Macworld Expo: Jobs Unveils the iPhone

"This is a day I've been looking forward to for two and a half years," said Jobs. "Every once in a while a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything."

In 1984, said Jobs, Apple introduced the Macintosh, and changed the computer industry. In 2001, Apple introduced the iPod, and changed the entire music industry.

"Well, today, we're introducing three revolutionary products of this class," said Jobs. "The first one is a widescreen iPod with touch controls. The second is a revolutionary mobile phone. The third is a breakthrough Internet communications device."

"These are not three separate devices," said Jobs. "This is one device. And we are calling it iPhone. Today Apple is going to reinvent the phone."

Jobs explained that smart phones provide phone and e-mail and what he called "the baby Internet. They're not so smart and not so easy to use."

"We don't want to do these," he said. "We want to do a leapfrog product that's way smarter than these phones and much easier to use. So we're going to reinvent the phone."

The Smart Phone, Reinvented

The iPhone does not use a keyboard, nor does it use a stylus, as many smart phones do today. The device uses new technology called Multitouch.

"We're going to use the best pointing device in our world," said Jobs. "We're born with ten of them, our fingers."

Multitouch is far more accurate than any touch display, according to Jobs. It ignores unintended touches, supports multi-fingers gesture. "And boy, have we patented it," he added.

The iPhone runs Mac OS X, said Jobs. "We start with a solid foundation," he explained.

"Why would we run such a sophisticated operating system on a mobile device? It's got everything we need," he said. "It's got multitasking, networking, power management, awesome security and the right apps. It's got all the stuff we want. And it's built right in to iPhone. And has let us create desktop-class applications and networking.

iPhone also synchronizes through iTunes. It syncs media, contact information, calendars, photos, notes, bookmarks, e-mail accounts. "All that stuff can be moved over the iPhone completely automatically," said Jobs.

Thin Phone, Big Display

The iPhone features a 3.5-inch, 160 dot-per-inch color screen. There's a small "Home" button it. It's also remarkably thin--11.6 millimeters, thinner than any smart phone out there, according to Jobs.

On one side, the iPhone sports a ring/silent switch, volume up and down controls. On its silver back side is a 2 megapixel digital camera. The bottom features a speaker, microphone, and iPod dock connector.

The iPhone also incorporates a proximity sensor that automatically deactivates the screen and turns off the touch sensor when you raise the device to your face. An ambient light sensor will sense lighting conditions and adjust brightness levels accordingly. And an accelerometer can tell when you switch from portrait to landscape mode.

Jobs Demonstrates the iPhone

Jobs' demonstration of the iPhone began with iPod-related features. An iPod icon along the bottom of the screen brings up a list of music, and Jobs flicked his finger to scroll up and down. He flipped the iPhone on its side and it reoriented to landscape mode, displaying album art in iTunes' "Cover Flow" mode. Jobs also showed video on the device.

"We want to reinvent the phone," he reiterated. "What's the killer app? The killer app is making calls! It's amazing how hard it is to make calls on phones. We want you to use contacts like never before."

The iPhone can synchronize contacts from a PC or Mac, and features "Visual Voicemail." He described it as "random access voicemail" that lets you navigate directly to the voice messages you're interested in.

iPhone is a quad-band phone that operated on GSM and EDGE networks. That's the most popular international standard, said Jobs, though Apple plans to make 3G phones in the future. It also integrates Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.0 connectivity, and will automatically switch from a cell phone data network to Wi-Fi when it gets in range.

Demonstrating the phone's ability to make calls, he touched the screen's phone icon and scrolled through his contact list, pulling up Jonathan Ive, senior vice president of industrial design. Phil Schiller then called Jobs--visible through call waiting. Jobs pressed a "merge calls" button and then created a three way conference calling.

'First Fully Usable HTML Browser'

The iPhone's text messaging interface looks similar to iChat--user dialogue is encased in bubbles, and a touch keyboard appears below. And the phone's photo management software enables you to use a "pinching" motion to zoom in and out of pictures.

The iPhone's Internet connectivity includes HTML-capable e-mail that works with any IMAP or POP-based e-mail service. Apple has also included its Safari Web browser. Jobs called it the "first fully usable HTML browser on a phone."

Jobs said that Yahoo will offer free "push" e-mail capabilities using IMAP to all Yahoo Mail users. "When you get a message, it'll push it right out to the phone for you," he said.

The iPhone also supports Dashboard widgets, starting off with weather and stocks.

For more news from the Macworld Conference & Expo, visit the Macworld site.

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

Subscribe to the Best of TechHive Newsletter

Comments