iphone.jpgAt its annual Macworld in San Francisco, Apple Computer, Inc (wait, now Apple Inc.) announced yesterday two devices that it hopes to help further integrate itself into your life like never before. These two products were rumored for a long time, causing many years of heart ache and pain to faithful.

The most exciting product to come out today was by far the iPhone. Rumored forever and in development for two and a half years this device is looking to change the way you communicate, by making it simpler and more effective to do so.

Apple hopes to do this in a number of ways. By combining different devices in to one (thus reducing the amount you have to carry) as well as removing some of the limitations (such as keypad or stylus of todays 'smart phones') they hope to continue to capitalize on their minimalist design philosophy. They took the best of the iPod, added Phone and Internet support and put it a hot sleek device.

Housed in a 4.5in x 2.4in x 0.46 frame this device contains:

  • a 3.5 inch widescreen touch screen
  • Quad Band GSM + Edge phone and data services
  • a 2.0 mega pixel camera
  • wireless networking (802.11b/g)
  • bluetooth 2.0

With all that techno goodness you can do things like you do now with your iPod (music, video, photos) but it brings the addition of traditional phone services (calling, voicemail, sms), email, full internet (not a WAP client, it's based on Safari - Apples browser), maps (it even knows your location to find the nearest Starbucks!) and even Widgets, Apple's brand of Javascript / HTML information gathers that were introduced in its last OS release. With widgets, you can get information like stocks and weather constantly updated, so it's always accurate.

There are however a few down sides so far about this device:

  1. As much as we love the iPod, we're kinda growing sick of the finger prints, scratches and the general coddling required in order to keep it in a like new condition. This new phone on the front looks to be a grease magnet.
  2. It's not available till June, so one can't help but wonder how much it will cannibalize their existing iPod sales when people know that something this sweet is a few months away.
  3. It's currently a Cingular exclusive requiring a two year contract. This means a few things. Any current Cingular customer will likely have to pay a higher price for the phone, plus sign a two year contract. These 'reduced' signup rates usually don't apply when they've already got you in. Any fan on T-Mobile will have to break their contract and switch to Cingular. Verizon and Sprint customers need not apply, cause this phone can't work on your network.
  4. Batter life. It's only 5 hours when you are using Talk/Video/Browsing, and it extends to 16 when you're just playing back audio. Plus the battery isn't replaceable. Any current iPod user or early Treo supporters know how annoying that is.

However, any debate about it at this point is most likely moot. While currently in its advanced stages, the device is unreleased and features and pricing can change between now and its June release date.

Personally, we will be lusting some hot iPhone action until June, and debating how to break that T-Mobile contract we just resigned. Hopefully Apple will release an unlocked version of the phone for people like us. But this would mean that features that Apple and Cingular have created together (like Random Access Voice Mail - gives you a list of all your voice mail and lets you choose what you want to hear) will not work on competing networks (much like the Sidekick flip phone on T-Mobile) and that the dirty experience wont make the unlocked version worth it.

Price is $499 for a 4GB model, and $599 for a 8GB model. Both of these models require a two year contract agreement.

appletv.jpg

Also we have the Apple TV. Originally announced in a September preview, this device connects to your TV via HDMI or Component, and to your Mac via 802.11b/g/n or Ethernet. It supports 720p HD content and comes with a 40GB hard drive to store your content.

With it you can stream Photos, Music or Video instantly from up to five computers. You can also have it set up to sync content from one computer automatically (making it six total?), with the device being smart enough to push the most recently downloaded unwatched episodes of Law & Order to your Apple TV that you've been dying to see. It will also pull and play movie trailers from Apple's site, which seems like it could turn into a bit more of an advanced e-commerce solution down the line.

The Apple TV is $299 and available in February.

What do you think about the iPhone? Will you be picking up one, or does your hatred for Cingular coverage in New York City put you off as well? How about the AppleTV, does something like make sense in the small apartment spaces of NYC where you can just run a wire?

If you have free time, head over to Apple's iPhone product demo pages. Quite drool-inducing.