@WWDC: Apple holds firm to leader status with iPhone 4

**As published in RCR Wireless News** SAN FRANCISCO – Although millions of fanboys and industry watchers have already seen what turned out to be the new iPhone 4 today, Apple Inc. CEO Steve Jobs still had a few surprises up his sleeve to share during his keynote at the company’s annual developer gathering. If there is any less excitement or anticipation for Apple’s game-changing mobile device, that sure wasn’t apparent this morning. Lines began forming around the building at 6 a.m. this morning and when the gates to the main hall were finally raised for Jobs’ keynote there was a mad dash for seats (press included). The whole experience felt very rock concert in typical Apple fashion.

Jobs commands a crowd like no other executive in technology (or any other industry for that matter). But he can always be faulted for burying the lead. He kicked the event off with a series of updates to the iPad and some recent statistics from the App Store. iPad update At least 2 million iPads were sold in 59 days, effectively one every three seconds, Job said. Native iPad applications, of which there are 8,500 now in the App Store, have been downloaded 35 million times or the equivalent of 17 per iPad, he continued. More than 5 million books were downloaded on the iBooks store in the first 65 days and the five largest publishers in the United States tell Jobs that Apple’s share of e-book sales has already hit 22% in barely eight weeks. The iBooks platform, which is being extended to the iPhone and iPod Touch, now supports PDF documents as well, Jobs added. Apple’s view of the world “We support two platforms at Apple,” Jobs said. The first is HTML5, which he described as “a fully open, uncontrolled platform that is forged and defined by widely respected members’ bodies.” The second, of course, is Apple’s incredibly successful App Store. With 225,000 applications now available, “it is the most vibrant app community on the planet,” Jobs said. “There is nowhere else you can go and find 225,000 apps.” While Apple seems to constantly get hammered for its approval process, there is little to complain about if you believe what Jobs shared today. Each week more than 15,000 apps are submitted for approval (that includes new and updated applications) and 95% of those are approved within seven days, he said. Last week Apple crossed the 5 billion download mark on the App Store and developers have been paid a grand total of $1 billion so far via their 70% cut of the action. “That’s what makes the App Store the most vibrant app community on the planet,” Job said. The new iPhone 4 When it finally came time to formally introduce the new iPhone, Jobs called it “the biggest leap since the original iPhone.” Just as he began talking up the fresh design, Jobs paused to quip: “stop me if you’ve already seen this.” Laughter followed, but then again laughs and applause are an easy get for Jobs with this crowd. Sizing up at 9.33mm thick, the iPhone 4 is 24% thinner than its predecessor, making it the “thinnest smart phone on the planet,” according to Jobs. The device sports a glass rear and front with a stainless steel band that surrounds the body. But the steel is so much more than that – it not only acts as the primary structural element of the phone, but it’s also part of the antenna system, a feat that has never been accomplished, he said. The iPhone 4 also packs a retina display that boasts 326 pixels per inch, a four-time leap from its predecessor. Side-by-side comparison shots of images on the iPhone 3GS and the new iPhone 4 showed a noticeable difference in quality, but the real test will come when those comparisons are done in person rather than on large projector screens. The demonstration then went haywire as Jobs tried to pull up nytimes.com on both devices. Later in the presentation, Jobs pleaded with everyone in the audience to turn off their wireless access points (regardless of the flavor) and everything went smoothly as originally intended. At one point, Apple counted at least 570 base stations live in the keynote hall. The screen is “your display to the internet, apps, media and software,” Jobs said. “It’s the most important component of the hardware.” The iPhone 4 is powered by an A4 chip and a vastly improved battery that could extend battery life by as much as 40%, he continued. The device includes support for HSDPA/HSUPA technology providing network speeds of up to 7.2 megabits per second on the downlink and 5.8 Mbps on the uplink. There is also a dual microphone, 802.11n capability, and a gyroscope, which got huge applause. The three-axis gyro allows pitch, roll and yaw, rotation about gravity, and paired with the accelerometer it provides six-axis motion sensing. Finally, the iPhone 4 also comes equipped with a 5 megapixel camera with a backside illuminated sensor, LED flash and can capture 720p HD video at 30 frames per second. iAd Jobs then walked through some other features of the new iPhone operating system, which has been renamed iOS. Perhaps at the top of that list for developers is the iAd platform, which is built right into iOS 4. “You can add iAds to your app in an afternoon,” Jobs said. Apple began selling iAds about eights ago and has already inked deals with at least 17 major companies and $60 million has already been committed to iAds in the second half of the year. iAd is going to be launched July 1 on all iOS devices. One more thing … For Jobs characteristic “one more thing …” moment at the end of his keynote, he introduced FaceTime video calling with a live demonstration. The service will only be available iPhone 4 to iPhone 4 and will be limited to Wi-Fi for at least the remainder of 2010. “This is one of those moments that reminds us why we do what we do,” Jobs said after ending his speech. Price and availability The iPhone 4 will be available in black and white at the same storage limits and price points. Beginning June 24, the 16 GB model will sell for $199 and the 32 GB model will be available for $299. AT&T Mobility has also announced that any customer with a contract that expires during 2010 will be eligible to upgrade to the new iPhone 4 at the discounted price immediately.

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