Apple’s iPhone to ‘Revolutionize’ Mobile Sector

Apple Computer announced its entry into the cellphone market this week, proudly unveiling its iPhone, which the company hopes will emulate the revolutionary success of the iPod.


Apple chief executive Steve Jobs introduced the sleek new device – which also offers internet access, a music player and a digital camera – at the Macworld Conference and Expo in San Francisco on Tuesday.

“Every once in a while a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything,” Jobs said.

“It’s like having the internet in your pocket,” the Apple CEO said. “It’s the ultimate digital device. It’s like having your life in your pocket.”

Apple’s shares surged US$4.20, or 4.9 percent, to $89.67 in the immediate wake of the company’s announcement.

The iPhone is ultra-slim – less than half an inch thick – boasting a phone, internet capability and an MP3 player as well as featuring a 2-megapixel digital camera.

Two versions of the iPhone will be released, a 4-gigabyte version priced at $499 and an 8-gigabyte version at $599. The devices would be shipped to American stores in June, Jobs said.

Apple expects to make it available in Asia by 2008.

“This is a leapfrog product with a revolutionary new interface with software five years ahead of any other phone and desktop-class applications, not those crippled applications you find on those other phones,” Jobs said.

“Most advanced phones are called smart phones,” said Jobs. “But they are actually not so smart, and really not so easy to use.

“When you get a chance to get your hands on it, I think you’ll agree we’ve reinvented the phone,” he said.

Jobs said he was confident the three-device-in-one iPhone would become the next iconic, must-have gadget, following on from the iPod phenomenon, despite competition.

“We always have stiff competition,” Jobs said. “That’s just the nature of the business.”

Apple has crushed competitors in the music player market since the release of the iPod. To date, Apple has sold two billion songs on iTunes, its online music service. “That’s five million songs a day, making Apple the fourth largest music vendor,” Jobs said.

In a demonstration, Jobs accessed Google maps satellite imaging and within seconds zoomed in on the Washington Monument, then the Eiffel Tower and finally checked Apple’s rapidly rising stock.

He also phoned a local coffee bar and jokingly ordered 4,000 lattes for his assembled guests.

Jobs unveiled a separate device that will allow users to transfer video from their computers to televisions.

The set-top unit, known as Apple TV, enables viewers to stream digitally downloaded video from a desktop or laptop computer to a television, complementing Apple’s online film service available through its iTunes store. “This is a really cool box,” Jobs said.

Apple TV comes equipped with a 40-gigabyte hard drive capable of storing up to 50 hours of video programming. It will be able to store videos, photos and music sent from computers within wireless range.

The video box will be available in February, priced at $299.

Separately, US computer network giant Cisco announced on Wednesday that it had sued Apple to stop it from naming its new cellphone iPhone, saying it had owned the trademark for several years.

Cisco said in a statement it had obtained the trademark in 2000 after acquiring Infogear, which owned the iPhone name.

“Cisco entered into negotiations with Apple in good faith after Apple repeatedly asked permission to use Cisco’s iPhone name,” Mark Chandler, senior vice president and general counsel at Cisco, said in a statement.

“There is no doubt that Apple’s new phone is very exciting, but they should not be using our trademark without our permission,” he said.

The lawsuit, filed in US District Court for the Northern District of California, seeks to prevent Apple from “infringing upon and deliberately copying and using Cisco’s registered iPhone trademark,” Cisco said.

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