Sunday, April 13, 2008

iPhone Features

The iPhone allows conferencing, call holding, call merging, caller ID, and integration with other cellular network features and iPhone functions. For example, a playing song fades out when the user receives a call. Once the call is ended the music fades back in. Voice dialing is not supported by the iPhone.

The iPhone includes a Visual Voicemail feature allowing users to view a list of current voicemail messages on-screen without having to call into their voicemail. Unlike most other systems, messages can be listened to and deleted in a non-chronological order by choosing any message from an on-screen list. AT&T, O2, T-Mobile and Orange modified their voicemail infrastructure to accommodate this new feature designed by Apple. A lawsuit has been filed against Apple and AT&T by a company called Klausner Technologies claiming the iPhone's Visual Voicemail feature infringes two patents.[11]

A ringtone feature was introduced in the United States on September 5, 2007, but is not yet available in all countries where the iPhone has been released. This feature allows users to create custom ringtones from their purchased iTunes music for an additional fee, the same price of a song. The ringtones can be from 3 to 30 seconds in length of any part of a song, can include fading in and out, can pause from half a second to five seconds when looped, and never expire. All customizing can be done in iTunes, and the synced ringtones can also be used for alarms on the iPhone. Custom ringtones can also be created using Apple's GarageBand software 4.1.1 or later (available only on Mac OS X)[12] and third-party tools.[13]

Apple has released a video explaining many of iPhone's features through a series of demonstrations.[14]


Cover Flow on the iPhone.
Cover Flow on the iPhone.

The layout of the music library differs from previous iPods, with the sections divided more clearly alphabetically, and with a larger font. Similar to previous iPods, the iPhone can sort its media library by songs, artists, albums, videos, playlists, genres, composers, podcasts, audiobooks, and compilations. Cover Flow, like that on iTunes, shows the different album covers in a scroll-through photo library. Scrolling is achieved by swiping a finger across the screen.

Like the fifth generation iPods introduced in 2005, the iPhone can play video, allowing users to watch TV shows and films. Unlike other image-related content, video on the iPhone plays only in the landscape orientation, when the phone is turned sideways. Double tapping switches between wide-screen and full-screen video playback.

The iPhone allows users to purchase and download songs from the iTunes Store directly to their iPhone over Wi-Fi with the iTunes Wi-Fi Music Store, but not over the cellular data network.[15]

Internet connectivity

Internet access is available when the iPhone is connected to a local area Wi-Fi or a wide area EDGE network. The iPhone is not able to use AT&T's 3G or AT&T's HSDPA network. Steve Jobs has stated 3G would need to become more widespread in the United States and much more energy efficient before it's included in the iPhone.[16][17] By default, the iPhone will ask to join newly discovered Wi-Fi networks and prompt for the password when required, while also supporting manually joining closed Wi-Fi networks.[18] When Wi-Fi is active, it will automatically switch from the EDGE network to any nearby previously approved Wi-Fi network.[19]

Before the launch, some reviewers found the EDGE network "excruciatingly slow," with the iPhone taking as long as 100 seconds to download the Yahoo! home page for the first time.[20] Immediately before the launch, the observed speed of the network increased to almost 200 kbit/s.[21] This is probably due to the new "Fine EDGE" upgrades AT&T had been making to their network prior to the launch.[22]

The EDGE network benefits iPhone users in the U.S. by providing greater availability than 3G, as carriers based in the U.S. do not have full 3G coverage.[23] By contrast, 3G coverage ranges from 60 to 90-percent in the United Kingdom.[24]

Since the iPhone's inception, the use of the handset for Internet connectivity has exposed one or more trends. According to AT&T and Google, the iPhone generated 50 times more search requests than any other mobile handset.[25] The iPhone also increased the average wireless data usage as much as 30 times higher than on other phones, or 100MB per iPhone customer.[26]

Web accessibility

Wikipedia on the iPhone's Safari web browser.
Wikipedia on the iPhone's Safari web browser.

The iPhone is able to access the World Wide Web via a modified version of the Safari web browser. Web pages may be viewed in portrait or landscape mode and supports automatic zooming by pinching together or spreading apart fingertips on the screen, or by double-tapping text or images.[27] The web browser displays full web pages as opposed to simplified pages as on most non-smartphones.

The iPhone does not support Flash.[28] Although the iPhone does not include Java technology in its out-of-the-box configuration,[29] Sun Microsystems announced on March 7, 2008 that it would make Java available after June 2008.[30]

Apple developed an iPhone application for accessing Google's maps service in map or satellite form, a list of search results, or directions between two locations, while providing optional real-time traffic information. During the product's announcement, Jobs demonstrated this feature by searching for nearby Starbucks locations and then placing a prank call to one with a single tap.[31][32] Though Flash isn't supported in Safari on the iPhone, Apple also developed a separate application to view YouTube videos on the iPhone, similar to the system used for the Apple TV.


The iPhone also features an e-mail program that supports HTML e-mail, which enables the user to embed photos in an e-mail message. PDF, Microsoft Word, and Microsoft Excel attachments to mail messages can be viewed on the phone.[33] Yahoo! and Google's Gmail[34] currently offer a free Push-IMAP e-mail service similar to that on a BlackBerry for the iPhone; IMAP and POP3 mail standards are also supported, including Microsoft Exchange[35] and Kerio MailServer.[36] This is currently accomplished by opening up IMAP on the Exchange server; however, Apple announced it has licensed Microsoft ActiveSync and will fully support the platform in June of 2008 when the iPhone 2.0 firmware (currently referred to as 1.2) is released. -- iPhone to support Exchange The iPhone will sync e-mail account settings over from Apple's own Mail application, Microsoft Outlook, and Microsoft Entourage, or manually configured using the device's Settings tool. With the correct settings, the e-mail program can check almost any IMAP or POP3 account[37]


The iPhone features a built in 2.0 megapixel camera, without a flash, located on the back for still digital photos, but does not support video recording. It also includes software that allows the user to upload, view, and e-mail photos. The user zooms in and out of photos by "unpinching" and "pinching" them through the multi-touch interface. The software interacts with iPhoto on the Mac and Photoshop in Windows.

The built-in Bluetooth 2.x+EDR supports wireless earpieces (which requires the HSP profile), but notably does not support stereo audio (requires A2DP), laptop tethering (requires DUN and SPP), or the OBEX file transfer protocol (requires FTP, GOEP, and OPP).

Text messages are presented chronologically in a mailbox format similar to Mail, which places all text from recipients together with replies. Text messages are displayed in speech bubbles (similar to iChat) under each recipient's name. The iPhone currently does have built-in support for e-mail message forwarding, drafts, and direct internal camera-to-e-mail picture sending. However, it does not yet have capabilities for delivery reports, instant messaging, MMS, or copy/cut/paste.[38] Some of these functions are accessible via free Safari-based "applications" called "Web Apps," as well as by free "hacked" native applications, though at this time Apple only sanctions the use of Web Apps. Support for multi-recipient SMS was added in the January 2008 (v1.1.3) software update.

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