Apple takes off the gloves

Apple takes off the gloves (iStock)There were a few big announcements regarding the iPhone and iPod Touch at WWDC this week.  The biggest announcement was actually just a price drop: With the iPhone 3G at only $99, it hits the magical price point that’s going to move a lot of phones.  Though admittedly, there is still a large issue in the monthly costs to AT&T, as a plan with unlimited data and text is going to be more per month than the phone costs.

Apple’s newly announced numbers show a continued acceleration in the popularity of the AppStore.  While 40 million iPhones or iPod Touch devices worldwide reflects a steady progression, the announcement of 50,000 apps in the AppStore is a sharp increase over past numbers.  With over one billion apps downloaded since the AppStore’s inception, that’s an average of 20,000 downloads per application.

I’m somewhat surprised that the “iPhone 3G S” wasn’t called the “iPhone Pro” instead, as it isn’t replacing the older model, just offering a faster model with video production capabilities.  Potentially the biggest feature in the new model is the built in compass.  This should greatly enhance the features of LBS applications, and enable neat augmented reality apps.

Overall, the new 3.0 software update is going to make many people happy with the addition of copy & paste functionality.  Other features, such as MMS and tethering will have many fans, but not in the US, where AT&T hasn’t yet enabled support for the features.  The potentially biggest deal in the new update is the opening of the dock connector API to app developers.  This will enable integration of third party hardware to work with iPhone apps.  Hopefully we see this really take off and we’ll see some innovative products extending the utility available with the phone.

The competition is stepping up, but Apple is taking off the gloves, especially with the 3G model price drop.  Despite new competition from Palm, Apple is still set on owning the smartphone/device market.