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The iPhone is an internet-connected multimedia smartphone designed and marketed by Apple Inc. with a flush multi-touch screen including a virtual keyboard.

DisplayEdit

The 9 cm (3.5 in) liquid crystal display (320×480 px at 6.3 px/mm, 160 ppi) HVGA capacitive touchscreen with scratch-resistant glass[15] is specifically created for use with a finger, or multiple fingers for multi-touch sensing.

Gestures and Input=Edit

For text input, the iPhone implements a virtual keyboard on the touchscreen. It has automatic spell checking and correction, predictive word capabilities, and a dynamic dictionary that learns new words. The keyboard can predict what word the user is typing and complete it, and correct for the accidental pressing of keys adjacent to the presumed desired key. The keys are somewhat larger and spaced farther apart when in landscape mode, which is supported by only a limited number of applications. Holding a finger over a section of text brings up a magnifying glass, allowing users to place the cursor in the middle of existing text. The iPhone does not support cut, copy, or pasting text.[74] The virtual keyboard can accommodate 21 languages, including character recognition for Chinese.[75] A lack of focus on text-messaging is widely considered a chief weakness of the iPhone, although a large number of users evidently have no issue using the device for this purpose

Third party applicationsEdit

The iPhone's operating system is designed to only run software that has an Apple-approved cryptographic signature. This restriction can be overcome by "jailbreaking" the phone,[1] which involves replacing the iPhone's firmware with a slightly modified version that does not enforce the signature check. Doing so may be a circumvention of Apple's technical protection measures. [2]


Application DevelopmentEdit

At WWDC 2007 on June 11, 2007 Apple announced that the iPhone would support third-party "web applications" written in AJAX that share the look and feel of the iPhone interface.[83] On October 17, 2007, Steve Jobs, in an open letter posted to Apple's "Hot News" weblog, announced that a software development kit (SDK) would be made available to third-party developers in February 2008. The iPhone SDK was officially announced on March 6, 2008, at the Apple Town Hall facility.[84] It allows developers to develop native applications for the iPhone and iPod Touch, as well as test them in an "iPhone simulator". However, loading an application onto the devices is only possible after paying a Apple Developer Connection membership fee. Developers are free to set any price for their applications to be distributed through the App Store, of which they will receive a 70 percent share.[85] Developers can also opt to release the application for free and will not pay any costs to release or distribute the application beyond the membership fee. The SDK was made available immediately, while the launch of applications had to wait until the firmware update which was released on July 11, 2008.[81] The update was free for iPhone users, but not for iPod Touch owners, whose devices can run iPhone applications only after paying a small fee.[86]

Once a developer has submitted an application to the App Store, Apple holds firm control over its distribution. For example, Apple can halt the distribution of applications it deems inappropriate as has happened with a US$1000 program that has as sole purpose to demonstrate the wealth of its user.[87]

Apple has been criticized for banning third party applications that enable a functionality that Apple doesn't want the iPhone to have. In 2008, Apple rejected Podcaster, which allowed iPhone users to download podcasts directly to the iPhone claiming it duplicated the functionality of iTunes.[88] Apple has since released a software update that grants this capability.[47] NetShare, another rejected app, would have enabled users to tether iPhones to laptop (or desktop) computers and thereby use the iPhone as an Internet modem.[89]

Many third-party Safari "applications" and unsigned native applications are also available.[90] The ability to install native applications onto the iPhone outside of the App Store will not be supported by Apple. Such native applications could be broken by any software update, but Apple has stated it will not design software updates specifically to break native applications other than applications that perform SIM unlocking.[91] As of September 15, 2008, iPhone software version 2.1 is still "exploitable" by the same method that enabled unsigned applications in software versions as early as version 1.1.3, indicating that Apple is making good on their promise not to intentionally cripple unofficial development.

History and AvailabilityEdit

Development of iPhone began with Apple CEO Steve Jobs' direction that Apple engineers investigate touchscreens.[3] Apple created the device during a secretive and unprecedented collaboration with AT&T Mobility—Cingular Wireless at the time—at a development cost of US$150 million over thirty months. Apple rejected the "design by committee" approach that had yielded the Motorola ROKR E1, a largely unsuccessful collaboration with Motorola. Instead, Cingular gave Apple the liberty to develop the iPhone's hardware and software in-house. Numerous codenames and even fake prototypes were devised to keep the project secret.[4][5]

Jobs unveiled iPhone to the public on January 9, 2007 in a keynote address. Apple was required to file for operating permits with the FCC, but such filings are available to the public, so the announcement came several months before the iPhone received approval. The iPhone went on sale in the United States on June 29, 2007. Apple closed its stores at 2:00 pm local time to prepare for the 6:00 pm iPhone launch, while hundreds of customers lined up at stores nationwide.[6] On launch weekend, Apple sold 270,000 iPhones in the first thirty hours.[7] The original iPhone was made available in the UK, France, and Germany in November 2007, and Ireland and Austria in spring of 2008.

On July 11, 2008, Apple released the iPhone 3G in twenty-two countries, including the original six.[8] Forty-eight more are expected to follow in the months afterwards.[9] Apple sold 1 million iPhone 3Gs in its first 3 days on sale,[10] enough to overload Apple's United States iTunes servers.[11]

On October 21, 2008 Apple announced sales of 6.89 million iPhone 3Gs in the fourth quarter of 2008, totaling 13 million iPhones to date.[12] iPhone sales from that quarter surpassed RIM's BlackBerry sales of 5.2 million units. By revenue, Apple is the third largest mobile phone manufacturer, after Nokia and Samsung.[13] Within Apple's fiscal fourth quarter, up to September 30, 2008, the iPhone represented 39 percent (US$4.6 billion) of the company's total quarterly revenues, although some of this income is deferred.[14]


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