The most exciting part of today’s WWDC event came nearly two hours into the keynote when Apple’s SVP of Worldwide Marketing Phillip Schiller came back on the stage and said the words everyone had been waiting for — that there’s an entirely new version of the iPhone, called iPhone 3G S.
The iPhone 3G S offers a ton of new technology that consumers will not necessarily notice, except when it comes to the phone’s performance. It is up to twice as fast as iPhone 3G, provides longer battery life and has a 3-megapixel autofocus camera. It also allows you to record and edit videos, and provides “hands free voice control,” which lets you dial and play music by talking to the device. The 16GB model will be $199; a new 32GB model will be $299. Starting today, the iPhone 3G will be available for $99. The iPhone 3G S will be available starting June 19, or two days after the iPhone OS 3.0 rolls out, and will be sold first in the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Switzerland and UK. In July, there will be 28 more countries, and it will spread to 80 countries “very quickly.”
Many of the improvements were exactly what were rumored to be unveiled today. The one big exception was that CEO Steve Jobs did not come back from medical leave early to make the announcement. Even though, a lot of the features announced today are already on other smartphones — Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) has just made it easier (yet again). For instance, many phones have video-recording, but on the iPhone, there will also be video editing. Between the new software features offered in the iPhone OS 3.0 and the new hardware improvements in the iPhone 3G S, Apple should be hard to beat.
Other new features after the jump…
Voice Control: When the user holds down the home button, the voice control interface pops up. Normally, the commands are difficult to remember, but in the background, things like “call,” “play music,” and others scroll by to remind the user how to use the system. You can do such things as ask: “what’s playing now?,” and the iPhone will respond with the answer.
Other new features: Internal compass to make navigating easier, Nike Plus, Hardware encryption, improved battery life that extends the phone from six hours to nine — using WiFi.