Apple’s New 3G S Uses Speed and Video to Widen the Gap with Rivals

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Apple continued to mop the floor with its smartphone rivals by introducing a new iPhone called the 3G S that is packed with an array of new features such as faster processing, sharper camera and the coup de grâce — video capture.

Switch between the camera's app from still photo to video and you'll get 30 frames per second, VGA with audio, auto-focus, auto-white balance and auto-exposure. You can also edit using the end and start points of scenes.

Your videos are stored alongside your still images. You also can share videos from your iPhone 3GS to YouTube, MobileMe, MMS, and email.

There's an Application Programming Interface (more commonly called an API) for video in the OS 3.0 software developer's kit, so you can expect many developers will incorporate video capture into their apps.

Apple's engineers also spiffed up the 3G S still camera capabilities. It features a new 3 megapixel camera and auto-adjusts focus, exposure, color and contrast for the best possible image and includes an automatic macro focus for extra close up shots of about 4 inches. With the new "tap to focus" feature, you touch the display to select an object or area of interest and the camera automatically re-adjusts focus and exposure.

It just keeps getting better: Now there’s voice control. Hold down the home button for a second and the iPhone will display its voice-control interface. Say "Call Barbara" and it's off the hook. If your callee has more than one telephone number, the interface will ask to say which one to use. Have 15,000-plus songs in your 3G S? Say, "Kings of Leon" and your music will start playing. Last, you can ask what's playing now or activate Genius and play similar songs at your tap and call.

The S in 3G S is short for speed. Apple says it’s up twice as fast as iPhone 3G, so you can render Web pages quicker and launch applications faster. iPhone 3G S takes advantage of the OpenGL ES 2.0 standard for better quality 3D graphics, making mobile gaming and other graphic intense apps better.

“iPhone 3G S is not only faster, but with longer battery life you can watch more videos, listen to more music, browse the Internet or keep using your favorite apps even longer.,” says Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of WorldWide Product Marketing. The new iPhone 3G S also supports 7.2 Mbps HSDPA for faster networking speeds.”

Appearances are deceiving and that's not cliché for this new iPhone. It's electronic intestines have been completely reworked but it looks the same on its gleaming exterior.

Last, there’s quite a bit of fine print in all of this hoopla:

iPhone 3G S will be available in the US on June 19 for a suggested retail price of $199 (US) for the 16GB model and just $299 (US) for the new 32GB model in both Apple and AT&T's retail and online stores, Best Buy and Wal-Mart stores. iPhone 3G S requires a new 2-year contract with AT&T for qualifying customers. iPhone OS 3.0 software will be available on June 17 as a free software update via iTunes 8.2 or later for all iPhone customers. iPod touch customers will be able to purchase a software update for $9.95 (US). Beginning June 8, iPhone 3G will be available for just $99 (US) for the 8GB model. New MobileMe features for iPhone require iPhone OS 3.0. MobileMe is available for an annual subscription price of $99 (US).

iPhone 3G S will also be available in more than 80 countries in the coming weeks. For further information about US and international pricing and availability visit www.apple.com/iphone.

*MMS messaging is available only on iPhone 3G or iPhone 3G S; fees may apply. MMS may not be available in all areas. MMS support from AT&T will be available in late summer.

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