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by Ami Kealoha
on 09 January 2007

The big news from Apple today of course is the hotly-anticipated iPhone that combines a widescreen iPod, a GSM phone and internet connectivity into one device—Steve Jobs calls it, "a revolution of the first order." With over 200 patents on features like a multi-touch user interface and a sensor that automatically switches between landscape and portrait mode, he just might be right. Here are the highlights of the new mobile gadget, available in 4G ($499) and 8G ($599) models exclusively through Apple and their partner Cingular this June 2007 and following in Europe later this year and in Asia in 2008. For blow-by-blow details go to Engadget or Gizmodo.

The multi-touch capabilities inspire the most oohs and aahs by enabling users quickly and easily perform tasks like zooming in Google Maps with a pinch movement or double tapping to increase the size of a webpage. The interface ignores unintended touches, making it far more accurate.

Like the iPod, the iPhone syncs all of your media, (including calendars, bookmarks, music, movies, podcasts, tv, photos, contacts, email, notes, etc.) using a cradle (it has the standard iPod docking port at the bottom) through iTunes.

Running on OS X makes for an overall smooth experience—text messaging is more like iChat, you can scroll through iTunes (it uses Coverflow), and the internet browser is Safari (which can handle having multiple pages open at once and takes advantage of some of the multi-touch features with zoom and widescreen capabilities). Google Maps has satellite imaging and is similarly easy to navigate.

At a thin 11.6mm wide, the phone packs in 2.0 MP camera, a 3.5mm headphone jack, a speaker, mic input, iPod port, a 3.5 inch wide screen with 160 ppi resolution, the highest res screen ever shipped of this size, and only one button, the "home button." Internally the iPhone has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.0.

In addition to the accelerometer that switches between screen modes, the iPhone has a proximity sensor that turns off the display and sound when you bring the phone to your ear and an energy-saving detector that senses ambient light and adjusts the display accordingly.

Key in the partnership with Cingular (they will be the exclusive multi-year partner), the iPhone brings visual voicemail so that users can pick and choose among a list of received voicemails. The onscreen buttons also makes phonecalls a "killer app," as Jobs likes to call it.

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