Technology giant Apple has confirmed it is to launch a mobile phone that can download and play music.
The iPhone will ‘reinvent’ the telecommunications sector, Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs told the annual Macworld Expo in San Francisco.
The phone, which is 11.6mm thick and has a built-in two-megapixel digital camera, will also provide email and internet access.
A 4GB model with a two year contract will go on sale in the US in June for $499 dollars (just under £250), and should hit Europe late this year. There is also an 8GB model which will cost $599 in the US, although Apple has yet to confirm how much the iPhone will cost in the UK.
Steve Jobs said: ‘Every once in a while a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything. 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.’
The announcement ended months of speculation about the iPhone, which will use a patented technology called ‘multi-touch’.
It is essentially a computer with a blank screen that users configure so they can operate the monitor with their fingers.
‘We’re going to use a pointing device that we’re all born with,’ Mr 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.’
As well as being a music and video iPod, the phone will offer new services such as ‘visual voicemail’, which shows users a list of their messages so they can go straight to the ones they want to listen to most.
A full touch keyboard is available for text messaging and the phone will display album artwork on its 3.5in screen when it is being used for music.
Special sensors automatically deactivate the screen and turn off the touch pad when the device is raised to the ear.
Mr Jobs also unveiled a set-top box that will allow people to watch films they have downloaded from the internet on their TV, as well as announcing that digital movies from Paramount and Disney will now be available on Apple’s iTunes site.
He first introduced a prototype of Apple TV, as it is now known, in September when the company announced it would sell TV shows and films online. They will come with a 40-gigabyte hard drive that stores up to 50 hours of video.
Mr Jobs added: ‘It’s really, really easy to use. It’s got the processing horsepower to do the kinds of things we like to do.’