The iPhone dominated the news last week after two events provided new and rare details about the most hotly anticipated tech product since the original Mac computer in 1984.
Press coverage is running at a fever pitch in advance of the iPhone's June 29 US launch. The iPhone is due in Europe later this year, provided Apple can get onside with operators (see Arrogant Apple's iPhone woes).
Search for ‘iPhone’ on Google News, and you'll get 8,062 recent stories. On Google itself, the query brings up some 64 million hits.
A week ago, an ‘iPhone Sales Training Workbook’ for AT&T Wireless employees was leaked to the press through the MacRumors forum, revealing some details about the device. And Apple CEO Steve Jobs revealed a few more facts during his Worldwide Developers Conference keynote last Monday.
Despite all the coverage, it's hard to separate opinion from the facts, the new details from the old. So here are the six new facts we learned this week about the Apple iPhone.
1. The iPhone is a communications mixed bag, with support for IMAP, POP3 and Yahoo Push email. It will automatically recognise phone numbers in email messages and provide one-click access to dialling them. However, it will not support Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS), so users won't be able to send text messages with pictures or video to other mobile phone users. The iPhone will not let users ‘chat’ with friends directly via instant messaging (IM).
2. When you're watching a video on the iPhone and a call comes in, the video will automatically pause while you take the call, then resume when you hang up.
3. The iPhone does not offer Global Positioning System (GPS) capability.
4. Third-party applications will be allowed only as web-based applications loaded from the internet on the iPhone's Safari web browser. Apple will roll out a Windows version of Safari, which should drive support, application development and awareness of the browser to improve the Safari-centric iPhone experience, especially for Windows users.
5. In order to use an iPhone, buyers will be required to first set up an account with the iTunes store using their credit cards, even if they have no intention of buying anything there. This is in addition to the required carrier contract with AT&T. Current iTunes account holders will be able to use existing accounts.
6. We already knew that iTunes would provide sync capability between iPhone and email, contacts, calendar, photos and other data on both PCs and Macs. We learned this week that the synchronisation is automatic when the iPhone is plugged in.