With characteristic showmanship, Steven P Jobs introduced Apple’s long-awaited entry into the cell phone world Tuesday, pronouncing it an achievement on a par with the Macintosh and the iPod.
The iPhone, priced at $499 or $599, will not be for everyone. It will be available with a single carrier, Cingular Wireless, at midyear. Its essential functions music player, camera, Web browser and e-mail tool as well as phone have become commonplace in hand-held devices.
Apple’s goal was to translate the Macintosh computers ease of operation into the phone realm. They want to make it so easy to use that everyone can use it.
Signaling ambitions Apple wants to be a dominant force in digital music. Apple was dropping computer from its name and would henceforth be known as Apple Inc.
Investors took quickly to the pitch, sending Applesâ€™ stock price up to a record close, while shares of known cell phone makers slumped.
Apple had set the goal of taking 1% of the world market for cell phones by the end of 2008. That may seem small, but with a billion handsets sold last year worldwide, that would mean 10 million iPhones a healthy supplement to the 39 million iPods that Apple sold last year.
Applications include e-mail, advanced voice mail, photo collections and Web searching. The fact is that the new iPhone is powered by the same core OS X operating system.
The user interface relies heavily on a high-resolution touch screen that makes it possible to use a finger to control the phone.
It has features that are still more subtle, including sensors that track light and movement and proximity, to prompt the phone to control screen brightness and physical orientation and other aspects of its operation.
For instance, when it is placed next to the users face, the keyboard is automatically turned off.
Apple chose the name iPhone even though Cisco Systems, the network and Consumer wireless company, has recently introduced a Wi-Fi based phone with the same name. Apple had been negotiating with Cisco executives over the trademark.
The $499 version of the device will have four gigabytes of storage, and the $599 version will offer twice that.
According to Apple the higher price of the new phone is justified when prices of so called smart phones are plunging to $200 and below because of storage capacity and user friendly multiple features.