iPhone 3GS News, Updated MacBook Pros

Apple announces its third generation iPhone and some MacBook Pro updates

There has been tremendous buzz surrounding the follow-up to Apple’s hugely successful iPhone 3G. While the original iPhone put Apple on the map in the world of smartphones, it was the iPhone 3G’s lower price of entry and enhanced features/speed which put the smartphone over the top (and brought AT&T a wealth of new wireless subscribers). Together, there have been over 40 million iPhones and iPod touches sold around the world according to Apple.

Today at the Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, Apple introduced its third generation iPhone: the iPhone 3GS (the “S” stands for Speed). The latest iPhone confirms most of the rumors that have been swirling around for the past few months.

The iPhone 3GS is available in capacities of 16GB and 32GB – both will be available in black and white. The phone also features a new 3MP webcam (now capable of recording 30 fps video) on the back of the device. The iPhone 3GS also has the ability to edit videos directly on the device.

In addition, the new iPhone 3GS promises better battery life (see image to the right) despite the increased processing power. Speaking of processing power, Apple brags about 2x to 3.6x speed performance improvements over a wide range of apps.

Another new addition to the iPhone 3GS is the increase in data transfer speeds from 3.6Mbps to 7.2Mbps HSDPA. AG&T already announced plans to beef up its data networks to handle the faster transfer speeds.

Voice dialing is also coming to the iPhone 3GS – something that most other phones have already had for years. However, the voice commands also extend to other aspects of the iPhone 3GS like “previous track”, “play album” or “play songs by The Killers” within the Music app.

Other new hardware features include a built-in digital compass, Nike+ support, and hardware encryption.

As you may have already surmised, the iPhone 3GS is sporting OS 3.0 which was announced way back in March. IPhone OS 3.0 brings a wealth of new features including long-requested support for copy and paste, MMS, turn-by-turn directions, voice memo recording, Spotlight search, landscape email/notes/messaging, 3G tethering (via Bluetooth or USB), stereo Bluetooth (A2DP), peer-to-peer Bluetooth connectivity, and more. IPhone OS 3.0 will be available to download on June 17 (free for iPhone users, $9.95 for iPod touch users).

As expected, pricing for the new 16GB and 32GB iPhone 3GS will mirror the prices of the current 8GB and 16GB iPhone 3Gs: $199 and $299 respectively. To make things even more interesting, Apple is also discounting the price of the iPhone 3G (8GB model) to $99 to further expand its user base — the new price is effective today. The iPhone 3GS will be available June 17.

Apple also announced updates to its MacBook Pro lineup. The new 15” MacBook Pro is available with up to 3.06GHz dual core processor, 8GB of RAM, and up to a 500GB HDD (or 256GB SSD). It features a 7-hour runtime with its built-in battery. Interestingly, Apple has finally stepped into modern times by equipping the 15″ MacBook Pro with a Secure Digital (SD) slot.

The base system will retail for $1,699 with a 2.53GHz processor and integrated NVIDIA GeForce 9400M graphics, and ramp up quickly from there (with higher-tier models getting discrete NVIDIA GeForce 9600M GT graphics).

The 13″ aluminum MacBook was also updated to include an integrated battery, SD slot, and Firewire 800 — it is also now called a MacBook Pro. The base $1,199 system comes with 2GB of memory, a 2.26GHz processor, GeForce 9400M graphics, and a 160GB HDD. Stepping up to a 2.53GHz processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 250GB HDD will set you back $1,499. The new 13″ MacBook Pro also has battery life of up to 7 hours.

The other big addition is with the updated MacBook Air. The machine now retails for $1,499 in its base configuration (1.86GHz Core 2 Duo, 2GB, 9400M, 120GB HDD) and $1,799 with a 2.13GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 9400M, and a 128GB SSD.

All of the new MacBooks are available to purchase today.

I’ll post more info to Twitter, as it becomes available – twitter.com/stevenRobert

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