Apple offers new iPhone

Detroit Free Press

Now there's iPhone 2.0, a much upgraded version of the trendy smartphone from Apple that forever changed the way mobile devices communicate when it was first introduced a year ago.

The new version, announced Monday at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, refines many of the features, adds many more, and targets a major new audience: the corporate user.

By adding push e-mail and over-the-air synchronization of calendars and contact lists that supports the Microsoft Exchange Server that processes e-mail for most corporations, the iPhone now becomes a rival of Research In Motion's BlackBerry, the dominant smartphone that is so popular with corporate types that it's been dubbed “the CrackBerry.”

The iPhone 2.0 upgrade, all software based and Internet delivered, will be free to all iPhone users in early July.

But there will also be an entirely new iPhone model the iPhone 3G – running new hardware on the AT&T 3G or Third Generation high-speed wireless data network that delivers near broadband speeds. It will be available at Apple and AT&T stores starting July 11.

A major criticism of the first iPhone was that it was stuck on the much more stodgy EDGE network of AT&T, mostly because of hardware limitations.

The iPhone 3G, said Jobs, operates at 2.8 times faster than the models that run on EDGE.

In the U.S., AT&T has exclusive rights to the iPhone, reportedly for several years yet. It's been a huge boost to AT&T, much to the chagrin of Verizon and Sprint and other carriers whose customers can't use the iPhone.

The new iPhone 3G has all new and more powerful hardware that not only operates at faster wireless speeds but is capable of offering such new features as Global Positioning System navigation that can pinpoint a user's exact location, show it on a map and help plot turn-by-turn directions.

The iPhone 3G will start in price at $199 for an 8GB model in a black case. There will also be a $299 16GB model that will come in either a black plastic or white case.