MacWorld: Apple iPhone in detail

Apple 's revolutionary new iPhone was the talk of the Consumer Electronics Show ( CES ) today, despite being launched several hundred miles away at MacWorld in San Francisco. It's not hard to see why.

As Apple CEO Steve Jobs said this morning , the iPhone is essentially three different products in one -a quad-band GSM/GPRS mobile phone, an internet communication tool and a video iPod. Here are its key features in detail:

The Phone

Apple's packed the iPhone with all the features you'd expect in a mobile phone like an address book, calendar, SMS text messaging capability and a 2 megapixel camera with photo viewing software.

What's different is that the phone has been designed to exploit many of the features of Apple's Mac OS X operating system and it includes that revolutionary multi-touch interface.

Apple has also gone several stages further. For example the SMS tool enables you to carry out several text messaging conversations at once. You enter text using a smart and slick virtual QWERTY keyboard that comes with predictive text to make typing those messages easier.

Plus the iPhone also comes with Visual Voicemail, a proprietary Apple feature that enables you to playback your voice messages in the order you want to, rather than having to listen to each one in turn.

The photo viewing software is also unique in that you can make images bigger or smaller for easier viewing simply by using grabbing the corners of the picture with your finger and thumb and then stretching or contracting them.

Even making a call is easy, thanks to the virtual on-screen keypad, and the iPhone also has a Favourites list that enables you to get ready access to your most frequently used numbers for calling or texting.

Finally you can also synchronise all your contacts, appointments and photos using a Mac or PC.

The Internet Communication Tool

Just like a Blackberry or many other smartphones, the iPhone enables you read your email on the go. It's compatible with a wide range of email POP3 and IMAP services including Yahoo Mail , Google's Gmail , Microsoft Exchange and AOL Mail . The iPhone also has a push email capability and, of course, you can use the multi-touch interface to zoom, select and write your emails.

The iPhone also gives you full HTML web surfing capabilities using Apple's own Safari web browser. Again you can use the multi-touch here to select and zoom to specific areas of content that you're interested in. It also has a built-in Maps application that works with Google Maps , and includes a range of customisable widgets (mini internet applications) that enable you to access to weather, stock market and other information.

You can choose to use any of these applications either via the iPhone's built-in Wi-Fi or by using GPRS. There's scope for using VOIP applications like Skype too, although that isn't yet a feature of the current model.

The iPod

Apple's obviously seen the way the industry is heading, thanks the rise of music phones from company's like Sony Ericsson and Nokia , but has managed to leapfrog them all.

The iPhone's 3.5-inch widescreen display is perfect for watching movies using the powerful H.264 video codec. Again the multi-touch display makes it a breeze to select individual tracks, the scrolling action getting quicker the faster you move your finger across the screen.

The iPhone's built-in accelerometer also enables you to easily watch your content in landscape or portrait mode simply by tilting the phone in your hand. The landscape mode is particularly handy for Cover Flow - another Apple feature that enables you to select the albums you want to enjoy by virtually rifling through the cover artwork, just as you would with your music collection at home.

Those iPhone specs in full

  • Screen size 3.5-inches
  • Screen resolution: 320 x 480 at 160 pixels per inch (ppi)
  • Input method: multi-touch
  • Operating system: Mac OS X
  • Storage: 4GB or 8GB
  • GSM: 850MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz, 1900MHz
  • Wireless data: 802.11b/g Wi-Fi, EDGE, Bluetooth 2.0
  • Camera: 2 megapixels
  • Battery life: Up to 5 hours talktime, video and browsing / 18 hours audio playback
  • System requirements: An Apple Mac with a USB 2.0 port, running Mac OS X 10.4.8 or later and iTunes 7.0 or a PC with a USB 2.0 port running Microsoft Windows 2000 (Service Pack 4), Windows XP Home or Windows XP Professional (Service Pack 2)
  • Dimensions: 115mm x 61mm x 11.6mm
  • Weight: 135g