iPhone Gains Speed and .mac Mobilizes

Apple announced the next version of the iPhone with the tag line “Twice as fast. Half the price.” The new unannounced, but heavily rumored features are 3G (HSDPA), GPS, and MobileMe. The rest of the story is the new 2.0 version of the firmware that includes Enterprise features, support for 3rd party applications, and worldwide support (ie: 70+ languages). Thanks to MacRumorsLive I was able to read the keynote information through live streaming.

Price (Purchase Page)
The price with AT&T 2-year contract is now $199 for 8GB and $299 for 16GB, which should allow for a much wider adoption. I would consider getting one if it were $100 cheaper for the 16GB. I really think with a 2-year agreement, Apple should take their losses on the purchase of the phone, knowing they’ll make it up due to their cut on the monthly fees in the required contract.

Features (Apple’s Feature Page)
To quickly run over the features they include: 3G, GPS, Bluetooth, App Store, Exchange support, push contacts, push calendar, push email, instant contact search, VPN, WPA2, MobileMe, email attachments, additional languages, better email management, scientific calculator, and more. All software updates will be available to current iPhone users.

3rd Party Apps (App Store Info)
This will be the killer feature for sure. The new application support will be a great improvement. I’d love to test out development if only I could afford a new Mac right now, or if they supported development on Win/Linux. People have already been putting apps by hacking the phone. The interesting thing Apple decided to do was create a Push notification service that will allow the iPhone to connect only to apple to get notifications for ANY application, and will relay the information from the 3rd party to the iPhone user. This will allow IM to feel like it’s running in the background, even though technically it is not. I believe this will be a great feature, and will as they claim keep stability and battery life in check.

MobileMe (MobileMe Info)
The last, but not least announcement was the upgrade to the service previously coined “Dot Mac”. This service allows you to sync Email, Calendar, Contacts, Photos, and more across computers, the iPhone, and the Internet. They give you 20GB of space now to store everything. Finally this is a service that is almost complete enough to merit the price of $99/year. Apple touts it as Exchange for the Rest of us.

There is much more to be found on Apple’s website, as well as many other sites. Check out TechMeme for the flood of information.