Apple shares fell $4.03, or 2.2 percent, to close Monday at $181.61, a sign that some investors had hoped for more from the iPhone announcement and that others were taking profits after a four-month run-up in Apple’s stock price, which jumped from $120 in March, The Associated Press reported.
Glenn Fleishman, a Seattle freelance technology writer, contributes the Practical Mac column in the Personal Technology section. He can be reached at email@example.com.