Apple Computer CEO Steve Jobs on Tuesday unveiled a new mobile phone that downloads and plays music as well as a set-top box that allows people to stream video from their computers to their televisions.
Jobs said Apple’s IPhone would “reinvent” the telecommunications sector and “leapfrog” past the current generation of hard-to-use smart phones.
“Every once in a while a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything,” he said during his keynote address at the annual Macworld Conference and Expo. “It’s very fortunate if you can work on just one of these in your career. … Apple’s been very fortunate in that it’s introduced a few of these.”
Apple shares jumped five per cent on the announcements.
Jobs demonstrated the phone’s music capabilities by playing “Lovely Rita, Meter Maid,” from the Beatles’ “Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band.”
IPhone uses a patented touch-screen technology Apple is calling “multi-touch.”
“We’re going to use a pointing device that we’re all born with,” Jobs said. “It works like magic. … It’s far more accurate than any touch display ever shipped. It ignores unintended touches. It’s super smart.”
The phone automatically synchs media – movies, music, photos — through Apple’s iTunes digital content store. The device also synchs e-mail content, web bookmarks and nearly any type of digital content stored on a computer.
“It’s just like an iPod,” Jobs said, “charge and synch.”
IPhone is less than a half-inch thin — less than almost any phone on the market today. It comes with a two-megapixel digital camera built into the back, as well as a slot for headphones and a SIM card. Jobs did not immediately provide details on price or availability.
Jobs also said the company will begin taking orders Tuesday for $299 for the video box, called Apple TV. It will be available in February.
The gadget is designed to bridge computers and television sets so users can more easily watch their downloaded movies on a big screen. A prototype of the gadget was displayed by Jobs in September when Apple announced it would sell TV shows and movies through its iTunes online store.
The product could be as revolutionary to digital movies as Apple’s iPod music player was to digital music. Both devices liberate media from the computer, allowing people to enjoy digital files without being chained to a desktop or laptop.
“It’s really, really easy to use,” Jobs told the crowd at San Francisco’s Moscone Center before demonstrating the system with a video clip of “The Good Shepherd.” “It’s got the processing horsepower to do the kinds of things we like to do.”
Apple TV will come with a 40-gigabyte hard drive that stores up to 50 hours of video. It features an Intel Corp. microprocessor and can handle videos, photos and music streamed from up to five computers within the wireless range.