Apple’s latest development in the iPod line to begin rolling in June
Apple Inc. recently announced that its newest technology will be a cellular telephone called iPhone.
During Apple’s keynote speech on Jan. 9, Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs announced that Apple will release a broad-screened iPod, a mobile phone and a portable Internet communications device.
“These are not three separate devices,” Jobs said in the speech.
Jobs announced that all three items would be included in a new product named iPhone, which will be available in June 2007. He quickly began elaborating on all of its major features. He began first with the iPhone’s interface.
The iPhone has only one physical button on its front panel. The rest is a 3.5 inch touch screen, which displays images and video at 160 pixels per inch. When the iPhone is turned on its side, the touch screen will automatically switch over to a landscape position. It is designed to be manipulated with the fingers and can detect even the subtlest of finger motions.
“We’re going to use the best pointing device in the world … our fingers,” Jobs said.
The touch screen even understands when accidental pressure is placed on the screen and is programmed to be unresponsive to such accidents. Using the touch screen, the user can access the iPod, phone or Internet capabilities of the iPhone. For text messaging, the touch screen can be converted into a full QWERTY keyboard.
The iPod feature functions primarily as an ordinary iPod does. It plays MP3 files and Podcasts and allows the user to browse through albums by album art and create personalized playlists. The iPhone’s onboard speaker can be used for listening to music without headphones.
The actual telephone capability of the iPhone is accessed via the touch screen, and the user is given the option to scroll through a list of contacts, or use a simulated number pad for dialing numbers. A list of “favorites” can also be created for quick access to numbers frequently called. The iPhone also offers an innovative voicemail system similar to e-mail. It allows the user to view messages waiting and select which one to listen to first. This prevents the user from having to wait for previous messages to play before reaching the desired message.
The iPhone’s Internet function allows it to connect to the Internet anywhere that Wi-Fi or Bluetooth technology is present. The user can access e-mail or surf the Web with as much visual clarity as a desktop computer. This differs from other cell phones that can only connect to the Internet through their service providers.
“I like that the wireless function is actually Wi-Fi,” said Ryan Case, a senior political science and economics major.
The many features of this phone do come at a cost, though. The four-gigabyte model costs $499 and the eight-gigabyte model costs $599.
“I’m not going to spend $600 on a phone,” said Kyle Waldrop, a sophomore classics major.
Another issue with the iPhone is its service provider. Currently, the iPhone requires the user to be a member of the Cingular network. The iPhone’s press release said service plans will be announced before its release in June.
Case said he would have liked to have seen the iPhone sold as a stand-alone phone, instead of forcing potential customers to switch their cell phone provider over to Cingular. It is not known if the iPhone will eventually be available on other networks, and Apple declined to comment any further than what was already publicly available in the press release and keynote speech.
Another potential issue with the phone is the fact that many already own separate gadgets that perform similar functions to that of the iPhone.
Waldrop said he would be more interested in the iPhone if he didn’t already have a phone.
Jobs is hopeful, however, that the iPhone will be able to compete in the cell phone market.
“We’re going to enter a competitive market with a lot of players, and we think we have the best product in the world,” Jobs said. He added that iPhone hopes to earn one percent of the market share, which Apple estimates is the equivalent of 10 million units sold.
“I shouldn’t have sold my Apple stock,” Case said. Ironically, he sold his Apple stock to buy an Apple MacBook.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Jon Swihart at firstname.lastname@example.org.