Definition

iPhone

iPhone is a smartphone made by Apple that combines an iPod, a tablet PC, a digital camera and a cellular phone. The device includes Internet browsing and networking capabilities.

iPhone is extremely thin (only 11.6 millimeters thick) but wider and longer than many comparable devices. The display area is a 3.5-inch wide screen multi-touch interface with unusually high resolution (160 pixels per inch). Unlike most other smartphones, iPhone does not use a hardware keyboard or a stylus. To navigate, a user uses multiple taps and drags to navigate through a mobile version of Apple's OS X operating system. Like iPod, iPhone synchronizes data with a user's personal computer, using iTunes as a client software and Apple's proprietary USB port. iPhone is compatible with Microsoft's Windows operating systems, including Vista.

iPhone's networking features include:

  • Automatic detection of WiFi networks.
  • Support for the 802.11b and 802.11g standards.
  • The use of quadband GSM and SIM cards to access cellular networks.
  • EDGE support for high-speed data transfer where available.
  • Bluetooth connectivity for short range networking with peripherals, other iPhones and PCs.

Apple says that iPhone carries 8 hours of life on the internal lithium-ion battery for talk or video, and up to 24 hours for music mode. The device ships with either a 4 or 8 GB hard drive, an Intel CPU and Apple's OS X operating system, modified for mobile use.

iPhone comes preloaded with a suite of media management software and communications software, including iTunes, the Safari Web browser and iPhoto. iPhoto may be used in combination with the 2 megapixel camera on the back of the device. Google's search and mapping services are fully integrated, including the ability to initiate phone calls from within Google Maps. Users can also view YouTube videos on the device, along with Microsoft Office documents and most imaging formats, including .JPEG, .GIF and .TIFF. A partnership with Yahoo allows iPhone users to send and receive rich HTML email. Other IMAP or POP3 e-mail services are integrated as well, along with webmail access in the browser.

While iPhone was released under an exclusive two-year partnership with AT&T Wireless, it took less than three months for hackers working in concert worldwide to unlock the device for use on any GSM network, though the process involved a level of technical sophistication well beyond the consumer level.

This was last updated in September 2007
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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