Apple Reveals iPhone 3GS, 3.0 Microtransaction Upgrade Due June 17th

Apple has revealed an upgraded, faster iPhone 3GS -- a rising gaming powerhouse -- at WWDC, also confirming the June 17 launch of the iPhone 3.0 software with a demo of microtransaction payments used in games.
At today’s opening keynote of the Worldwide Developers Conference 2009, Apple revealed the iPhone 3GS, an upgraded version of the company’s iPhone platform, which is a rising gaming powerhouse. Claiming that the “S” signifies the addition of “speed,” Apple notes that application loading and performance will be significantly faster on the 3GS than on the 3G. EA’s SimCity loads 2.4 times faster on the 3GS, for example, while text messages will launch 2.1 times faster. The company also announced a June 17 launch for its 3.0 iPhone software for all iPhone and iPod Touch devices, which includes the ability to take in-game microtransaction payments, among other notable features. The upgrade, which includes over 100 new features, will be free for iPhone users and cost $9.95 for iPod Touch users. One of the first titles to showcase paid in-game upgrades is ngmoco's Star Defense, which was demonstrated onstage at Apple's WWDC keynote, alongside new games by Gameloft. As for the newly announced iPhone 3GS, it appears that gaming performance will be improved on the system, as Apple promises that the platform offers “improved performance and updated 3D graphics” for all developers. In addition, the 3GS boasts an improved 3 megapixel camera, which features autoexposure, autofocus, and video capture at 30 FPS VGA. Other new 3GS features include hardware encryption, a Google Maps-linked digital compass, and voice-controlled phone number dialing and music playback. The 3GS will feature improved battery life over its hardware predecessor. The 3GS allows up to 30 hours of battery life for music playback (compared to the 3G’s 24 hours), 10 hours for video playback, and 9 hours for Internet use via Wi-Fi. The 16GB version of the iPhone 3GS will debut in North America on June 19th for $199. A 32GB version will be available for $299. As of today, the 8GB iPhone 3G has dropped in price to $99. We'll be reporting on game announcements and debuts around WWDC all week on Gamasutra sister iPhone game-related site FingerGaming.

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