Apple Announces New iPhone 3GS, $199

Apple Inc. today announced a new, faster version of the iPhone, called the iPhone 3GS.

The "S", said the company, stands for Speed -- the new phone will load a Web page three times faster than its predecessors.

It can also shoot video, Apple said. It's a feature critics have said was sorely missing from existing models.

VIDEO: New iPhone

The 3GS can take voice commands, has a more powerful battery, and a starting price of $199 for a version with 16 gigabytes of memory.

There will be a 32 gigabyte version for $299. The new phones will begin to go on sale June 19.

The existing iPhone 3G will remain on the market, with a reduced price of $99, Apple said.

The company also announced 100 free new features for the iPhone's operating software, including the ability to make the easily-lost phone theft-proof.

Apple said if you misplace an iPhone, you can go to your computer and order it to send out an audible signal so it can be found. If it appears to have been stolen or lost for good, you can remotely order it to wipe its memory clean of all your personal data.

Apple said it will now be possible for iPhone owners to download movies without a computer; and to cut, copy and edit material from one iPhone application to another. And it showed off an application that allows you to reserve a ZipCar -- a car-sharing service in many major cities -- find the car with the phone's help, and unlock it, using the iPhone as a virtual key.

New 'Green' MacBooks

Apple also showed off a new series of faster, cheaper -- and more energy-efficient -- versions of its MacBook laptop computers, including one that can run for seven hours on a single battery charge.

The new MacBooks, with screens measuring 13, 15 and 17 inches, and with prices ranging from $1,199 to $2,499, were described by the company as "the world's greenest line of laptops."

They, and other new Apple computers, will have a new, upgraded operating system called Snow Leopard. The firm said the new system will take up 6 gigabytes less space on a computer's hard drive than its predecessor. Along with it will come a new version of Safari, Apple's Web browser -- which the company, making a dig at its competitor Microsoft, said will be 7.8 times faster at running various pages than Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8.

There were also new versions of the popular QuickTime video program, and a new e-mail program.

Those were some highlights of Apple's annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) for software people in San Francisco, an event at which the company often rolls out new products.

The announcements came at the same time as word that Steve Jobs, the inventive, mystical Apple CEO and the man behind the iPhone, iPod, iTunes, Mac computers and many other high-tech success stories, is on the mend after a mystery illness.

Jobs did not appear on stage at the conference today; he had not been expected. Phil Schiller, Apple's marketing chief, hosted the product announcements.

Jobs, 54, has been on medical leave from his post as Apple's chief executive since the beginning of the year, forced by what was only described as a nutritional problem related to a hormone imbalance.

Industry insiders, who asked not to be quoted by name, said the illness may have been quite serious, depriving his body of the ability to digest protein properly. But, they said, he received the necessary help to overcome it.

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