The iPhone, first released in June of 2007, launched the Apple company into the cellular telephone market. Subsequent upgrades, including the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 have been released annually. Each incarnation offers new features and fewer bugs. The size and shape of the iPhone, nearly indistinguishable from the iPod Touch, invokes images of the popular iPod product, and in fact the iPhone can do everything the iPod can and much more.
Make a Call
The iPhone's touch-screen display allows users to perform every aspect of placing a call with the tap of a finger. In addition to calling contacts, users can also call any number found on the web browser by simply tapping the information. The iPhone's voice dialing feature provides hands-free access to saved contacts. Voice dialing will also respond to numbers as they are dictated to the phone. Other call features on the iPhone include three-way calling, call waiting and call merging.
The iPhone stores and plays music, movies and podcasts like a classic iPod. The iPhone works with iTunes on the computer in the same manner as the iPod as well. Users can flick through albums and songs on the touch screen or use the iPhone's voice activation feature to dictate what they want to hear. The iTunes app provides access to a seemingly endless supply of new media. Multi-taskers can keep a constant stream of background music going as they use the iPhone's other features. If a call comes in, the music will fade and pause until the call is complete.
Take Pictures and Video
The iPhone comes equipped with a digital camera on the rear side of the unit. It can take both still photos and video images. The quality of the photo will vary by model of iPhone, as the megapixels increase with each new version released. The iPhone 4 offers a second camera located on the front of the unit which allows the user to see the photo as he's taking it. This new lens also offers a chance to videoconference with other iPhone 4 users. After connecting through a wireless network or through the cell network, the users can link up their phones and have a conversation face to face, even from the other side of the globe.
For emails and text messages, the iPhone provides a touch screen QWERTY keyboard. The keyboard orients itself so that it is always at the bottom of the screen, whether the phone is held vertically or horizontally. Text messages are displayed in a continuous speech bubble format. Users can go back to earlier conversations with the same person to review what was discussed, copy and paste previous texts, or delete pieces of conversation. Emails are delivered in real-time to the iPhone, and can be received from most POP email clients.
The iPhone pioneered the app craze with the release of the Apple App Store, which first appeared with second generation iPhones in 2008. As of 2011, the Apple App Store offers up more than 350,000 apps to streamline nearly any task. The "Time" list of the 50 best iPhone Apps of 2011 includes addictive games including Angry Birds, Scrabble and Plants v. Zombies. For travelers, "Time" singles out apps like Yelp, which finds nearby restaurants and Kayak, which searches for flights, car rentals and hotels. Also on the "Time" list are app versions of popular websites like Wikipedia, Amazon, IMDb and WebMD which provide users with myriad data at the touch of a finger.
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