The iPhone is a line of Internet and multimedia-enabled smartphones designed and marketed by Apple Inc. The first iPhone was introduced on January 9, 2007.
An iPhone functions as a camera phone, including text messaging and visual voicemail, a portable media player, and an Internet client, with e-mail, web browsing, and Wi-Fi connectivity. The user interface is built around the device's multi-touch screen, including a virtual keyboard rather than a physical one. Third-party applications are available from the App Store, which launched in mid-2008 and now has well over 300,000 "apps" approved by Apple. These apps have diverse functionalities, including games, reference, GPS navigation, social networking, and advertising for television shows, films, and celebrities.
There are four generations of iPhone models, and they were accompanied by four major releases of iOS (formerly iPhone OS). The original iPhone established design precedents like screen size and button placement that have persisted through all models. The iPhone 3G added 3G cellular network capabilities and A-GPS location. The iPhone 3GS added a compass, faster processor, and higher resolution camera, including video. The iPhone 4 has two cameras for FaceTime video calling and a higher-resolution display. It was released on June 24, 2010. The Wall Street Journal stated on October 6, 2010 that a CDMA version of the iPhone 4 would be released 1st quarter 2011 allowing compatibility with the Verizon Wireless network.
Development of the iPhone began with Apple CEO Steve Jobs' direction that Apple engineers investigate touchscreens. Apple created the device during a secretive and unprecedented collaboration with AT&T Mobility-Cingular Wireless at the time-at an estimated development cost of US$150 million over thirty months. Apple rejected the "design by committee" approach that had yielded the Motorola ROKR E1, a largely unsuccessful collaboration with Motorola. Instead, Cingular gave Apple the liberty to develop the iPhone's hardware and software in-house.
Jobs unveiled the iPhone to the public on January 9, 2007 at Macworld 2007. Apple was required to file for operating permits with the FCC, but since such filings are made available to the public, the announcement came months before the iPhone had received approval. The iPhone went on sale in the United States on June 29, 2007, at 6:00 pm local time, while hundreds of customers lined up outside the stores nationwide. The original iPhone was made available in the UK, France, and Germany in November 2007, and Ireland and Austria in the spring of 2008.
On July 11, 2008, Apple released the iPhone 3G in twenty-two countries, including the original six. Apple released the iPhone 3G in upwards of eighty countries and territories. Apple announced the iPhone 3GS on June 8, 2009, along with plans to release it later in June, July, and August, starting with the U.S., Canada and major European countries on June 19. Many would-be users objected to the iPhone's cost,and 40% of users have household incomes over US$100,000.In an attempt to gain a wider market, Apple retained the 8 GB iPhone 3G at a lower price point. When Apple introduced the iPhone 4, the 3GS became the less expensive model. Apple reduced the price several times since the iPhone's release in 2007, at which time an 8 GB iPhone sold for $599. An iPhone 3GS with the same capacity now costs $99. However, these numbers are misleading, since all iPhone units sold through AT&T require a two-year contract (costing several hundred dollars), and a SIM lock.
Apple sold 6.1 million original iPhone units over five quarters. The company sold 3.8 million iPhone 3G units in the second quarter of fiscal 2009, ending March 2009, and 12.6 million 3G and 3GS combined, totaling 33.75 million iPhones sold to date (Q4 2009). Sales in Q4 2008 surpassed temporarily those of RIM's BlackBerry sales of 5.2 million units, which made Apple briefly the third largest mobile phone manufacturer by revenue, after Nokia and Samsung. Approximately 6.4 million iPhones are active in the U.S. alone.While iPhone sales constitute a significant portion of Apple's revenue, some of this income is deferred.
The back of the original iPhone was made of aluminum with a black plastic accent. The iPhone 3G and 3GS feature a full plastic back to increase the strength of the GSM signal.The iPhone 3G was available in an 8 GB black model, or a black or white option for the 16 GB model. They both are now discontinued. The iPhone 3GS was available in both colors, regardless of storage capacity. The white model was discontinued in favor of a black 8 GB low-end model. The iPhone 4 has an aluminosilicate glass front and back with a stainless steel edge that serves as the antennae. It is available in black; a white version was announced, but has as of October 2010 not been released.
The iPhone has garnered positive reviews from critics like David Pogue and Walter Mossberg.The iPhone attracts users of all ages, and besides consumer use the iPhone has also been adopted for business purposes.
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