Apple Inc's iPhone has been a smash hit, that has redefined the smart-phone market and created a new hand-held computing platform attracting over 50,000 third-party apps or software programmes in about a year.
Since June 2007 when the it was launched, the phone along with its identical sibling, the iPod Touch has notched combined sales of 40 million units.
But the iPhone now has competition from entrenched smart-phone makers, most notably form Palm's impressive new offering Pre, which has sold an estimated 100,000 or more units since its launch on 6 June (See: The New Palm Pre)
But Apple is by no means resting on its laurels, it is moving and has lined up two new products to consolidate its position in the new generation of hand-held computers.
One of the new offerings is a refreshed model of the iPhone called the iPhone 3GS which has the same looks but is faster, has more memory, higher battery life and some new features to boot including video recording and a better camera for still photos.
The other product is the OS 3.0, which is the third version of the iPhone's operating system. It comes with the 3G S and can also be installed on all prior iPhones and Touches. It features a longer list of added features, some innovative and some long overdue catch-ups to other phones. These include such widely requested capabilities as cut, copy and paste systemwide searching a wider virtual keyboard; and a feature called MMS that enables photos and videos to be directly sent to other phones without email.
Apple has also moved quickly with other initiatives to complement the new offerings. In a bold business move it has decided to continue making the current model, the iPhone 3G and cut its price by half to $99, which makes and pocket computer of the size and power of iPhone 3G available to the consumer at an unheard of price tag.
According to gadget geeks both the new phone and the new operating system perform well with some exceptions. They say the two strengthen the iPhone platform which would continue to attract applications and are good for consumers.
They point out that all that iPhone owners have to do to get an improved product is to merely stick with their existing phones and go in for an operating system upgrade, which comes free, rather than paying $199 for the 3GS. Also many new iPhone buyers can opt for the $99 3G model which is not only cheaper but also improved with the new OS 3.0.
But the new model offers power users improved performance, high battery life, storage and other features and perhaps most importantly it is also capable of handling a new cellular network feature that, over the next few years will offer double the current data speeds.
The new, free operating system has been available for download from 17 June and the iPhone 3G S will go on sale from 19 June for $199. The version on sale will feature 16 GB of memory and $299 for 32 gigabytes of memory. Those memory capacities are double the amounts twice that of the previous model offered last year at the same price, and far exceed the built-in memory on most competing smart phones.