Apple finally laid all rumors of an iPhone to rest by – announcing the launch of the iPhone. I was lucky to catch the almost-live keynote [live blogging by Engadget] address by Steve Jobs at the Macworld when he made the announcement. Tech analysts that have been debating on such a move expected Apple to go beyond simply combining a cell phone and a MP3 player i.e. to enhance the experience like they always do when they launch a new product. The launch of iTV was overshadowed by the much-anticipated and eagerly-awaited iPhone. And Jobs didn’t disappoint.
The innovative feature in iPhone, like the clickwheel in the iPod, is the Multi-Touch technology that lets users control iPhone with just their fingers, no stylus as in the Blackberrys. It also syncs all of your contacts from your PC or Mac or online services and create a favorites list for your oft-called numbers or merge them for easy conference calling. Also, no more wading through consecutive voicemails to get to your all-important one; like email you can directly access messages that interest you the most. But of course, SMS apps powered by a built-in soft keyboard lets you send and receive SMS messages.
The iPhone also features a 2 megapixel camera and an inbuilt photo management application. To handle the music needs, the iPhone serves as a widescreen iPod that lets users “touch” their music and lets you scroll through entire lists of songs, artists, albums, and playlists. The 3.5-inch display with 160ppi offers one of the best screens on phones today. For your email and browsing needs, iPhone features a rich HTML email client which fetches your email in the background from most POP3 or IMAP mail services and displays photos and graphics right along with the text. The iPhone comes bundled with Google Maps and is powered by OSX.
But best of all, in the Apple spirit the phone has built-in sensors – “an accelerometer, a proximity sensor and an ambient light sensor.” The proximity sensor is a blessing for clumsy people like me as it “detects when you lift iPhone to your ear and immediately turns off the display to save power and prevent inadvertent touches until iPhone is moved away.”
(images from Engadget)
Although priced steeply at $599 for 8GB and $499 for 4GB, the iPhone packs a lot of features that might just make it worth it and to top it all, it is an Apple. After all you paid much for an iPod MP3 player than you could have for any generic MP3 player. Also, it has an exclusive contract with Cingular only which may be a bit unfair for other service providers. They will be available in June so we now what is going to be the hot gift for the next holiday season.
I may not own one in the near future but of course, it doesn’t hurt to lust for yet another gadget without which your life could be well, normal. If you decided to get one, be sure to let me know how you like it.
Update: Shripriya has a nice point-by-point summary and is maha-excited about iPhone.