As expected, at its Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple today announced the latest additions to the iPhone family, the iPhone 3GS. The new phone comes in two models - 16GB and 32GB, selling for US$199 and $299. They will be available on June 19. It also announced more features and a June 17 release date for the iPhone OS 3.0.
The iPhone 3GS
The new iPhone 3GS offers:
- Overall faster performance (Apple claims the phone is about twice as fast as the iPhone 3G, though it also says attachments open 3.6 times faster and web pages load almost 3 times faster)
- Faster network connection - 7.2 Mbps 3G connection
- The increased capacity noted above (the iPhone 3G topped out at 16GB)
- A 3 megapixel camera with autofocus
- Camera can recording video at 30 frames/second
- Onboard video-editing software, also share over text, email, YouTube
- Voice control interface letting users dial and control iTunes by voice; the phone can also speak what songs are playing
- An onboard digital compass and new compass app
- Improved accessibility based on the phone speaking content
- Built-in support for Nike+
- Hardware encryption (targeted at business users)
- Improved battery life
iPhone OS 3.0
The OS will be released on June 17. It will be free for iPhone owners and a US$9.95 upgrade for iPod touch users (as usual).
In addition to what had already been announced, the new OS adds:
- Despite iPhone OS 3.0 supporting it, AT&T will not support multimedia text messaging (MMS) until the end of the summer in the U.S.; 29 carriers worldwide will have it
- The ability to rent and purchase movies, TV, and audiobooks over the air
- Parental controls and ratings for apps, iTunes content, etc.
- Tethering, which employs the iPhone as a mobile network connection for computers; connects over Bluetooth and USB; 22 carriers in 44 countries support it, but no word if AT&T will support it; tethering does not require additional software and will work on Mac and PC
- Autofill of passwords in Safari
- Find my iPhone feature for lost phones via MobileMe; includes remote deletion of data as an option
- Support for 30 new languages
- Purchases within apps now supported, works in paid apps only (allows things like magazine subscriptions or buying additional content for the app)
Other news from the event includes:
- Apple has cut the price of the 8GB iPhone 3G (not 3GS) to $99 for an entry-level model. That price is effective today
- Apple demoed a turn-by-turn directions GPS app from GPS heavyweight TomTom with spoken directions to great response. Also introduced was a car kit that holds the iPhone in landscape or portrait mode, amplifies GPS, charges the phone, and attaches to windshield or dash. The kit will be released this summer.
- The company also said that the iPhone and iPod touch has combined to sell over 40 million units to date.