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6/8/2009
05:07 PM
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Apple iPhone 3GS, MacBook Price Cuts Stimulate WWDC

The company uses its developer show to highlight its innovations as well as ease the minds of cost-conscious consumers.

Apple iPhone 3GS
(click image for larger view)
Apple iPhone 3GS

Apple on Monday stimulated its developers' minds and hopefully their wallets with the revelation of a new iPhone as well as discounted prices on its improved MacBook computers.

The company has come under increasing pressure from competition in the smartphone and notebook markets as well as investors who are eager for Apple to improve its bottom line.

Philip Schiller, senior VP of worldwide product marketing for Apple, launched the company's World Wide Developers Conference in San Francisco with the release of the iPhone 3GS, the follow-up to its popular iPhone 3G, and a refreshed MacBook Pro line with some models up to $300 less than the previous generation.

Schiller led the WWDC keynote without the star power of Steve Jobs, the company's chief executive and tech icon. Jobs, who has suffered from complications related to an operation for pancreatic cancer, is on medical leave until the end of the month.

Along with price cuts for some of Apple's flagship hardware, Schiller also announced that Snow Leopard, the next version of the Mac OS X, would be available in September, one month before Microsoft officially releases Windows 7. Analysts have been impressed with Microsoft's follow-up to Windows Vista and say Windows 7 is likely to present the greatest challenge to Mac OS X. To continue to woo consumers to its Mac way of life, Apple said it will make the Snow Leopard software upgrade affordable to all current Intel Mac users. The operating system available will be priced as a single upgrade for $29, with a family upgrade of $49. The OS won't run on Macs powered by the older PowerPC processor from IBM.

Also hoping to build its fan base, Apple introduced a new version of the popular smartphone, the iPhone 3GS. "It is the fastest most powerful iPhone yet," Schiller said.

Besides offering double the performance boost over the previous generation, the iPhone 3GS introduces such features as video recording through a 3-megapixel camera and voice control. Apple is offering the updated phone at $199, the previous price of the iPhone 3G, but with twice the amount of storage -- 16 GB. A 32-GB version is available for $299. All pricing is with a two-year service contract. The iPhone 3GS will be available June 19 in the United States, rolling out worldwide in stages through Aug. 9.

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