The iPhone is a line of Internet and multimedia-enabled smartphones designed and marketed by Apple Inc., and originally released in 2007. An iPhone functions as a camera phone (also including text messaging and visual voicemail), a portable media player (equivalent to a video iPod), 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 200,000 “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 have been four versions, or generations, of iPhone hardware, and they have been accompanied by four major releases of iOS (formerly iPhone OS). Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced the iPhone on January 9, 2007, after months of rumors and speculation. Retroactively labeled, the “original” iPhone was introduced in the United States on June 29, 2007 before being marketed in Europe. It featured quad-band GSM with EDGE. Time magazine named it the Invention of the Year in 2007. The iPod Touch, with the media and internet capabilities of an iPhone, but no phone, released in September 2007. Apple released an SDK on March 6, 2008, allowing developers to create the apps that would be available starting in iPhone OS version 2.0. The iPhone 3G was announced on June 9, 2008, and released July 11, replacing the original model. It supported faster 3G data speeds via UMTS with 3.6 Mbps HSDPA, included assisted GPS, and ran the 2.0 software. Apple announced iPhone OS 3.0 on June 17, 2009, and it included cut, copy, and paste and more search capabilities. The iPhone 3GS, which runs the 3.0 software, has improved performance, a camera with higher resolution and video capability, voice control, and support for 7.2 Mbps HSDPA downloading (but remains limited to 384 kbps uploading as Apple has not implemented the HSUPA protocol). It was released in the U.S., Canada and six European countries on June 19, 2009, in Australia and Japan on June 26, and internationally in July and August 2009.The iPhone 3G remained available at a reduced price.
On June 7, 2010 the iPhone 4 was introduced at WWDC by Steve Jobs, and will begin shipping on June 24, 2010; pre-orders begin on June 15, 2010. The iPhone 3GS will replace the iPhone 3G as the low-end model. The iPhone 4 will feature FaceTime video conferencing over Wi-Fi. It will also feature Apple’s A4 microprocessor, a 5 megapixel camera featuring HD video-recording, a front facing camera for FaceTime video conferencing, and will be running the renamed iOS 4 mobile operating system, which will be released on June 21, 2010.