The Federal Communications Commission has approved Apple's iPhone, clearing the way for the device to ship in the US in June.
Some of the FCC documents confirm a few features of the phone, including that it will have Bluetooth and WiFi, and can operate in the 1900MHz and 850MHz GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) frequency bands used in the US.
In addition, the FCC said the iPhone is a quad-band phone that supports GSM frequencies used outside the US. The phone uses GSM technology and the EDGE (Enhanced Data Rate for GSM Evolution) wireless data standard. Apple has said the phone will ship initially only in the US, but many GSM phones today, even on the low end, are capable of operating in Europe, America and Asia.
Eager potential users who hoped for a faster data connection will be disappointed that the approval is only for EDGE. Many operators, including Apple partner AT&T, have upgraded their networks to deliver download speeds of about 500K bits per second or more, over twice as fast as EDGE.
The FCC also released correspondence regarding Apple's requests that the agency keep some documents private. Apple asked the FCC not to release documents that include photos of the phone or the phone's user manual for 45 days after certification. Apple asked that other documents such as diagrams, a schematic of the radio, the radio bill of materials and operational descriptions remain private indefinitely. The FCC agreed to the requests.
Launching the iPhone this January, Apple CEO Steve Jobs alluded to the need to gain regulatory approval for the device, noting this as reason for the company to pre-announce iPhone.
AT&T, which will exclusively sell the phone initially, has given permission to employees who are testing the phones to take the phones outside of their offices for the first time, according to an AT&T employee who asked not to be named. Features on the phones are being activated individually, and so far testers can't play music, watch videos or use the visual voicemail features, the employee claimed.
Two versions of the iPhone will become available initially. The 4GB phone will cost $499 with a two-year contract with AT&T, and the 8GB phone will sell for $599.
Apple requires approval from the FCC to sell devices like the iPhone that operate on the public airwaves.