- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 9, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO

Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs yesterday made the company’s long-awaited jump into the mobile-phone business and renamed the company to just “Apple Inc.,” reflecting its increasing focus on consumer electronics.

The IPhone, which starts at $499, is controlled by touch, plays music, surfs the Internet and runs the Macintosh computer operating system. Mr. Jobs said it will “reinvent” the telecommunications sector and “leapfrog” over the current generation of hard-to-use smart phones.

“Every once in a while a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything,” he said during his keynote address at the annual Macworld Conference and Expo. “It’s very fortunate if you can work on just one of these in your career. … Apple’s been very fortunate in that it’s introduced a few of these.”

He said the name change reflects that Apple has matured from a computer manufacturer to a full-fledged consumer electronics company.

“I didn’t sleep a wink last night,” he said. “I was so excited.”

During his speech, Mr. Jobs also introduced a TV-set-top box that allows people to send video from their computers and announced that the number of songs sold on its ITunes Music Store has topped 2 billion.

Apple shares jumped more than 8 percent on the announcements, rising $7.10 to close at $92.57 on the Nasdaq Stock Market. Shares of rival smart-phone makers plunged. Treo-maker Palm dropped 5.7 percent, BlackBerry’s Research In Motion Ltd. lost 7.9 percent and Motorola Inc. shed 1.8 percent.

Mr. Jobs demonstrated the IPhone’s music capabilities by playing “Lovely Rita,” from the Beatles’ “Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band,” as the album’s psychedelic album art graced a wide-screen monitor.

IPhone uses a patented touch-screen technology Apple is calling “multitouch.”

“We’re going to use a pointing device that we’re all born with,” Mr. Jobs said. “It works like magic. …It’s far more accurate than any touch display ever shipped. It ignores unintended touches. It’s supersmart.”

The phone automatically synchronizes your media — movies, music, photos — through Apple’s ITunes Music Store. The device also synchronizes e-mail content, Web bookmarks and nearly any type of digital content stored on your computer.

“It’s just like an IPod,” Mr. Jobs said, “charge and sync.”

The phones, which will operate exclusively on AT&T; Inc.’s Cingular wireless network, will start shipping in June. A four-gigabyte model will cost $499, while an eight-gigabyte IPhone will be $599, Mr. Jobs said.

IPhone is less than a half-inch thin — less than almost any phone on the market today. It comes with a two-megapixel digital camera built into the back, as well as a slot for headphones and a SIM card that stores information.

In a demonstration yesterday, Mr. Jobs slid his finger across the display to reveal a home screen and then scrolled through a list of songs.

To make a call, users can tap out the number on an on-screen keypad or scroll through their contacts and dial with a single touch.

Apple is also introducing what it calls “visual voice mail,” so users can jump to the most important messages rather than have to listen to all of them in order.

The phone supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless technology and can detect location from Global Positioning System satellites. It also can send and display e-mail and text messages. Apple is partnering with Yahoo Inc. on Web-based e-mail and Google Inc. on maps.

With a few finger taps, Mr. Jobs demonstrated how to pull up a Google Maps site and find the closest Starbucks to the Moscone Center, where the convention has been held. He then prank-called the cafe and ordered 4,000 lattes to go before quickly hanging up.

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