Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs has just unveiled the long-awaited iPhone 3G, the second-generation of his company’s smartphone. As its name suggests, the major improvement in this model is support for 3G cellular-wireless networking.
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But that won’t be the only change; Apple had already included location-based services in the original iPhone, and the new model will emphasize them even more thanks to its GPS receiver.
The major software change in the upcoming version will be the ability to run native third-party applications that have been approved by Apple. Of course, current iPhones will get a system software upgrade to allow them to do this as well.
But those eager to get their hands on this device will have to wait; the iPhone 3G won’t hit the market for more than a month.
Support for 3G will allow this smartphone to connect to faster cellular-wireless networks, increasing the speed at which users can surf the Web and exchange email. The current version uses the 2.5G standard EDGE.
Jobs promised today that 3G service will offer downloads and web surfing close to what users are accustomed to over Wi-Fi, which is reasonable.
3G takes more power than 2.5G, but Apple says the new iPhone will offer 300 hours of standby time, 10 hours of talk time on a GSM network, or 5 hours of talk time on a 3G connection.
When browsing the Web, the battery life is expected to be 5 or 6 hours. Or users will have the option of watching video for 7 hours or listening to audio for 24 hours on a single charge.
Pricing and Availability
The iPhone 3G will be released on July 11. Unlike the original version, this will be a worldwide launch, in 22 countries.
There will be two versions. An 8 GB one will sell for $200, while a 16 GB version will be $300 in the U.S.
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The 8 GB version will be available only in black, while the other will have either black or white casing on the back.
Original iPhone Getting Updated
Jobs and company also reaffirmed that many of these capabilities will be added to the current version of the iPhone through a system software upgrade.
Naturally, it won’t add 3G support to the original iPhone, but it will take care of the other most requested feature: the ability to run native applications.
This update will be released, for free, in early July. This will likely coincide with the release of the iPhone 3G.
What about the iPod touch?
Apple handheld, the iPod touch, isn’t being forgotten in all this hubbub. It will also get a system software upgrade, which will be released at about the same time as the upgrade for the original iPhone.
Unlike smartphone users though, handheld users will have to pay for the new software. The price will be $9.99, which is half what iPod touch users had to pay for an earlier system upgrade.
Say Hello to MobileMe
In addition to the iPhone 3G, Apple has announced the MobileMe service, which essentially will be Microsoft Exchange for those without corporate access. It will let users synchronize their emails, contacts, and calendars, not only with their iPhone but also with a Mac or Windows computer.
But for those who are already using Exchange, support for it is being added to the iPhone as well.