SAN FRANCISCO — Apple's Steve Jobs introduced a new iPhone Monday, delivering a thinner design with 100 more features as mobile competitors including Google work to usurp the device's popularity.
"We're going to take the biggest leap since the original iPhone: iPhone 4," Jobs said at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco. He called the new model, which sports a front-facing camera, glass on two sides and higher resolution, the "most precise, beautiful thing."
The iPhone is now one of Apple's most important products, raking in more sales than the Macintosh computer last quarter. The new model comes to market as HTC and Motorola work to deliver iPhone rivals based on Android, the mobile-operating system software created by Google. The iPhone accounts for 40 percent of Apple's revenue.
Apple has sold more than 50 million iPhones in the past three years. Jobs, 55, counts on updates to entice new customers as well as persuade current owners to trade up to the latest model. Apple has updated the iPhone each summer since its debut in June 2007. It released the iPhone 3G in July 2008, which added support for third-generation wireless networks. A faster version, called the iPhone 3GS, went on sale in June 2009.
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The iPhone 4 has a so-called retinal display that has four times as many pixels as previous models, Jobs said. It is 24 percent thinner than the 3GS and has improved battery life with seven hours of 3G talk.
"Even though a new iPhone wasn't a surprise, the new features and software further differentiate the iPhone from competitors," said Shaw Wu, an analyst who attended the conference.
Jobs said there are now more than 225,000 tools, games and other applications available for downloading. That compares with about 50,000 for Android, according to Toni Sacconaghi, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in New York. More than 5 billion programs have been downloaded from Apple's App Store, Jobs said.
The chief executive said Activision Blizzard released an iPhone application for its "Guitar Hero" game Monday for $2.99 and that Netflix, the online movie subscription service, will unveil a free program for the iPhone this summer.
Speculation about what the fourth-generation iPhone will include escalated in April after an unreleased prototype, lost by an Apple engineer at a bar in March, was disassembled and photographed by technology blog Gizmodo.com.
As Jobs walked onto the stage at the conference, an attendee yelled out: "We love you, Steve!" His response drew applause, too: "Thanks, I think."
Android-based smartphones threaten to top the iPhone in 2013 by number of shipments, according to researcher IDC. Shipments of Android devices may reach 68 million that year, making it the second-most popular operating system after Nokia-owned Symbian, according to IDC.
The new device will be powered by an updated version of the iPhone operating-system software. Jobs previewed the software — called iPhone OS 4 — in April and said it will be available this summer. The software adds more than 100 features, including multitasking, or the ability to run more than one third-party program at the same time. It also supports an advertising platform called iAd, designed to give developers a new way to make money from their apps.