Apple today unveiled a faster iPhone and dropped the price of the existing model to $99.
The new iPhone 3GS (for "speed") comes with a 3-megapixel, auto-focus camera that also captures video. It also has voice control for dialing and iPod playback.
The price through U.S. partner AT&T: $199 for 16 GB and $299 for 32 GB. It's available in black and white, like earlier models.
The price of the current 8GB model drops to $99. The new 3GS will be out in the U.S. on June 19.
New operating system software will be available worldwide June 17, free for iPhone users, and $9.95 for iPod Touch users.
Highlights include cut-and-paste controls and MMS visual text messages — so you can add pictures and audio clips to text messages .
Another feature, tethering, allows an iPhone to share its Internet connection with a PC. The two devices are linked either by USB cable or wirelessly, using Bluetooth Technology.
But tethering is not yet supported by AT&T, the only official carrier for the iPhone in the U.S. "AT&T is behind the ball," says tech analyst Tim Bajarin with researcher Creative Strategies. "Pressure is on them. I expect tethering...before the fall."
A new feature called "Find My iPhone" displays a visual map, showing the location of your iPhone (if it's on). It is only available if you subscribe to Apple's Mobile Me service, which costs $99 yearly. It also lets you erase your phone, "so you know your private data remains private," Scott Forstall, Apple's senior vice president of iPhone applications, said at a presentation kicking off the company's annual conference for software developers.
A similar offering came from Zipcar, a company which offers short-term car rentals in metro areas. Can't find your car after it's been parked? Use the iPhone to locate your lost car—by clicking a button and honking the car via the iPhone to locate. The door can also be unlocked, via the iPhone.
Apple offered the stage to several developers, who demonstrated a range of new Apps:
•A medical app monitors patients heartbeats remotely, from Airstrip Technologies. It is currently awaiting FDA approval.
•GPS veteran TomTom brings audio turn-by-turn directions to the iPhone, with a GPS app that comes with an optional accessory that plugs the iPhone into the battery charger and displays it on your windshield. No pricing was announced. The iPhone has GPS now, but it doesn't offer audio turn by turn directions.
•An e-reader app, Scrollmotion, will have 170 daily newspapers, 1 million books and 50 magazines for sale, via its App. Additionally, it will offer textbooks, and use the cut and paste features for research.
Beyond the iPhone, Apple introduced revised versions of its MacBook Pro notebooks, with lower prices, improved battery life and more storage capacities. The computers, available today, start at $1,199 and now have SD slots on the side to import pictures without having to plug in a camera.
SD slots are standard features on many desktops.
Apple said its operating system upgrade, Snow Leopard, will be available in September for $129. For current users of Leopard, an upgrade will sell for $29.
Rival Microsoft will have its new version of Windows, Windows 7, out in October.
Apple released a test version of Snow Leopard to developers.
It also unveiled a beta upgrade of Safari 4, its web browser (available at apple.com/safari).
Apple says the new version of the browser is "the fastest and most innovative" out there.
New features include visual search history of web pages and a new version of QuickTime, the video player used to play videos on the Mac and Windows computers.