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Apple Officially Announces iPhone 3G, MobileMe

  • Posted: Saturday, July 12, 2008
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  • Author: pradhana
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  • Filed under: 3G Handset, iPhone

By Jason Ankeny

To the surprise of absolutely no one, Apple CEO Steve Jobs took the stage at Monday's annual Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco to announce the July 11 retail release of the iPhone 3G. In a nutshell, the updated device promises ever faster access to the Internet and email with support for 3G Wi-Fi and EDGE networks, automatically switching between them to maximize download speeds, and features built-in GPS and iPhone 2.0 software.

The iPhone 3G also enables simultaneous voice and data communications and features a wealth of enterprise applications, including support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync for over-the-air push email, contact and calendar syncing, not to mention remote wipe and Cisco IPsec VPN for encrypted access to corporate networks. At $199 for the 8GB version, it's also 200 bucks cheaper than its predecessor.

In addition, Apple introduced MobileMe, a new Internet service delivering push email, push contacts and push calendars to native iPhone, iPod touch, Mac and PC applications. MobileMe also provides a suite of ad-free web applications promising a desktop-quality experience through any modern browser--applications include Gallery for viewing and sharing photos and iDisk for storing and exchanging documents online.

MobileMe includes 20GB of online storage that can be used for email, contacts, calendar, photos, movies and documents. The subscription-based service costs $99 per year for individuals and $149 annually for a Family Pack, which includes one master account with 20GB of storage and four Family Member accounts with 5GB of storage each.

Monday's WWDC did not include confirmation of a rumored mobile iTunes retail portal that would expand the variety of ringtones, ringbacks and related music content available for the iPhone. Citing anonymous executive sources, The New York Times stated in mid-May that Apple was in active negotiations with the four major record labels, with plans to launch the service sometime this month.

At present, Apple offers ringtones as a 99-cent upgrade to its 99-cent full-track iTunes downloads--however, many of the 6 million tracks in the iTunes catalog are not available for ringtone conversion, and the firm is seeking to expand its inventory, at the same time introducing ringbacks. Apple is also said to be negotiating to sell full-track downloads over-the-air directly from the iTunes store, although the major labels contend they should receive a larger kickback for OTA purchases than standard web downloads, where the wholesale price is about 70 cents. [FierceMobileContent]

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