Apple has unveiled a cheaper version of its iPhone with new features including GPS and faster 3G internet connectivity.
The network O2 – with which Apple has an exclusive tie-in – has also announced a new lower iPhone tariff of £30 a month, and says pay-as-you-go for the iPhone will soon be available.
The 3G touch-screen phone will go on sale on 11 July for about £100 for the 8GB model – about £70 less than the previous model at recent O2 or Carphone Warehouse prices.
The device – unveiled by Apple chief executive Steve Jobs last night – is claimed to download data up to twice as fast as the first iPhone, which used the slower Edge network, also known as 2.5G.
The new iPhone will be able to handle phone calls at the same time as letting you browse the web or read email, and Apple says it will work on mobile phone networks worldwide.
The US company has also added assisted GPS support, which links to the iPhone’s maps program to let you locate the handset and plan journeys.
Assisted GPS uses a mix of satellite navigation, Wi-Fi hotspots and phone mast locations to give a more accurate position.
Mr Jobs said the iPhone’s software has also been improved, with additions including a new scientific calculator and parental controls to restrict image viewing.
The previous model wouldn’t work with Microsoft Office documents but Apple says the new iPhone will handle files such as Word and Powerpoint.
You’ll be able to download extra software for the iPhone, such as games, or health and reference programs, in a similar way to buying music from iTunes.
Prices should be about £5 for a software program when downloaded using the new ‘App Store’ icon on the phone, and some programs will be free.
Apple says it has doubled the iPhone’s battery life, with 10 hours of talk time on a 2G network, and five hours on a 3G network.
The battery will last for six hours of web browsing, seven hours of video playback, and 24 hours of audio playback, according to the company.
The iPhone will be available in 8GB and 16GB versions from Apple stores, O2 shops and Carphone Warehouse.
Owners of existing iPhones will be able to update to the new operating system, but won’t get GPS and 3G features unless they upgrade their phone.
‘The addition of both faster 3G network support and GPS features will generate a lot of consumer interest in the new version of the iPhone,’ says Which? technology editor Matthew Bath.
‘Apple has also lowered the price, which will be welcome news for shoppers.
‘However, customers will be tied into an 18-month contract with O2, and many earlier niggles, such as a low-quality camera on the iPhone, have not been addressed.’
O2 and the Carphone Warehouse will sell the new iPhone for £99 if you sign up to either the £35 a month or new £30 a month tariff. The phone is free if you go for the £45 a month or £75 a month deals. For details of what’s included see the O2 website.
O2 told Which? that customers who have an older-style iPhone and don’t want to upgrade to the 3G version can still switch to the £30 a month tariff.