About 45 minutes into his keynote, Apple CEO Steve Jobs said, "I have been looking forward to this for two and a half years," followed that with "Today Apple is going to reinvent the phone," and then proceeded to introduce the iPhone, which he called a leapfrog product that is much smarter than the previous generation of mobile phones, combining the iPod, mobile phone, 2-megapixel camera and an Internet communicator in one device.
Based on Jobs' demo of the iPhone, Apple has once again set the bar for others to follow, and they are far behind. Jobs said Apple is five years ahead of competitors with its software, and he is not that far off. Microsoft certainly has a lot to learn from Apple once again in creating usable operating systems and user interfaces. If the iPhone works as good as Jobs' demo, it will be a hit product.
With a 3.5-inch, 160-pixel per inch patented touch screen, the iPhone solves the user interface problem according to Jobs, making the rigid keys of mobile phones antiquated. Instead of being forced into using the hard keyboard for every application, the touch screen enables the interface to fit the application. Jobs dissed styluses as not being that useful and too easy to lose, but the first add-on will be a stylus, especially for using the soft keypad.
The touching and scrolling user interface for accessing music and other applications is super slick, with all the nice effects from Mac OS X graphics. "The software at least five years ahead of others," Jobs said. iTunes is used synch all media and data, such as contacts and calendar, to iPhone.
The killer app for the phone is making calls, Jobs said. The phone includes, contacts, calendar, visual voice mail, SMS messaging and quad band GSM + Edge, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The software enables multiple SMS messaging sessions at once.
The camera application also takes advantage of OS X capabilities. Using your fingers, you can resize photos on the iPhone and easily switch between portrait and landscape modes.
As an Internet communicator, the iPhone supports rich text email (IMAP or POP3), a fully usable HTML Web browser (Safari), Google Maps, widgets and Wi-Fi and EDGE networking. The landscape mode makes reading Web pages much easier and you can "pinch" the screen to resize the page. The iPhone also supports mutliple browser windows, like tabbed browsing, at once.
Update: Jobs said the phone delivers five hours of battery life and 16 hours of audio playback. The 4GB version is priced at $499 with a two-year contract; the 8GB version, $599. Apple has filed over 200 patents related to the device, which will be available in June. Cingular is the exclusive distributor in the U.S.
Bonus pic: The iPhone that was not to be