The Mac devotees hanging on every word amidst the near-religious frenzy that surrounds Apple founder Steve Jobs’ keynote at the annual Mac Expo in the US were rewarded in typical fashion last night when he unveiled the iPhone – the company’s most hyped product launch to date – as well as the Mac TV, which will bring Apple into the living room.
In what he described as a “revolutionary” development that ranks in the same class as the impact of the Macintosh in 1984 and the introduction of the iPod in 2001, Jobs said: “Today we’re introducing three revolutionary products of this class.
“The first one is a widescreen iPod with touch controls. The second is a revolutionary mobile phone. The third is a breakthrough internet communications device. These are not three separate devices. This is one device and we’re calling it iPhone. Today Apple is going to reinvent the phone,” Jobs exclaimed.
The new phone will run on OS X and will boast a new control technology called multitouch, which Jobs classed in the same category of Apple innovations as the mouse and the clickwheel.
He said that the device will not need buttons or a stylus but a single large screen that with the multitouch technology will be more accurate than using a stylus on a screen.
“Why would we run such a sophisticated operating system on a mobile device?” he asked, referring to the inclusion of OS X. “It’s got multitasking, networking, power management, awesome security and the right apps. It’s got all the stuff we want. And it’s built right into the iPhone and has let us create desktop-class applications and networking.”
The device will work through iTunes to synchronise media, contact information, calendars, photos and email.
The phone will feature a 3.5-inch, 160-dpi colour screen and will be thinner than any smart phone on the market, Jobs said, at 11.6mm. The device will also come with a two-megapixel digital camera, speaker, microphone and iPod dock connector.
Included in Jobs’ bag of tricks was the Apple TV, a device that will sit in the living room and wirelessly connects digital media to a widescreen high-definition TV. The device is capable of displaying 720-dpi high-definition video and incorporates a 40GB hard drive capable of storing up to 50 hours of video.
Users can wirelessly transmit content from up to five PCs or Macs to the new device which comes with an Intel processor and TV shows or movies can be set to automatically stream to Apple TV and reside on the hard drive when you purchase them.
Giving an update on how Apple is performing in the music business, Jobs said that so far over two billion songs have been sold on iTunes and with some five million songs being sold a day on the site. As well as this the company has sold more than 50 million TV shows and 1.3m movies.
Also in his keynote Jobs expressed nonchalance about Microsoft’s effort to knock iPod off its perch with its own Zune player. Citing data from NPD Jobs said that the rival Zune Player grabbed 2pc market share, compared with the iPod’s 62pc market share.
By John Kennedy
Pictured – the new iPhone