It’s the big news all over the world – Steve Jobs announced Apple’s new iPhone a few hours ago, and it’s beautiful, functional and sexy as anything ever created by Apple to date. They’ve removed all of the external input keys used by most phones, leaving a very smart, large (3.5 inch high resolution) touch screen, which interprets gestures on the screen with multiple fingers, orients itself to landscape or portrait depending on how you hold the phone, and switches off touch-sensitivity when you hold it hear your face. Despite the large, high-res LCD screen (the “most gorgeous ever“), Jobs has assured 5 hours of talk/internet time on the device, which includes GPRS/EDGE, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity.
What’s also interesting to me is that the device runs Mac OS X – which enables the phone to run miniature applications or “widgets” that can talk to the phone, and to each other. From my own R&D, this is a perfect architecture for enabling the building of Mobile Learning environments – imagine a learner building their own mobile learning platform using small, smart, internet-connected tools as building blocks, where the blocks talk to each other to create a more seamless and powerful user experience.
Despite the potential of the new platform, I’ve already heard a few complaints about the touch-screen nature of the phone, and I understand those views – for example, that without the tactile feedback of hard keys, it’s very difficult to access the phone while driving; but for those times when we’re not controlling a vehicle or operating heavy machinery, it’s likely that the touch screen interface won’t be such a problem.
The only premium features not incoporated into the handset seem to be 3G connectivity (which would be handy for internet browsing, particularly) and GPS, which I could see working beautifully in the iPhone, which, by all accounts, provides the most wonderful Google Maps experience on a mobile device – basically, just like the desktop version:
You can even switch from map to photo mode, just like the desktop version:
Here’s the full specs:
Screen size: 3.5 inches
Screen resolution: 320 by 480 at 160 ppi
Input method: Multi-touch
Operating system: OS X
Storage: 4GB or 8GB
GSM: Quad-band (MHz: 850, 900, 1800, 1900)
Wireless data: Wi-Fi (802.11b/g) + EDGE + Bluetooth 2.0
Camera: 2.0 megapixels
Battery: Up to 5 hours Talk / Video / Browsing, Up to 16 hours Audio playback
Dimensions: 4.5 x 2.4 x 0.46 inches
Weight: 4.8 ounces / 135 grams
It’s slightly longer than an iPod, but not as wide, and about the same thickness, hence Apple calling it a “Widescreen iPod” in their official press release. When it’s released in June, initially in the USA, pricing will be US$499 for an iPhone with 4GB of Flash memory, or US$599 for an iPhone with 8GB. I’m definitely looking forward to this hitting Australian shelves, hopefully later this year… 🙂