iPhone blows away expectations

Once in a while, the truth can be wilder than the rumors. Such was the case today at MacWorld 2007, where Steve Jobs unveiled the long awaited iPhone.
Written by Ed Burnette, Contributor

Sometimes, the truth can be wilder than the rumors. Such was the case today at MacWorld 2007, where Steve Jobs unveiled the long awaited iPhone:

Every once in a while a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything. One is very fortunate if you get to work on just one of these in your career. Apple has been very fortunate that it's been able to introduce a few of these into the world. In 1984 we introduced the Macintosh. It didn't just change Apple, it changed the whole industry. In 2001 we introduced the first iPod, and it didn't just change the way we all listened to music, it changed the entire music industry.

Well today, we're introducing THREE revolutionary new products. The first one is a widescreen iPod with touch controls. The second is a revolutionary new mobile phone. And the third is a breakthrough internet communications device.

An iPod, a phone, an internet mobile communicator. An iPod, a phone, an internet mobile communicator.... these are NOT three separate devices! And we are calling it iPhone! 

iPhone (Image credit: engadget.com)

The new device runs Mac OSX and features one button ("home"). The rest of its surface is taken up by a huge 3.5inch color touch screen.

Jobs: Let's not use a stylus, we're going to use the best pointing device in the world -- our fingers. We have invented a new technology called multi-touch. It works like magic, you don't need a stylus. It's far more accurate than any interface ever shipped, it ignores unintended touches, supports multi-finger gestures, and BOY have we patented it!

(more on page 2...)

Some specs:

  • 11.6mm thick
  • 2 megapixel camera
  • Speaker
  • Mic input
  • iPod connector
  • Quad band GSM+EDGE phone
  • Accelerometer (detects how you're holding it and adjusts screen)
  • Ambient light sensor (auto-dimming)
  • Proximity sensor (when you bring it to ear, turns off display and sound)
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.0
The first supported carrier will be Cingular.
What's the killer app? The killer app is making calls! It's amazing how hard it is to make calls on most phones. We want to let you use contacts like never before -- sync your iPhone with your PC or Mac. Visual voicemail -- wouldn't it be great if you didn't have to listen to five of them to list to the sixth? Just like email you can go directly to the voicemails that interest you.

Multi-touch gestures are used for common operations. For example, Steve demonstrated pinching two fingers together and moving them apart to make a picture larger.

iPhone multi-touch (image credit: engadget.com)

Of course the iPhone also includes a web browser, Safari, and support for email (regular and push-style).

We have widgets, it communicates with the internet over WiFi and EDGE -- you don't have to do anything, it connects to the WiFi seamlessly. It connects to any POP3 or IMAP email. Today we are announcing Yahoo will offer free push-IMAP email to iPhone customers. This isn't just IMAP, this is push-email, same as a BlackBerry.

Dr. Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google appeared on stage with Jobs to announce a new level of collaboration between the two companies. Eric is on the Apple board. He joked about merging the companies but said merging wasn't necessary. 

Schmidt: You can actually merge without merging. Each company should do the absolutely best thing they can do every time, and he's shown it today. We can take the enormous brain trust of the Apple team and the open protocols of companies like google and put them in an environment for end users. From a Google perspective we've pushed very hard to partner with Apple and working with many many different data services. Steve showed this a little bit. It comes together seamlessly. This is the first of a whole new generation.

Jerry Yang, co-founder and Chief Yahoo came on the stage next:

Yang: We're really proud of Yahoo to be partnering with Apple. One of the things we're going to be doing is launching some of our new services , Yahoo Go and One Search on this phone. Mail is a killer app on the phone, Yahoo is trying to redesign the web and email experience on mobile devices. The best spam protection, address books, and calendar when you're on yahoo -- It's like BlackBerry without an Exchange Server.

The iPhone will be available in June for $499 with a 2-year contract (4GB flash model). The 8GB flash model will be $599. It will be sold through the Apple stores and Cingular stores.  Accessories include:

  • Stereo headphones with a bump in the wire containing the mic and switch
  • A thin, "incredibly small" Bluetooth headset

Steve also announced that Apple was changing its name to simply "Apple, Inc." instead of "Apple Computer, Inc.". This reflects its new focus on consumer electronic devices that go beyond simple computers.

So, today we've added to the Mac and the iPod, we've added Apple TV, and now iPhone. And you know, the Mac is the only one you really think of as a computer, and we've thought about this and we thought, you know, maybe our name should reflect this better than it does. From this day forward we're going to be known as Apple, Inc.We've dropped the computer from our name.

A big thank you goes to engadget.com, macrumorslive.com, and Jason O'Grady for their transcripts and photos.

Related articles:

Editorial standards