Apple's Steve Jobs kicked off his annual MacWorld keynote in San Francisco, confirming three revolutionary new products - a widescreen iPod, a mobile phone and an Internet communications device. Crucially, they've all been integrated into a single device: the Apple iPhone.
That's not all. The phone features a revolutionary new touchscreen interface that Apple is calling multi-touch. There is no keyboard or stylus, just a single Home key. To access the phone's features you simply move your fingers across the screen or touch the virtual buttons. And works using Mac OS X.
The iPhone also includes an 8GB hard disk drive, headphone jack, a 2-megapixel camera and three sensors - an ambient light sensor that dims the screen to save battery power; an acceleromator that enables it the display to automatically switch between landscape and portrait mode and a proximity sensor that automatically shuts down the display when you hold the phone to your ear. It looks very, very cool.
You can use the iPhone to listen to music and watch movies in widescreen using iTunes. It features Coverflow to display album artwork. You can also use it to make conference calls and carry out multiple SMS conversations. The iPhone has quad-band GSM, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.0.
The phone also includes Apple's photo imaging app iPhoto that enables you to view pictures stored on the phone. You can resize images using the multi-touch interface simply by using your finger and thumb to make the pics bigger or smaller.
The iPhone also offers full support for POP3 and IMAP emails, including support for Yahoo Mail, Microsoft Exchange, Gmail and AOL Mail. Yahoo is offering free push IMAP emails to the iPhone - just like RIM's Blackberry.
The iPhone also features Apple's widgets, enabling you to get access to mini-apps that enable you to view internet content like Google Maps. It also supports full HTML web browsing - not WAP - using Apple's Safari web browser.
Steve Jobs has been joined by Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google. Schmidt says that Apple and Google are working very closely together - Schmidt is currently on Apple's board and says that the two companies have "merged without merging", and that a merged company might be called AppleGoo. He is joking. Jobs has also been joined by Jerry Yang, co-founder and head of Yahoo, who says that Yahoo Go and One Search have been built into the iPhone.
Jobs is now talking about iPhone accessories - a pair of black Bluetooth headphones with built-in microphone. Battery life he says is five hours of talktime, movie viewing and web-browsing combined or 16 hours of audio.
Apple has filed over 200 patents for the iPhone.
Jobs is now saying that there will be two different models. A 4GB version a with two year contract on US mobile network Cingular will be $499. The 8GB version will be $599. It's shipping in the US in June. Cingular CEO Steve Sigman says that he agreed to take on the iPhone without ever seeing it, "because of the confidence I have in Steve [Jobs] to deliver his vision."
Jobs is now talking about the mobile phone market and how itr compares to other technologies - to date, he says, 26 million games consoles have been sold, 94 million digital cameras, 135 million MP3 players, 209 million PCs and 957 million mobile phones. Jobs says he wants to get 1% market share in mobile by 2008, that's 10 million iPhones.
Finally Apple has announced that because it has Apple TV, the iPhone and the Mac that it's no longer appropriate to call itself Apple Computer. From now on it's Apple, Inc.
2006 has been a great year for the Mac. 2007 is going to be even better. Apple has now sold over two billion songs on iTunes, that's 58 tracks per second. ITunes has also shifted over 50 million TV show downloads and 1.3 million movies have been watched in the first four months of the service.
Apple is adding a new studio partner to its iTunes movie roster - Paramount.
Jobs announces Apple TV (formerly codenamed iTV). This Mac mini-style box features a 40Gb hard drive, an 802.11b/g/n wireless card and runs on an Intel processor. Around the back it features the expected USB 2, Ethernet, Wi-Fi, HDMI and component connections and supports 720p video.
The Apple TV can handle movies, music, photos, TV shows, podcasts and can stream movie trailers directly from apple.com. The Apple TV can also stream content from up to five computers, giving it much of the flexibility that a Media Center PC has. Dean Evans / Rob Mead