I just watched Steve Jobs’ keynote speech where he launches the iPhone, Apple’s upcoming phone/PDA/iPod/full-blown-OSX-PC-in-your-hand. Judging from the demo, which you can watch online here, this appears to be yet another stroke of design brilliance by Apple. The key, as usual, is simplicity and elegance. This device doesn’t contain a keypad and only a couple of buttons, one ‘home’ button and one ‘sleep/wake’ button. Instead of multitude of buttons the device contains just a huge, high-resolution touchscreen. The touchscreen doesn’t use a stylus either. Instead it’s 100% finger operated. To further enhance the efficiency of finger operation the device recongizes certain gestures to perform operations. Two made a particular impression. First, you simply twirl your finger around in a circle to scroll. Second, to zoom in/out you do an inward/outward pinching movement and things dynamically scale with your fingers. The whole user interface, as is usal with Apple, seems to be extremely well thought-out. The iPhone contains an accelerometer so that it can detect its orientation. So, when looking at movies or pictures, the portrait/landscape mode will automatically adjust. What’s also quite astounding is the expected price, $US499 on a 24 month contract, which is in the same ballpark as other high end phones. In my mind this device is absolutely going to transform the phone/PDA market – this looks to be years ahead of any competing products. The downside? We have to wait until June for its release in the US, and longer in other parts of the world.