Apple Lowers iPhone 3GS Price, Ahead of iPhone 4

Apple lowered the price of its iPhone 3GS, offering an 8GB model for $99, ahead of the release of its next-generation iPhone 4 on June 24. Both the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS will run iOS4, the new version of Apple's smartphone operating system, which includes features such as multitasking and "iAd," a platform for inserting advertisements into mobile applications. Apple's policies behind iAd have drawn public protest from some quarters, which find them restrictive.

Apple lowered the price of its iPhone 3GS, its smartphone recently eclipsed by the June 7 debut of the next-generation iPhone 4.

On Apple's Website, the iPhone 3GS now retails for $99 for the 8GB model, with preordering set for June 15 and general availability on June 24. Loaded with Apple's newest smartphone operating system, dubbed "iOS4," the iPhone 3GS now includes multitasking-a feature traditionally lacking in iPhones-along with the iBooks full-color ebook reader and folders for organizing apps.

Apple's online store is also selling the 16GB version of the iPhone 3GS for $149 and the 32GB version for $199, with free shipping.

The iPhone 4 represents Apple's hopes of staying ahead of the consumer smartphone market, where the company finds itself challenged by a combination of traditional competitors such as RIM's BlackBerry franchise and the growing family of Google Android devices.

During his keynote presentation June 7 at Apple's 2010 Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in San Francisco, Apple CEO Steve Jobs suggested that the iPhone 4 represented "the biggest leap since the original iPhone," according to a live transcript of the event, adding: "This is beyond doubt one of the most precise, beautiful things we've ever done."

In addition to a larger battery capable of 7 hours of talk time, the device includes a rear-facing camera capable of shooting 30-frames-per-second HD video at 720p, a built-in three-axis gyroscope, a thinner body and a front-facing camera for video conferencing. Jobs also revealed a new feature called FaceTime, which lets users make video calls via WiFi; Apple is apparently in talks with carriers about offering a 3G-enabled version.

The iPhone 4 will be available in either black or white, starting June 24. The 16GB version will retail for $199, and the 32GB version for $299, with a two-year contract through AT&T.

The iOS4 operating system, previously dubbed "iPhone OS 4," includes 1,500 new APIs, in addition to those new features such as multitasking. The platform's other notable element, "iAd," will allow developers to deliver mobile advertisements within apps themselves, although it has also drawn some controversy over what some perceive as its exclusionary tenets.

"Apple proposed new developer terms of Monday that, if enforced as written, would prohibit app developers from using AdMob and Google's advertising solutions on the iPhone," Omar Hamoui, CEO of AdMob, wrote in a June 9 posting on "The Life and Times of AdMob" blog. "The terms hurt both large and small developers by severely limiting their choice of how best to make money. And because advertising funds a huge number of free and low-cost apps, these terms are bad for consumers, as well."

Given his company's increasingly contentious stance with Google with regard to smartphones, Jobs may feel inclined to disregard opinions like Hamoui's. "There is definitely a market for your applications," the Apple CEO told his keynote audience, which consisted of media and developers attending the WWDC for technical sessions in creating programs for the iPhone, iPad and Mac franchise.