Unless you were out in the wilderness without Internet and TV access, you would already have read or seen news reports about Apple, Inc. introducing the iPhone during Steve Jobs’s keynote at Macworld.
The iPhone will combine iPod, phone and internet commuincator functions into a single, super-slim, widescreen and touchscreen device. There’s only one visible button on the front face of the iPhone and that’s the ‘Home’ button. What’s amazing is the usability functions of the phone as it integrates an accelerometer to determine when to switch to portrait or landscape, a proximity sensor to turn off the screen when you place the iPhone on your ear to save battery power and unintended touches to the touchscreen, and an ambient light sensor to determine appropriate screen brightness. To see the wonderful usability of the iPhone, I suggest you go watch the keynote as that would give you a much better feel than me describing it in words. The iPhone will have two version: the 4GB one will be priced at US$499 and the 8GB one is at US$599. Unfortunately for me, the iPhone would only be available in Asia in 2008 as compared to the US launch in June 2007.
The other product that Steve Jobs announced was the Apple TV that would be available in February 2007. Basically, it acts as an interface between iTunes and your widescreen LCD or plasma TV. It also has the ability to stream your music or movies wirelessly from your computer onto your TV. The Apple TV is compatible with both Mac and Windows computers. You can pre-order now and it’s available for US$299. For my fellow Singaporeans, you can pre-order as well at the Apple Store Singapore for S$488 (with free shipping) or through your favorite Apple retailer.
There was also one unannounced product launched after the keynote and that was the new and upgraded Airport Extreme Base Station. The new Airport Extreme features the draft specifications of 802.11n and is backward compatible with the older WiFi standards. If you didn’t already know, most of the Intel-based Mac computers already are equipped with the updated WiFi cards. When you purchase the Airport Extreme, it comes with an enabler to activate the cards. The Airport Extreme can be had for US$179 or S$298.
Well, that was all for the keynote. Personally, I was a little disappointed in not hearing anything about the upcoming release of Leopard or new versions of iWork and iLife. I would have love to have a better look at what Leopard has to offer and the changes made since WWDC 2006. There were also no mentions of new additions or upgrades to any of the Mac hardware.
Guess will just have wait to see if Apple introduces other changes in the next couple of months as suggested by Steve Jobs in his keynote.
Oh, one other thing … Apple Computer, Inc. is now officially known as Apple, Inc. They have decided to remove the word ‘Computer’ from their name to better reflect the diversity of their product line that’s not totally related to computers such as the iPod, iPhone and Apple TV.