Apple finally enters the mobile arena with iPhone launch

LONDON - Apple finalised its intention of entering the mobile market with the launch of the iPhone last night, which brings together elements of the iPod, mobile phone, digital camera and wi-fi internet access.

Although speculated on for some time, the iPhone was officially revealed at the Apple annual Macworld conference in San Francisco. The widescreen device, which runs Mac OS X, has full iTunes integration and can also sync data with a desktop, including music and videos from iTunes, contacts, calendars, photos, notes, bookmarks and email accounts.

Unlike traditional mobile phones, the iPhone does not have a tiny keyboard, instead it comes with a single button and a 3.5-inch touch screen. The touch screen can be used to navigate between playing songs and videos, displaying pictures, typing instant messages or making phone calls.

At the launch Steve Jobs, Apple's chief executive, asked the question what is the new killer app? And answered it by saying that making calls was the new killer app.

Jobs said: "We want to reinvent the phone. What's the killer app? The killer app is making calls. It's amazing how hard it is to make calls on phones. We want you to use contacts like never before.

"iPhone is a revolutionary and magical product that is literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone. We are all born with the ultimate pointing device, our fingers, and iPhone uses them to create the most revolutionary user interface since the mouse."

The iPhone, which comes in two versions, a 4GB $499 (£257) model, and an 8GB $599 (£309) model with a two-year contract, will be available in the US in June. US mobile network Cingular, owned by AT&T, will carry the exclusive contract to provide network coverage and Jobs said Apple anticipates bringing the iPhone to Europe in the fourth quarter of 2007 and Asia in 2008.

Matthew Kirk, director of devices for Orange UK, said: "Today's launch of Apple's iPhone is another example of how the world of entertainment technology is converging. It reinforces our belief here at Orange that we shall see many more similar moves in the future.

"Europe is undergoing a digital revolution and Orange, Apple and other key companies are at the forefront of that. As the technology and entertainment industries merge over the next few years, consumers will be able to do things they previously only ever dreamt of and will be able to access all the services they need from a single provider."

At the conference, Jobs also announced the company would be now ditching the Apple Computer name for the simplified Apple Inc.

Apple also raised hopes of a deal with The Beatles. The two have spent years bickering over the rights to the Apple name and Apple has yet to win the right to sell Beatles songs on iTunes. However, at the launch, one of the band's hit songs, 'Lovely Rita', was played and The Beatles hit album cover 'Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' appeared on another monitor. The iconic cover of 'Abbey Road' was also seen.

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