iPhone Announced

by F.

All I can say is, wow. This is so much more than a phone. It’s more or less a handheld computer that might actually—gasp!—work. The “pinch” hand-motion function looks really cool—I’ve seen it demo’d on larger touchscreens. Once you go trackpad the mouse just seems annoying; a fortiori track screen

Update. Here are the details, from the FT:

The iPhone’s launch, scheduled for June, marks an attempt to reshape a category of mobile phone that has caused trouble for other technology and mobile phone companies in the past. Despite similar big promises for other multi-function devices, “smartphones” remain only a small part of the mobile business.

“We’ve been innovating like crazy. We’ve filed over 200 patents and we intend to protect them.”

A 4 GB version of the iPhone, priced at $499, and an 8 GB version, for $599, will go on sale in the US in June, with European sales to begin in the second half of this year and Asia in 2008, Apple said. The Apple TV set-top box, with a 40 GB hard drive, would be available in February for $299.

The new products, which come as Mr Jobs continues to face scrutiny for his role in options backdating at the company, sent shares in Apple up 6.4 per cent to $91.12 by mid-afternoon in New York.

In a further sign of the company’s transition from a maker of personal computers into a consumer electronics comany, Mr Jobs announced that Apple Computer would henceforth be known simply as “Apple”.

Apple’s bid to tackle the 1bn-a-year mobile handset market represents its most ambitious move yet outside its core business of computers.

Mr Jobs said Apple had entered into a multi-year exclusive partnership with Cingular, the US mobile operator, which will provide mobile service to the phones in the US.

The phones will be available through Apple’s own retail stores and through Cingular storefront shops. They will also feature applications from leading internet search groups, including built-in functionality for Google’s maps service, and a free “push” email service that sends messages from customers’ Yahoo email accounts to their phones.