All right, folks, you can save up your spare cash (after filling the gas tank) for your new 3G-enabled iPhone. But the rest of the WWDC keynote more or less what you might have expected — and in some cases, less if you crave instant gratification.
Ahead of the Steve Jobs keynote, it was interesting to note that Wall Street revealed early skepticism, witness the dip in Apple’s stock price. Does this mean that they know something we don’t? Or are they taking the sum total of the expected announcements as not terribly significant in the scheme of things? Or maybe it’s just the staggered state of the U.S. economy that’s bringing the overall market down — and I’m willing to accept the latter theory for now.
In doing his introduction to the keynote, which began somewhat late this morning, Steve Jobs came out and confirmed the rumors that the next version of Mac OS X would be introduced, and that it would be known as Snow Leopard. But the first part, as widely expected, is all iPhone.
Since the discussion was primarily focused on the developer community, the iPhone SDK was profiled by programming chiefÂ Scott Forstall, who emphasized the enterprise features, such as push email, push contacts, and global wipe. These are some of the critical features businesses require on their smartphones.
You’ll also see expanded support for Microsoft Office, plus support for Apple’s iWork. Additionally, there will be a full-featured scientific calculator. Take that, Texas Instruments!
Among the new products that will be available at the Apps Store: Sega’sÂ Super Monkey Ball, and even an eBay application to allow you to handle your auctions on your iPhone. For bloggers, there will be a version of TypePad, but, sadly, nothing about WordPress, the tool we use. And if you’re a news junkie, AP’s Mobile News Network may be your cup of tea.
When it comes to instant messaging, Apple’s solution, in order to let you know your buddy wants to reach you, is a push notification system that will go into beta this month. It’ll be ready in September, and will, above all else, preserve the iPhone’s battery life.
While all this is going on, Apple’s online store is offline with its typical “updating” message, and it’ll be back online after the keynote concludes. Meantime, the only fly in the ointment is the fact that the iPhone’s Apps Store did not launch today, a clue that was brought home by the constant use of the phrase, “when the Apps Store launches.” In fact, it’ll be available in early July, a little later than originally promised. However, iPod touch owners will only pay $9.95 for the update, due to the way Apple calculates income from the product. It’s free for iPhone owners.
The next development was nothing if predictable. MobileMe is a Web service that Apple VP Phil Schiller characterizes as a sort of Exchange for the rest of us, a consumer-level service with push email, calendars, and contacts, and it’s also compatible with Windows and thus works on both Apple Mail and Outlook, in addition to your iPhone.
In case you’re wondering, MobileMe indeed replaces .Mac, but will be priced at the same $99 per year. However, storage space doubles to 20GB, and a free trial will be available when the iPhone 2.0 software ships next month. If you’re a .Mac subscriber, you’ll be automatically upgraded to the revised service in the coming weeks.
The main event, however, was iPhone 3G. Apple sold some six million of the previous model before it ran out of stock a few weeks ago. In addition to the speedier online access, rated at 2.8 times faster than the older EDGE network, some of the published rumors were confirmed. The rear of iPhone 3G is black plastic with thinner edges than the original version. According to Jobs, audio quality is improved “dramatically,” and the headphone jack, a source of many complaints, is flush.
Among the other features, the new device also features GPS. Talk time is a mixed bag. It’s 10 hours for 2G (up from eight hours with the current model), but only five hours for 3G, and apparently you’ll be able to make the inevitable selection between the two network standards under Settings.Â
Best of all, the 8GB version of iPhone 3G is a mere $199, compared to the $399 I paid for my first-generation model. The 16GB version, available in black and white, will be $299. Sorry, folks, no refunds for your current iPhones. Even better for the millions who unlocked theirs, the iPhone 3G will be available, over the next several months, in 70 countries. The initial roll-out will be in 22 countries, including North America, where it’ll go on sale on July 11.
And Snow Leopard? Sorry folks, not a part of the keynote. In a brief statement after the main event, Apple promised that the next version of Mac OS X would arrive in about a year, and be confined mostly to performance optimizations, particularly for multi-core Macs.
The real losers in the prediction game were those who expected new Macs, such as something to be called the Mac Fusion, which, in the mockup pictures, looked like a wider Mac mini. Let the comments begin.
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