Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Rumors were right: iPhone is real.
(This is a preview, not a review.)

This is a big week for the hardware geek, with slews of new Big Boys' Toys being revealed at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, and the Macworld Conference and Expo in San Francisco.

At Macworld, BigMac Steve Jobs turned long-swirling rumors into reality. Steve revealed the iPhone -- the Swiss Army Knife of cellphones that does just about everything but wipe your behind. (Apple's use of the iPhone name is being challenged by Cisco Systems. CLICK for more.)

Apple built a bunch of functions into one lightweight handheld device: an innovative cell phone (for Cingular only); a widescreen video iPod with touch controls; an Internet communications device with email, web browsing, maps, and searching; random access voicemail; a new user interface based on a large multi-touch display and new software to let you control everything by tapping or sliding a finger, like on a laptop touchpad; a 2 megapixel camera; WiFi; Bluetooth; and maybe a nail file and bottle opener.

  • iPhone is a widescreen iPod with touch controls that lets you enjoy all your content — including music, audiobooks, videos, TV shows, and movies — on a beautiful 3.5-inch widescreen display. It also lets you sync your content from the iTunes library on your PC or Mac. And then you can access it all with just the touch of a finger.

  • iPhone is a cellphone that allows you to make a call by simply pointing your finger at a name or number in your address book, a favorites list, or a call log. It also automatically syncs all your contacts from a PC, Mac, or Internet service. And it lets you select and listen to voicemail messages in whatever order you want — just like email.

  • iPhone features a rich HTML email client and Safari — said to be the most advanced web browser ever on a portable device — which automatically syncs bookmarks from your PC or Mac. Safari also includes built-in Google and Yahoo search. iPhone is fully multi-tasking, so you can read a web page while downloading your email in the background over Wi-Fi or EDGE.

  • iPhone features the most revolutionary user interface since the mouse. It’s an entirely new interface based on a large multi-touch display and innovative new software that lets you control everything using only your fingers. You can glide through albums with Cover Flow, flip through photos and email them with a touch, or zoom in and out on a section of a web page — all by simply using iPhone’s multi-touch display.

  • iPhone’s full QWERTY soft keyboard lets you easily send and receive SMS messages in multiple sessions. The keyboard is predictive, so it prevents and corrects mistakes, making it easier and more efficient to use than the small plastic keyboards on many smartphones.

  • iPhone’s accelerometer detects when you rotate the phone from portrait to landscape orientations, then automatically changes the display so you immediately see the entire width of a web page or a photo in its proper aspect ratio.

  • The proximity sensor 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.

  • An ambient light sensor automatically adjusts the display’s brightness for the current ambient light, enhancing the image and saving power.

Two versions of the iPhone should be available in June. The 4gig will sell for $499 and 8gig for $599. I like my new Samsung Sync cellphone very much, but I might make a change in June. However, iPhone won't replace my 80gig iPod, except for short trips.

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