Apple delivers another homerun with new iPhone

It was a pretty busy day for Apple today, with a number of important announcements that immediately impacts a large portion of their product line. But in what was probably the biggest, or at least the most exciting, announcement, Apple officially announced a next-gen iPhone model, which it calls the iPhone 3G S. In case you were wondering, the 'S' stands for 'speed'. And speedy it is. Whether its opening up a graphic intensive website or launching a game, the new iPhone 3G S is a lot snappier, with load times for certain functions coming in at 3x as fast as the current iPhone 3G. Naturally, the benefit of a faster iPhone is that it gives developers even more of an opportunity to push the iPhone's capabilities to the limit. And with improved 3D graphics to boot, you can bet that gaming on the iPhone will continue to improve by leaps and bounds. As expected, the iPhone 3G S comes with an improved camera with auto-focus functionality, though the new camera comes in at 3 Megapixels, as opposed to the 3.2 figure which had been previously rumored. The new iPhone camera has a few more tricks up its sleeve, though. It has a new feature called "tap to focus", which allows users to direct the camera's focus as they wish. It also includes settings for taking pictures in low light (finally!) as well as a macro mode for up-close and personal shots. The original camera on the iPhone has long been a source of discontent for iPhone users, so it's nice to see Apple finally upping the ante. The new iPhone will also support video recording, an announcement which drew a huge round of applause from those in attendance at WWDC. The iPhone 3G S records video footage at 30fps, and as had been reported earlier, users will be able to make small edits to their footage directly from the device. Users will also have the option of sending recorded videos straight to YouTube, to their MobileMe account, and to their friends as well via MMS. One of the more intriguing announcements made during the keynote, at least from a developers standpoint, is that new iPhone API's will allow applications to fully make use of the iPhone's video camera. One of the more surprising announcements was that the new iPhone, courtesy of the upcoming iPhone OS 3.0, will support voice controls. Not only can users make use of voice activated dialing, but the feature will also support a wide variety of other commands, such as being able to ask the iPhone which song is currently playing. As for storage, the new iPhone will come in 2 configurations, 16 GB and 32 GB, that will sell for $199 and $299 respectively. Meanwhile, Apple is now offering its current 8GB iPhone 3G model for only $99. That's an unbelievable price when you consider that an 8GB iPhone originally cost $599 when it was released not even 2 years ago. But with all of these extra features, the iPhone can really be put through the ringer. Luckily, though, the new iPhone will have much improved battery life. Phil Schiller noted that video playback on the new iPhone comes in at 10 hours, audio playback comes in at 30 hours, and 3G Internet use maxes out after 5 hours. In terms of talk time, the new iPhone supports 12 hours of talk time on 2G networks, and 5 hours oftalk time on 3G networks. Standby time on the device comes in at 300 hours. If the figures cited by Schiller are indeed accurate, competitors like Palm will have an even harder time competing with the iPhone. After all, what good are features on a phone if your battery runs out of juice every 4 hours? In the end, Apple appears to have delivered yet another homerun. The iPhone hasn't even been out for 2 years yet, and Apple will already be releasing its third version of the device on June 19th.

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