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FCC approval brings iPhone closer to launch

Although it is already penned in for a June launch in the US, the FCC’s approval of the Apple iPhone somehow makes the tasty gadget seem all the more tangible.

The US communications regulator published a document, originally filed on April 19, on its website on Thursday.

Although some basic details about the phone were already known to the public, what will come as a shock is the revelation that the initial device, to be launched on Cingular Wireless’ network, will operate in the 1900MHz and 850MHz bands only. This effectively means users will not be able to roam in Europe and also looks to put the kibosh on any grey market sales, immediately following the June launch.

Europeans cannot expect to get their hands on the device until December at the earliest. Most European networks operate in the 900MHz band for GSM and the 2100MHz band for 3G UMTS.

The document also confirmed that the iPhone will be released with EGPRS (EDGE) capabilities only, meaning that full blown 3G capabilities may be being saved for a later, or maybe even for the European, version.

Much of what else is know about the handset was already revealed by Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, in January.

The unit combines a music player, phone and full internet browsing in a typically sexy Apple designed package. A 3.5 inch widescreen display offers touchscreen access to a widescreen iPod, capable of playing music, movies and displaying photos, as well as a phone and a rich HTML browsing client.

Wifi, Bluetooth and EDGE capabilities allow for surfing and email access with built-in Safari, Google and Yahoo search and a full QWERTY soft keyboard.

The device only packs a 2 megapixel camera along with its built-in speaker and microphone. Stealing an idea from the gaming market it also employs a motion sensor that detects when the device is rotated from portrait to landscape and switches the display accordingly. It also detects when it is raised to the ear, switching off the display until the call is finished.

A 4GB model will be priced at $499 and an 8GB model will sell for $599, each with a two year service contract on Cingular Wireless. European prices remain unannounced.


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