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Apple on Monday delivered a fusillade of groundbreaking Mac and iPhone hardware and software news that helped compensate for the lack of a rumored appearance by CEO Steve Jobs.
In a sizzling keynote at the opening of its Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco, Apple unveiled the iPhone 3G S, a device that Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Product Marketing, described as "the fastest, most powerful iPhone yet."
Apple will launch the iPhone 3G S in the U.S. June 19 and will expand global distribution during the next few months. Apple's U.S. carrier partner AT&T will sell a 16-GB iPhone 3G S for $199 and a brand-new 32-GB model for $299. Apple also slashed the price on the 8-GB iPhone 3G to $99, Schiller said.
On June 17, Apple will launch iPhone OS 3.0, the next-generation iPhone platform that enables many of the long-rumored features for which developers have been clamoring, including: cut, copy, and paste; push notifications; peer-to-peer connectivity; and in-application financial transactions.
Scott Forstall, senior vice president of iPhone Software at Apple, said the dramatically improved performance of iPhone OS 3.0 will be immediately apparent to iPhone users. "It just screams," he said.
Forstall also unveiled Find My iPhone, a service for MobileMe subscribers that lets iPhone users determine the location of lost devices through a Web browser, and, when retrieval isn't possible, to remotely wipe all data from lost devices.
Tethering and multimedia messaging service (MMS) also are supported in iPhone OS 3.0, but it's unclear at this point when they'll be available to U.S. iPhone users.
Tethering allows users to share their iPhone's cellular connection with their computer in areas where Wi-Fi isn't available, but AT&T isn't one of the 22 carriers in 42 countries that have agreed to support it. AT&T also won't be among the 29 carriers supporting MMS when Apple launches the iPhone 3G S, although the carrier is expected to do so later this summer, Schiller said. Each of these revelations was greeted with lusty boos from WWDC attendees.
Among the more than 1,000 new APIs in the iPhone 3.0 SDK is one that enables in-application purchases, allowing developers to embed financial transactions within the application. This could enable game developers to sell additional levels and represents Apple's intention to give App Store developers a way to generate ongoing revenue, Forstall said.