Apple iPhone's key features

The tactile interface We've dabbed at touchscreen phones using a stylus before, but the iPhone is arguably the first handset to really encourage you to get hands-on. Or rather thumbs-on -many functions are controlled by sweeping your thumbs across the screen. Even rival manufacturers admit that as far as making phones easier to use goes, iPhone has been hugely innovative.

iTunes Like iPods, the iPhone is designed to work with Apple's iTunes application to fill the device with music. It'll also play songs purchased from the iTunes Store, and Apple is clearly hoping that by making that as easy as possible, it'll increase the number of people buying digital music (as opposed to downloading it for free from various file-sharing networks).

YouTube Just before iPhone went on sale in the US, Apple announced a deal with YouTube to install an application on the handset, allowing iPhone owners to watch a large selection of YouTube videos in widescreen on the handset. They're being optimised to look as sharp and clear as possible on the device, too.

Safari web browsing Not heard of Safari? It's Apple's own web browser, which until recently was only available on Macs (now there's a PC version too). On iPhone, it lets you surf the full web, rather than just WAP sites. It'll also give access to Web 2.0 applications (see iPhone Q&A boxout).

Google Maps Another impressive application that's preloaded on iPhone is Google Maps, allowing you to look up addresses on a visual map, and even get directions from one place to another overlaid onto the map. It's not GPS-based, but it's still useful for planning routes.

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