(WHAS11) - The new iPhone launched on Monday is the latest entry in the surging smart phone market. Four years ago, it is estimated that only about 15%of Americans owned a smart phone. Now, about half of all americans own one.
As Apple's iPhone gets more competition, it's unveiling several upgrades. The iPhone 4 will be available on June 24 with a higher-resolution screen, longer battery life and a thinner design.
The bigger story, beyond what excites technology fans with the new phone's release, is what has been happening before our eyes and in our hands. In just the last few years, more and more of our mobile phones have become mobile computers.
Within two hours of Steve Jobs announcing the iPhone 4 in California, Angela Becker walked into a Louisville AT&T store asking when she can get hers.
"I'm with another carrier now," Becker said, "but this iPhone because my husband has it, I've worked with it and it's just a lot more reliable."
Becker said she uses her smart phone to e-mail and text, check the Internet and take photos. The iPhone 4's camera features got her attention.
"I really want the 8 megapixel with a flash. That's really why I want it versus the old one."
"The HD quality, the HD capability, the larger hard drive, we're doubling the space now of the data we can store on those," explained Matt Witten, a local computer security expert who tracks consumer technology developments.
"Probably five years ago, people said I just want a phone for a phone. I don't want a camera. I don't want to 'do' anything," Witten continued, "Now, the smart phone is almost like a miniature computer taking over. I think as we go throughout the years it's just going to gain more and more market share."
"Smartphone customers use their smartphones as a computer as much as a phone," agreed AT&T's Cathy Lewandowski. "As smartphones become more capable, it’s natural that customers will be more engaged and use their devices more often. Giving more people more access to the mobile Internet has resulted in wireless data traffic on AT&T’s network growing more than 5,000 percent over the last three years. In fact, roughly 40 percent of AT&T’s postpaid customer base uses a smartphone today, representing twice the number of smartphone customers than any other U.S. provider."
Though the iPhone gets much of the attention, Witten says other personal digital assistants or PDA's could be a better fit, depending on what's important to each user. Blackberries are still very popular in business settings, and for consumers who want a touchscreen and Apps, the iPhone is not alone.
Google's Android operating system is available on several phones. The 'Droid phones are gaining in popularity, especially among users who say that AT&T's data speeds suffer because of the iPhone's popularity.
"I like the Verizon network over the AT&T network just for the overall speed, the 3g speed," Witten said, "Now, the iPhone, I have a lot of family and friends who have the iPhone. They love that too."
"We’re seeing advanced smartphones, like the iPhone, driving up to 10 times the amount of usage of other devices on average on the AT&T network," Lewandowski said, "As more and more advanced smartphones, PDAs and other devices are introduced, we see this usage trend continuing in the years to come. That’s why we continue to invest billions to enhance and expand our wireless network."
Regardless of the brand, it is difficult for smart phone users to imagine life without one.
"I couldn't go back to just a regular flip phone," Becker said.
Information providided by AT&T:
AT&T today announced it will offer iPhone 4, the thinnest smartphone ever with all-new design, FaceTime video calling, Apple's stunning new Retina display, 5 megapixel camera and HD video recording. iPhone 4 will be available for a suggested retail price of $199 for the 16GB model and $299 for the 32GB model, in company retail stores and online at www.att.com/iphone, plus business channels, beginning June 24. Customers can preorder starting June 15. In the meantime, the press release follows.
New AT&T Customers
New AT&T customers can sign up for our best iPhone 4 pricing with a two-year service agreement, and an eligible voice and data plan.
“Upgrade Eligible” Existing iPhone Customers
This year, more existing iPhone customers than ever before are eligible for our best iPhone 4 pricing. Existing iPhone customers who are upgrade eligible between today and the end of this year qualify for our best iPhone 4 price points. AT&T consumers can check upgrade eligibility today by dialing *639# from their wireless phone, or visiting www.att.com/iphone or an AT&T store. Customers must agree to a new two-year service agreement, and an eligible voice and data plan. Business customers can also check eligibility by dialing *639# or visiting AT&T’s Premier site at https://www.wireless.att.com/business/.
“Early Upgrade” for Existing iPhone Customers
For existing AT&T customers who are not yet eligible for our best iPhone 4 pricing, AT&T offers a special program exclusively for iPhone – early upgrade pricing. This gives customers who do not yet qualify for an upgrade the opportunity to upgrade at a special price. Two-year term agreement and eligible voice and data plan are required.
Any customer who wants to purchase iPhone 4 without signing a new 2-year agreement may do so at the no commitment price. An eligible voice and data plan are required.
AT&T TO OFFER IPHONE 4 ON JUNE 24
Best Pricing Immediately Available to Any iPhone Customer Eligible for Upgrade in 2010
Preordering for iPhone 4 and New $99 iPhone 3GS 8GB Available
June 15 at AT&T Retail and Online Stores
DALLAS, June 7, 2010 — AT&T*, the U.S. smartphone leader, today announced it will offer iPhone 4, the thinnest smartphone ever with all-new design, FaceTime video calling, Apple's stunning new Retina display, 5 megapixel camera and HD video recording. iPhone 4 will be available for a suggested retail price of $199 for the 16GB model and $299 for the 32GB model, in company retail stores and online at www.att.com/iphone, plus business channels, beginning June 24. Customers can preorder starting June 15.
To let current iPhone customers quickly upgrade to iPhone 4, AT&T will make its best pricing immediately available to any iPhone customer who would be upgrade eligible for a discounted device by the end of 2010.
“This is another very exciting day for AT&T customers,” said Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO, AT&T Mobility and Consumer Markets. “By teaming with Apple to deliver an extraordinary device over the nation’s fastest 3G network, we’re enabling our customers to access their favorite social networks and favorite business applications.”
“We know that people are eager to get iPhone 4, which is why we moved up the upgrade eligibility date for current iPhone customers by up to six months. This move, combined with the new wireless data plans we announced last week, will make it more affordable for more people to purchase an iPhone and enjoy the benefits of the mobile Internet.”
In addition, a new iPhone 3GS 8GB for $99 will also be available on June 24.
iPhone 4 and the new iPhone 3GS 8GB will be available at a variety of attractive price points for customers:
New and “Upgrade Eligible” Customers
iPhone 4 16GB
iPhone 4 32GB
iPhone 3GS (8GB)
All new and current iPhone customers who are upgrade eligible, plus existing customers who choose to upgrade early must agree to a two-year term commitment, and select an eligible voice and data plan for iPhone. No commitment pricing does not require a two-year term commitment, but does require both voice and data service.
AT&T will also offer current iPhone 3GS 16GB and 32GB models at new, lowered price points of $149 (16GB) and $199 (32GB), with a two-year term commitment plus voice and data plans, while supplies last.
Existing iPhone customers eligible for an upgrade between today and the end of this year have been made immediately eligible for AT&T’s best pricing for iPhone 4 with a new two-year term commitment. Consumers can verify upgrade eligibility at www.att.com/iphone today. Business customers can verify upgrade eligibility at AT&T’s Premier site, https://www.wireless.att.com/business/.
Consumers may preorder iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS 8GB at AT&T retail stores or online at www.att.com/iphone beginning June 15. Business customers can preorder through their AT&T sales representative or by visiting AT&T’s Premier site. For greater convenience and faster delivery, preorders can be shipped directly to a customer’s home or business for delivery as early as June 24. Customers can also have a preorder shipped to their local AT&T store for pick up on or after Friday, June 25.
AT&T stores will operate on a first-come, first-served basis, and will accommodate as many customers as possible.
AT&T customers can choose from several monthly plans that start as low as $54.99 per month for individual plans with voice and data. For families, customers can now add additional iPhones to their FamilyTalk account for as little as $24.99 per month, providing voice and data service. All iPhone plans include nationwide long distance and domestic roaming, Visual Voicemail, Rollover, and unlimited Mobile to Mobile calling.
Small business customers may qualify for AT&T BusinessTalk®, a shared minute plan specifically for small businesses. Companies can share up to 20,000 minutes per month among as many as 40 employees. In addition, business customers and employees of many businesses are eligible for discounted service rates. For more information, customers can contact an AT&T business account representative or visit www.att.com/iphoneforbusiness.
New Wireless Data Plans
iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS customers can choose one of AT&T’s new data plans: DataPlus, which provides 200MB for just $15, and DataPro which provides 2GB for just $25. Existing AT&T smartphone customers upgrading to iPhone 4 or iPhone 3GS are not required to switch to a new plan, but can choose to do so. iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS and iPhone 3G customers can add tethering to AT&T DataPro for an additional $20 per month.
Each data plan includes unlimited Wi-Fi usage at more than 20,000 AT&T Wi-Fi Hot Spots nationwide at no additional charge. AT&T will help customers monitor and manage wireless data usage by sending text messages and emails as customers begin to approach their usage limit, and by providing online tools, including an iPhone app that shows monthly usage information.
Currently, less than 98 percent of AT&T smartphone customers use more than 2 GB a month on average. More information on the new data plans can be found at www.att.com/dataplans.
Additional news regarding iPhone 4 will be posted in the AT&T Media Newsroom at www.att.com/iphone_news.
For the complete array of AT&T offerings, visit www.att.com. For more information and detailed disclaimer information, please review this announcement in the AT&T newsroom at http://www.att.com/newsroom.
*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.
AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T) is a premier communications holding company. Its subsidiaries and affiliates – AT&T operating companies – are the providers of AT&T services in the United States and around the world. With a powerful array of network resources that includes the nation’s fastest 3G network, AT&T is a leading provider of wireless, Wi-Fi, high speed Internet and voice services. A leader in mobile broadband, AT&T also offers the best wireless coverage worldwide, offering the most wireless phones that work in the most countries. It also offers advanced TV services under the AT&T U-verse® and AT&T │DIRECTV brands. The company’s suite of IP-based business communications services is one of the most advanced in the world. In domestic markets, AT&T Advertising Solutions and AT&T Interactive are known for their leadership in local search and advertising. In 2010, AT&T again ranked among the 50 Most Admired Companies by FORTUNE® magazine.