TEXT OF INTERVIEW
Kai Ryssdal: Shares of Apple struggled today. They hit the closing bell off a little more than two percent and that was actually better than they’d been most of the day. You’d have never known CEO Steve Jobs was in the process of rolling out the latest version of the iPhone.
CNET writer Tom Krazit was in the audience in San Francisco.
Tom, good to talk to you.
Tom Krazit: Thank you.
Ryssdal: So Steve Jobs takes the stage, the seas part as they always do when he gets to one of these big expos and unveils a new product and presto, we have a new iPhone, right?
Krazit: Pretty much, yeah… in a couple of weeks at least: July 11, it’ll be out.
Ryssdal: What’s the big deal about this phone that everybody’s been waiting for?
Krazit: Well, the main thing that everybody will instantly understand is its support for faster networks. It’s going to run on what’s called a third generation mobile network or 3G and this is kind of like when you went from dial-up to broadband. It’s maybe not quite as fast as your home PC, but you can definitely notice a difference when you are doing something like downloading a web page or an attachment from your e-mail.
Ryssdal: Is this the thing that’s going to let people finally get rid of having to carry an iPhone and a BlackBerry as well? Are you going to be able to do business applications on this?
Krazit: It’ll be able to do that. Whether your company will support it is another thing entirely, but this will have a lot of the features that IT people need in order to deploy a phone within a company’s area, things like support for Microsoft’s ActiveSync technology, which basically regulates how e-mail goes back and forth between your e-mail servers at your company and your phone.
Ryssdal: Talk to me about price point. I’d love to have one of these things, but I don’t have 400 bucks to play around with.
Krazit: Well, you don’t need 400 bucks anymore…
Krazit: The price was cut today; that was one big thing that was announced. The 8GB version will now cost $200 — $199 to be specific — and the 16GB version will cost $299. This is for the new model that will be available on July 11.
Ryssdal: You keep saying July 11. This thing’s not ready to go yet?
Krazit: Yeah, definitely the biggest surprise, I think, of today is the fact that it will not be available until July. There’s any number of reasons for that. We’re going to have to look a little bit more into that, but that is a bit surprising. I don’t know how much of an impact it will have. Apple has set themselves a goal of 10 million iPhone shipments in 2008 and it’s kind of odd now because there will have been about a 6-8 week period where there were no iPhones available at all. So they’re going to have to overcome that period where they didn’t ship any.
Ryssdal: What was the scene on the floor when Jobs came out and did this? Were there hosannas and all that?
Krazit: It’s just a fan fest, is really the way to put it. There were about 5,200 developers in attendance at this conference, which is actually a record; they said they sold out their allotment of developer slots, and these are people who run businesses on the Mac and now the iPhone and they were pretty enthusiastic about new introductions that the company has to offer.
Ryssdal: All that for a cell phone. Tom Krazit, staff writer with CNET News.com. We reached him up in San Francisco at the Moscone Center where the Mac Worldwide Developers Conference is taking place. Tom, thanks a lot.
Krazit: You’re welcome.
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