Apple announces faster iPhone 3GS

By Calvin Palmer

Apple announced a new range of iPhones today and cut the price of the least expensive version in the US.

The two new models of the iPhone — the 3GS — sport a faster processor and sought-after features like an internal compass, a video camera and an improved photo camera.

Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide product marketing at Apple, told delegates at the WWDC conference in San Francisco: “People expect a great phone with a great user experience. This is it. The iPhone 3GS is a really fast phone.”

A 16-gigabyte version of the 3G S will cost $199 and a 32-gigabyte model will be $299, while the 8-gigabyte iPhone 3G, which came out last year, will be cut to $99 from $199.

The software accompanying the iPhone 3GS will be available as a free download to existing iPhone users and includes copy and paste to the iPhone, as well as the ability to search for photos, emails and documents across the whole device.

It adds turn-by-turn directions to Google Maps, enabling the iPhone to be used as a sat-nav device, and push-notifications, so users can be alerted whenever they receive a new instant message. It also means certain applications, such as sports applications, can instantly alert users whenever a touchdown is scored.

One of the best new features is Find My iPhone, a new tracking service that allows iPhone owners to pinpoint the location of lost or stolen handsets, and even to remotely wipe their device.

Apple also announced improvements to its range of notebook computers, adding more memory and faster processors to the 15in MacBook Pro and introducing a new 13in MacBook Pro. Both laptops will boast up to seven hours of battery life, and an SD card slot.

Apple also unveiled details of its next-generation OS, Snow Leopard. The software will take up 6GB less hard disk space than the Leopard OS, and also features enhanced tools to make it quicker and easier for users to write emails, share videos, edit photos, and find important documents.

Despite anticipation that he might make a cameo appearance at today’s presentation, Apple CEO Steve Jobs did not take the stage. He is due back from his medical leave at the end of this month.

The newest iPhones go on sale on June 19, just as two-year contracts for the buyers of the original models are expiring and Apple’s phone faces tougher competition from the likes of Research in Motion Ltd. and Palm Inc.

[Based on reports by the Press Association and The Daily Telegraph.]

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