As expected, Steve Jobs took the to the stage at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco today -- well, 3AM local Sydney time, but who's counting? -- and announced the availability of the 3G iPhone.
Well, first Jobs and other Apple executives discussed the iPhone SDK at some length, talking about the new features to be added to the iPhone -- or "iPhone 2.0" as Apple's apparently calling it -- before bringing the newer, slightly thinner 3G iPhone into play.
First, the key specs. It's 3G/EDGE/GSM/WiFi capable, and will apparently browse to the best available network. Australia is amongst the first 22 countries that will get the 3G iPhone on July 11th, with a promised 70 countries in the next couple of months.
With the Sydney Apple store now set to open on June 19th, that means the early queuing types won't actually be queuing for a 3G iPhone. Standby time was quoted at "up to" 200 hours, with 3G talk time of 5 hours, and 2G talk time of 10 hours. That's in line with other 3G phones, although quite how the newly announced GPS module -- which uses a mixture of GPS, WiFi location and mobile phone tower triangulation -- will affect battery life remains to be seen.
It's available in Silver and White (16GB model only), and includes a raft of new features, including ActiveSync support, applications including iWork document support -- and MS Office as well -- eBay bidding, localised AP news services, and new games, all via the iTunes App Store.
Some applications will be free, while those demonstrated today appear to carry an asking price of US$9.99. Apple also announced a number of updates to the iPhone software suite, and, just like the last time it did this, the updates will be free. Well, free if you're a 2G iPhone user; iPod Touch users will get slugged US$9.95 once the updates are available.
Of note, the Australian Apple Web site doesn't yet list a price for the 3G iPhone -- Jobs said on stage in San Francisco that the 8GB model would cost US$199 and the 16GB model US$299, although those who don't like lock-in contracts should note that the US prices include two years of locked in service with AT&T.
Apple Australia's Web site store has a link for the 3G iPhone, but that just redirects you to purchase from the two currently announced iPhone providers, Optus and Vodafone. Well, it did before the page fell over in a flaming lump of metal, which tends to happen whenever Apple announces a shiny new product.
The official press release from Apple and Optus noted that "Further details regarding the availability of iPhone 3G from Optus including pricing, plans and offers will be announced at a later date." Vodafone's release has a little smidgen more -- "iPhone 3G will be available via Vodafone on both prepay and contract price plans which will include great value data bundles." Still, it's definitely a case of sitting tight and waiting to be told what's good for us.
The other key news coming out of the keynote include the rebranding of the .MAC service to MobileMe and the the next update to Mac OS X, which is now officially known as "Snow Leopard". Due to the amount of iPhone information that Apple was keen to present, no further details of the update were made at keynote time, but presumably they'll come trickling out over the next day or so.