Apple unveils iPhone 3G, retail launch coming July 11

Just as expected, Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled a new iPhone at the Worldwide Developers Conference keynote earlier today. Named simply the iPhone 3G, the new smart phone boasts an updated design, 3G network connectivity, a built-in GPS, and a drastically reduced price—just $199 for the 8GB model and $299 for its 16GB sibling.

Judging by Engadget’s account of the keynote speech, Jobs demonstrated the new iPhone’s 3G connectivity alongside Wi-Fi and EDGE in a handful of tasks, revealing performance “approaching Wi-Fi.” The addition of 3G also doesn’t hurt battery life too much: Apple claims the same 7 hours of video playback and 24 hours of audio playback, but with a 300-hour standby time instead of 250 hours. 2G talk time has gone up from eight to 10 hours, while 3G talk time is just five hours, and browsing is “5-6” hours (down slightly from six hours on the original).

The iPhone 3G. Source: Apple.

Along with the new hardware, software took up a big part of the keynote. The new iPhone has full Exchange support, and Apple plans to roll out new services including the App Store and MobileMe, a $99-a-year online service that will store 20GB of user data including e-mails, contacts, and calendars and allow synchronization between iPhones and computers. The iPhone App Store will allow users to download new software, including upcoming third-party apps like games, wirelessly.

Apple plans to release the iPhone 3G worldwide on July 11. The launch will initially be limited to 22 countries, but Apple intends to have a presence in 70 countries over the next few months.

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