Apple on Monday unveiled a next-generation iPhone with faster Internet access that will run on advanced wireless networks and sell for as low as $199 -- half the current entry-level price.
Improved e-mail features for the iPhone are intended to woo business people, while its ability to run on faster networks is key to Apple's push to gain market share in Europe and Asia.
"It's amazingly zippy," Jobs said, showing off the encore to a device that melds a mobile phone, iPod media player and Web browser, nearly a year after the original went on sale.
The new one, which looks similar to the old one but with glossy black or white plastic in place of a metal back cover, loads Internet pages 2.8 times faster than the original, he said. It also comes with a built-in GPS for expanded location based mobile services.
An entry-level version of the new iPhone, with 8 gigabytes of memory, will cost $199, versus $399 for an older iPhone with similar memory. A version of the new one with twice the memory will cost $299.
The new phones will go on sale on July 11 in 22 countries and regions, expanding to 70 by the end of the year.
THe introduction of the new iPhone 3G positions Apple well vis a vis other smart-phone competitors such as Nokia and RIM, since it is now priced at the mass market.
A new service, "MobileMe," will automatically send e-mail and other information to iPhones, similar to Microsoft's Exchange e-mail server product. The pay service will replace Apple's .Mac service and offer Web applications intended to make the phone work more like a desktop computer.
"Think of MobileMe as ?Exchange for the rest of us,?" said Steve Jobs, Apple?s CEO. "Now users who are not part of an enterprise that runs Exchange can get the same push email, push calendars and push contacts that the big guys get."
MobileMe, available on July 11, is a subscription-based service with 20GB of storage for $99 (US) per year for individuals and $149 (US) for a Family Pack, which includes one master account with 20GB of storage and four Family Member accounts with 5GB of storage each. Users can sign up for a free, 60-day MobileMe trial at www.apple.com/mobileme and current .Mac members will be automatically upgraded to MobileMe accounts. MobileMe subscribers can purchase an additional 20GB of storage for $49 (US) or 40GB of storage for $99 (US) annually.
Jobs said Apple has sold 6 million iPhones so far.