New iPhone: Faster, More Video, Less (Steve) Jobs

Steve Jobs was nowhere to be found at the Monday kick-off of Apple Inc.’s World Wide Developers Conference, but something else made a splash: new hardware. The iPhone 3G S, which includes the hoped-for 32GB and video capture updates, will go on sale June 19 and will run the new iPhone 3.0 OS.

The next-gen model will cost $199 for the 16GB version and $299 for the 32GB version for “new and qualifying customers,” while iPhone 3G pricing will drop to $99 for the 8GB version. The 16GB iPhone 3G is set to be discontinued and will be available for $149 while supplies last. These subsidized handset prices all require a 2-year service commitment and approved voice and data plan.

Pricing aside, the big news is the internal updating of the handset, which essentially looks the same as the iPhone 3G. The “S” is for speed, as the device is optimized to take advantage of exclusive carrier AT&T Inc.’s new 7.2mbps HSPA upgrade. And of course, the 32MB storage boost is a plus. It also adds a 3-megapixel camera, up from 2 megapixels in the iPhone 3G.

The phone also adds some capabilities that have been glaringly lacking for a smartphone, like video capture at 30 frames per second. Apple has supercharged video recording with share functionality available via Apple’s MobileMe online storage site, MMS message, e-mail or an embedded YouTube widget.

Other new functionality, previously announced, includes cut-and-paste, auto-fill, multi-language support and device tethering. Like the new iPod Shuffle, the iPhone 3G S adds voice-recognition functionality for dialing and control of the iPod functions. The handset also has a security-friendly remote kill switch in case of loss or theft, and it offers hardware support for the OpenGL ES 2.0 standard for video applications.

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