Thursday, June 10, 2010

iPhone brings Star Trek to the modern world

Apple has placed video calling at the centre of its new iPhone, which it considers to be its biggest upgrade since the handset was launched in 2007.

The iPhone model features a new design and offers users a better battery life and improved graphics. However, it was video calling that got the 5,000 crowd at the Worldwide Developers Conference most excited. Steve Jobs, founder and chief executive of Apple, introduced the new service to whoops of delight when he called to Jony Ive, the company’s British-born designer.

“I grew up with The Jetsons and Star Trek, just dreaming about video calling. Now it’s real,” Mr Jobs said.

Video calling has been available since the launch of 3G networks last decade but has yet to catch on with mobile phone users, because of quality and design issues.

Carolina Milanesi, an analyst with Gartner, said that Apple could make video calling a mass market service. “Even though the concept is not new, it’s about what you do with it and how easy you make it. People may say video calling has been around for years, but have they used it? No.”

Britain will be one of the first countries to get the new iPhone 4 when it is launched on June 24. Apple will sell the top-end iPhone 4 for $299 In America and reduce the cost of older iPhones.

O2 and Orange said they would both stock the new iPhone 4 from June 24 but did not reveal pricing. O2 said it would offer a "limited time special upgrade" to its users suggesting customers already using a 3G S but with months left on their contracts may be able to get their hands on the new phone before their long-term deal.