Wednesday, January 10, 2007

57 Tips for Writing Your Term Paper

So you're in college, maybe for the first time, or maybe returning after an absence. You want to do well in your courses, right? What serious student doesn't? But so many students feel lost it when it comes to effective study techniques, especially when it comes to the dreaded term paper. You know the kind: the ones assigned on the first day and due close to the last; the ones you feel intimidated by and want to ignore as much as possible.

Well you don't have to feel that way if you keep in mind that you're in college to learn and not show off what you already know. So having a few tips handy to help improve your chances at a high-scoring term paper will no doubt help - along with a few general study and college life tips.

Know Thy Prof
Professors and teaching assistants are theoretically there to help you. Understanding their role will help you utilize them appropriately. These tips are very general, mostly non-study related tips that can go a ways to helping your grades.

1. Professors are human. They can be kind and supportive or bitter and vindictive, like it or not. Grin and bear it or switch classes. Or get to know what your prof wants. Studies show (PDF, 3 pgs) that getting to know them improves your chances of success in college.
2. Understand them. It's key to your success, as it can lead to mentoring from them, which is valuable if you plan to do graduate work. Sitting near the front of class improves your chances of catching little hints and participating in lectures.
3. Don't lie to your professor. Ever. They smell the stench of your lie before you open your mouth. They've heard it all before. If you need an extension for your term paper, approach them like a human being, with professional respect.
4. No sob stories. If you intend to ask for a deadline extension because life got in the way, be prepared to at least show the professor how much work you have already done. Showing willingness to learn may be sufficient to win that extension.
5. Don't wait to the last the minute. Don't be like the student who went to the teaching assistant five minutes before a paper was due to profess that they didn't understand the assignment. No one is going to give you an extension at that point.
6. Think like a professor. Most professors say it takes about two minutes of preparation for each minute of lecture. Participate in the learning process by previewing topics before a lecture. If you want to go a step beyond, understand what a lecturer has to consider when preparing exams, assignments and term paper options.
7. Understand them, part 2. It's frustrating but true, some professors don't care enough to have you do more than repeat after them. Give them what they want, but learn on your own if necessary.
8. Your professor has a job and a life. Do approach them for help, but do it during their designated office hours. Lecturers have a memory for students who don't display respect, and it can affect your mark in the long run.
9. Don't know thy professor. Don't get romantically involved. Not heeding this results in expulsion in most colleges. There's obviously little worse for your grades. Ditto for your course advisor. Wait until the semester is over, or after you graduate.

Outlining & Research
There's only so much a professor can help you if you don't have good research skills.

10. Don't wait to the last minute. So obvious but so ignored. If a professor gave you the entire semester to work on the paper, there's a reason. Scope out the workload even if you don't want/have time to start researching immediately.
11. Create a regimen. Manage your study time effectively and study at the same time each day. Balance term papers with regular assignments. Being disciplined is crucial to managing study programs with heavy term paper workloads.
12. Use a roadmap. Always define your objectives with a term paper, if only just for yourself. It'll be easier to change direction, should that be necessary.
13. Outline before writing. If you set out the structure of your paper before you start researching, you will discover where your intrinsic knowledge of the topic is weakest (and thus where to concentrate your research).
14. Write legible notes. There's nothing worse than going back to your own notes and being unable to read them. Lifehack points to 5 ways to make lecture notes more readable. Lifehacker suggests taking study-worty notes.
15. Use a computer. That might seem obvious, but there's probably still a natural inclination to do notetaking by hand. Which is fine. Just write your draft on a computer, to make changes easy. A look at how Microsoft Word handles this, and how you can handle Word’s outlining, is discuss on Shauna Kelley’s site.
16. Get the right software. There are several freeware programs which — unlike word processors — specialize in outlining. Two of these, ActionOutline Lite and TreePad Lite are available for Windows. TreePad Lite is also available for linux, and for Mac and Java as JReePad. Here are 10 tools for online research.
17. Use the Google, be the Google. Google has a cheatsheet and scholar-specific search functionality - an excellent start. Here is a discourse on search engines intended for librarians but relevant to students doing research.

18. Get the big picture. Use encyclopedias, textbooks and websites to research the event or subject background first. Later, drill down into specifics covering your outline’s points and sub-points.
19. Bookmark. Whether you are study at a bricks and mortar college or doing online studies, you are likely to use the Internet for research. A good web browser is key, as is utilizing it properly. Bookmark web pages you find useful, including using bookmark folders to structure your research. It makes writing up your bibliography a lot easier.
20. Learn to revise. Preview, read, review before you write. Then edit and rewrite. Learn about the SQ3R reading and study skill system.
21. Cite for sore eyes. Citations, where you attribute the sources referred to in your paper, vary in style by field of study. Rutger’s University Libraries has a page noting several citation styles, and links to on-line guides. Ask your professors and TAs which method they require you to use.

Looks Are Everything
What you put into a paper will show in its general appearance and organization. Make your term paper something that a teaching assistant or professor will want to read.

22. Put in the effort. Make it look as if you cared about it enough to organize your paper. Write a good introduction and make it clear what you are writing about.
23. Put in the effort, part 2. If you are a skilled writer, you probably don't need to be in college. If you are not, then you need to not only write but edit and rewrite. Polish your work by degrees.
24. Hand in a clean paper. Don't eat nachos and cheese over top of your term paper or soil it in some other way. In fact, make a couple of copies in case this happens, and so that you don't have to go scrambling to print out another.
25. Produce good diagrams. No point including diagrams in your term paper if they make no sense, are irrelevant, or have no references backing up your data. But having quality diagrams or charts can improve your mark, especially if they are original and represent your knowledge of a topic. You don't need to spend money on software when web-based diagramming tools like Gliffy are free.
26. Don't use online term paper mills. Papers purchased from websites tend to circulate a lot, increasing the chances that your professor already knows about a specific paper. Some of them are also hopelessly outdated. If you want a bit of a leg up, only use purchased papers as reference material.

The Most Common Mistakes
Few college students start out highly disciplined. The good news is you can learn.

27. Not picking a good study spot. Every part of a library or campus is not made equally. If you want quiet, try out different areas and pick a good study spot.
28. Not knowing the material. Sounds obvious, but how many students do you know who just don't go to class and don't bother with homework. Why not just throw your tuition money in the garbage or set it on fire in a pile? At least you'll stay warm. You certainly are not going to pass the course without cheating - and maybe not even then.
29. Not reviewing lecture notes. Review lecture notes the same day, for maximum retention. Even better, review immediately after a class, if possible.
30. Not knowing what you already know. Sometimes you know more than you think. But if you haven't explored what you know by writing up your term paper's objectives and producing an outline, you may not realize what you know, feel overwhelmed, and leave things to the last minute. (Try a mind map. See the General Tips section.)
31. Poor grammar. Bad grammar, spelling, typos, contractions are all guarantees of lost marks on a term paper. Use the spell/ grammar checker feature of your word processor.
32. Leaving things to the last minute. Anyone who has done well in college will tell you that being aggressive with your studies will pay off, whereas leaving research until the last minute is a sure road to a failing grade.. Make copies on a hard drive and/or removable media. Crap happens, but it won’t affect you if you take an extra five minutes to make a shelter from the storm.
33. Not meeting the assigned word count. Give exactly the right amount without fluff or padding. It's a skill you develop, and you have to start somewhere.
34. Not meeting the deadline. An "A" assignment can become a "D" or "F" paper when handed in late. Penalties add up fast, and can be severe.
35. Not multitasking. The University of Minnesota Duluth says it short and sweet in their time management principles: combine activities. If you're waiting for something, study in the meantime.
36. Using someone’s work and not citing it. Your professors have access to Google, too. Very probably, they have spent many, many years reading papers on your paper's topic. Plagiarism usually results in a failing grade and academic probation at best,expulsion at worst.
37. Not backing up your paper. Use a hard drive and/or removable media such as a Flash memory stick. Feces happen, but they won’t if you take an extra five minutes to make a shelter from the storm.
38. Not getting enough rest. Learning and recall is directly tied to getting enough rest as well as eating properly and doing some excercise. If you're sluggish, you're unlikely to retain anything, no matter how lectures you attend.

Utilizing Resources
When classes get overwhelming, it's easy to forget that everything you need to succeed in college is already available.

39. Utilize your resources: attend seminars and labs. A good Teacher’s Assistant (TA) will likely be brimming over with tips on the proper mechanics of writing papers, insight on the professor’s marking scheme, and other useful information. Typically, a TA has already gone through what you are currently experiencing.
40. Utilize your resources, part two. After you’ve received your assignment, put the topic and the professor’s expectations into your own words, then privately ask (preferably on the same day your paper is assigned) the professor and TA if your paraphrase is correct. "But I thought you meant..." won’t wash after the papers have been marked.
41. Collaborate, don't copy. Your fellow students are resources, to bounce ideas of off. But don't copy nor give away all your ideas.
42. Collaborate, don't duplicate. If you have a team term paper, keep in mind that any group of people larger than 3 typically needs a functional head. Start by cross-pollinating ideas, then assign a lead to manage the tasks.
43. Get to know your university’s library. Not everything is on-line yet. You may find yourself using microfiche readers and digging through musty tomes in rooms you didn’t know the library had. Chances are your college library will have comprehensive research tutorials, programs and aids to familiarize yourself with the resource. Ask if you're unsure, and learn some basic library research techniques.
44. Digital journals. Many university/ college libraries have their journal subscriptions online, making it immensely easy for you to find the appropriate research material. If you are distance student, you may need a special modem link or password to get access. Having access means saving time photocopying stacks of journals.
45. Crisis Hotline. Call them, if you aren't feeling so good about things. They're trained to at least empathize with you, to help you through those down times we all go through. Dr Bob's unabridged student counseling virtual pamphlet collection has links to resources that can help if you are feeling angry, depressed or confused and don't feel like talking to anyone just yet.

General Tips
These are general tips to improve your general mental well being and memory retention, hence indirectly improving your chances at a better term paper grade.

46. Listen to Baroque music. Baroque style music is said to relax your heartbeat and improve memory recall.
47. Go to class. Professors often intentionally reveal information at the beginning and/or end of a lecture. This includes deadline changes, topic changes, bonus assignments and answers to questions.
48. Go to class, part 2. Attendance might be rewarded with points. Often, labs are. While this doesn't increase your term paper grade, having a few points for padding improves your subconscious confidence level.
49. Improve your memory. There are all sorts of efective memory techniques. Learn some.
50. Try mind maps. Mind maps are an easy but immensely powerful way to plot what you know about your paper's topic as well as what you need to know. There is free and inexpensive mindmapping software but manually drawn mind maps stimulate blood flow in the hand, on to the brain, and are more likely to spark inspiration and ideas.
51. Make friends. Many times, the "smartest" students don't do as well as more social students. If you can't make a class, try to befriend a classmate. Offer to swap notes.
52. Learn critical thinking. Critical thinking is a highly valuable analytical skill useful in all walks of life that generally goes untaught. There is more than one technique, but as a collective analytical tool, it can help you during the research collection stage of writing a term paper.
53. Talk to the teaching assistant. If you're too shy or unwilling (or whatever) to swap notes with another student or three, approach the teaching assistant. They are usually students themselves (though usually graduate) and know that other courses and labs can interfere with your making it to a class. They might fill you in on the missed lecture's notes or introduce you to a classmate.
54. Check the official course website. Many professors are publishing course notes online, somewhere on the college website. Occasionally, there's even audio recordings.
55. Try speedreading. Spreeder is a neat, free web tool that lets you paste in text and set reading speed. Speed reading is said to improve comprehension and retention. One key trick is not to vocalize words in your head while you read. Another is to read material at high speed, then reread at increasingly slower speeds as necessary, thereby improving retention. Technical topics are harder to absorb in general, and may require multiple reads.
56. Take a hiatus. Not sure a course is for you? Officially drop the course and try again some other time. The earlier you withdraw from a course the better. You may have time to change to an alternate course or get a refund, and your student average will not be affected.
57. Take a hiatus, part 2. Maybe you're just not ready for college. Or if you have to balance school with a job, an online education program may be more suitable.

Cure For Yellow Ribbon Patriotism

A man I once knew survived his tour of duty in Vietnam. In the privacy of a rented house trailer he drank alone until he finally had the “courage” to kill himself. I don’t know if he saw combat. He never said. I only assumed he had because when he spoke, what he said had the finality of a trigger pull. To my mind, there is only one way to acquire such certainty.

I only saw him on the weekends when he made beer runs for my high school buddies and me. We gave him a six-pack and ten minutes of our time for his trouble and then left him as we had found him, sitting at his kitchen table pulling on an unfiltered cigarette and sipping a lukewarm beer like he had all the time in the world.

I didn’t see him after high school and he was dead by the time I next thought to ask about him. I don’t know that he was a casualty of the war. He might have traveled the same road regardless of Vietnam. But then, he might not have.

Like most returning Vietnam vets before the release of the POW’s, he was not given a hero’s welcome. Hero was a term we seldom used back then; not like today when we toss it out like confetti on the deserving and the undeserving alike.

He came back instead to an indifferent, if not hostile, country. He and his fellow vets were slipped into the country singly or in small groups so as to diffuse throughout the population the “cure” they carried in their marrow, rendering it as ineffectual as a homeopathic dilution.

The “cure” these soldiers brought back from Vietnam was a potion distilled of moments: moments of bravery and sacrifice and sorrow, of bowel-loosening fear, of dehumanizing anger and hostility, of unasked and unanswered questions, moments too damaging to the soul to ever find release in confession.

It was a potion that if used thoughtfully could inoculate the nation against the disease of the god Mars. But it was ignored along with the soldiers. Vietnam vets, like the man I knew, were left to overdose on the potion in their own private hell.

The rally cry, “support our troops,” was born of a sincere desire to separate our feelings for the soldiers from our feelings for the war. It was meant as a mea culpa to the Vietnam veteran and a promise that we would never again make our soldiers the scapegoats for the machinations of the power elite. As a statement of concern for the wellbeing of the individual soldier, “support our troops” is unassailable.

But like the word hero, the vitality of the sentiment expressed by “support our troops” has been sapped by mindless iteration and the Machiavellian genius of warmongers. It has become little more than a patriotic platitude on par with, “God Bless America,” and a euphemism for “support our war.” As a balm to the national conscience for once again consigning our troops to the killing field, it is the battle cry that leads and sustains our country in an unjust war.

In a recent Military Times Poll, only 35 percent of our troops approved of the Bush administration’s handling of the Iraq war, while only 23 percent believed Congress was looking out for them. The troops are telling us they do not feel supported by the politicians who sent them to the killing field for a dose of the “cure.”

Against the advise of both retired and active duty military leaders, President Bush’s new strategy for winning the war in Iraq is expected to include a “surge” of 20,000 to 40,000 additional troops to help quell the sectarian violence unleashed by the illegal invasion and botched occupation of that country.

A November 2006 survey by revealed that 72 percent of Iraqi Shias believe the presence of U.S. occupation forces only exacerbates an already lethal situation and wants them out of their country within the year, while 91percent of Sunnis approve of attacks on U.S troops.

Our troops, our top military leaders, and the Iraqi people are sending a clear message. It is time to for the U.S. to “cut and run.”

Yellow ribbon patriots finally have an opportunity to support our troops in a meaningful way. They can begin by removing their magnetic yellow ribbon bumper stickers, by listening to the troops and helping to get them home, and by demanding that those who took the country to war with lies and deception be held to account.

All Americans will continue to abdicate their responsibility to the living and the dead and the wounded troops if they are unwilling to inoculate themselves with the “cure” brought home from the killing field.
by Robert Weitzel

Public can purchase $100 laptop

The backers of the One Laptop Per Child project plan to release the machine on general sale next year.

But customers will have to buy two laptops at once - with the second going to the developing world.

Five million of the laptops will be delivered to developing nations this summer, in one of the most ambitious educational exercises ever undertaken.

Michalis Bletsas, chief connectivity officer for the project, said they were working with eBay to sell the machine.

"If we started selling the laptop now, we would do very good business," Mr Bletsas, speaking at the Consumer Electronics Show, told BBC News.

"But our focus right now is on the launch in the developing world."


The laptop has been developed to be as low cost, durable and as simple to use as possible.

The eventual aim is to sell the machine to developing countries for $100 but the current cost of the machine is about $150.

The first countries to sign up to buying the machine, which is officially dubbed XO, include Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Nigeria, Libya, Pakistan and Thailand.

The XO's software has been designed to work specifically in an educational context. It has built-in wireless networking and video conferencing so that groups of children can work together.

The project is also working to ensure that children using the laptop around the world can be in contact.

"I'd like to make sure that kids all around the world start to communicate. It will be a very interesting experiment to see what will happen when we deploy a million laptops in Brazil and a million laptops in Namibia."


The OLPC project is working with Google who will act as "the glue to bind all these kids together".

Google will also help the children publish their work on the internet so that the world can observe the "fruits of their labour", said Mr Bletsas.

He said that the plan was to put the machine on sale to the general public "sometime next year".

"How to do that efficiently without adding to the cost is difficult," he said.

"We're discussing it with our partner eBay. We need to minimise supply chain cost , which is pretty high in the western world."

Philanthropic organisation

Mr Bletsas said that a philanthropic organisation would be formed to organise the orders and delivery of the laptops.

"It's much more difficult to do this than making the laptop," he said.

The aim is to connect the buyer of the laptop with the child in the developing world who receives the machine.

"The will get the e-mail address of the kid in the developing world that they have, in effect, sponsored."

Mr Bletsas was speaking amidst the festival of consumerism taking place on the show floor of CES.

He said he hoped that the laptop project would help children enrich their lives to the extent that one day they could become consumers of the types of technologies on display in Las Vegas.


But he castigated the industry for being unambitious in its plan to "connect the next billion people".

"They should look to connect the next five and a half billion.

"The way to do it is not to try and deploy tried and trusted technology but to try and develop technology specifically targeted to the developing world."

He said that OLPC was ensuring that laptops were being deployed to areas where there was internet access.

"We are trying to help the governments - that ranges from donating resources, to making sure that we work with them and that they don't consider the laptop as something that can work in a disconnected environment.

"It's vitally important that children are connected. My ambition is that we will get them connect to a vast amount of information that is unavailable to them.

"It will stimulate their interest in looking further - not waiting for some teacher or an adult."

15 Foods You Shouldn’t Live Without

Apples – The old saying really is true. An apple a day keeps the doctor away, and maybe even some damaging diseases. Apples are beneficial on so many different levels. They pack more Vitamin C than an orange and they are full of antioxidants that will help your body stay healthy. With so many different varieties, it’s easy to pick and choose the flavor that’s perfect for you. Try eating a few slices of apple as an after-dinner snack, or add it to your salad for a bright kick.

Flaxseed – This ancient grain is extremely beneficial, particularly to women who suffer hormone imbalances. As little as two tablespoons a day can help maintain bone health and cut your risk of breast cancer. Make sure you grind it properly before eating, so that you can properly digest it. Flaxseed is great on salads, or even sprinkled into a healthy shake. Some people even find that it adds a delightfully nutty flavor to their morning coffee.

Carrots – These little roots are chock full of beta carotene, which your body turns into Vitamin A. They are essential for eye health and there are a variety of different ways to add them to your diet. Cooking carrots does tend to lessen their benefits, so try to eat them raw when possible. Beta carotene can even help ward off cancer, especially skin cancer. If you have trouble eating them raw, try a few in a healthy soup, or dehydrate them for an afternoon snack.

Tomatoes – Tomatoes are extremely rich in lutein, an incredible nutrient that can keep your eyes healthy. They also contain lycopene, which is an antioxidant. Recent studies have shown that eating a few slices of tomato a day can halve your risk of developing cancer, including bladder, stomach and colon cancer. It’s easy to add a few slices to your dinner, or for a special treat, brush your favorite dressing on them a few minutes before eating.

Onions – Onions have been shown to help lower blood pressure and they contain flavonoids, which are believed to protect your body against cancer. In some cultures, raw onions are applied to the soles of the feet during an illness to help draw out the disease. While chopping onions helps release their beneficial nutrients, you can also try grilling them with a steak, adding a few slices to a hamburger or you can add a few slices to your salad. Onions are also easy to add to soups, stews and stir-fry dishes.

Garlic is extremely beneficial. It can help lower blood pressure, and may even reduce the levels of bad cholesterol in your blood stream. It may even help prevent cancer of the stomach. Add a clove to your next batch of mashed potatoes, or a few slices to your next meal. In addition to making your dish more tender, you’ll be reaping the fantastic benefits. To remove garlic’s odor from your hands, rub them on stainless steel. For garlic breath, try a sprig of fresh parsley.

Cauliflower – This member of the cruciferous family is believed to help prevent cancer and promote a healthy liver. In fact, it may even be beneficial to those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Try a few fresh pieces of cauliflower in your salad for maximum benefits, or add it to a soup or stir-fry. If the strong flavor bothers you, its close relative broccoli is also just as beneficial.

Plums – If you suffer from anemia, adding plums to your diet may actually help your body absorb more available iron from your blood stream. Plums are also rich in Vitamin C and it may even help reduce the threat of macular degeneration. Try adding a fresh plum as a desert snack, or if you prefer them cooked, a plum tart is fantastic. Cooking plums does tend to lessen their benefits, but you’ll still get some nutrients. Dried plums, or prunes as they are commonly called, are also beneficial.

Green Tea – This tea is rich in antioxidants and it’s extremely easy to find. Make sure to look for green tea that is made in countries that do not allow certain toxic pesticides to be used during the growth process for a healthier cup of tea. Green tea has been found to reduce the risk of stroke and promote a healthy immune system. You can drink it hot or cold and still benefit from its incredible properties. Green tea can also be used as a poultice on wounds.

Cranberries – These little berries are very important to urinary tract health and they are also rich in antioxidants and vitamins. In fact, the latest research has shown that cranberries can even be used as a very effective antibiotic. Cranberry juice is a great way to get your daily dose of health, but make sure you’re drinking natural juice and not a 10% juice cocktail. You can also try canned cranberries for a delicious side dish at your next meal.

Yams – Candied or not, yams are very good for you. They are an excellent source of Vitamin B6, which is essential for heart health. They also contain a high amount of potassium, which is very important in controlling blood pressure. Wild yams are commonly used to help women suffering from hormonal imbalances and they can even help balance your body’s blood sugar. Try adding yams to replace potatoes as a side dish.

Celery – Celery is a great source of Vitamin C and it Celery contains active compounds called Pthalides which help maintain good blood vessel health. Pthalides can relax the muscles of the arteries that regulate blood pressure allowing these vessels to dilate. Celery can also be a diuretic. . Don’t slather your celery in artery clogging cheese or peanut butter though. Slice up a stalk and add it to your salad or your next pot of soup instead.

Olives – Whether you like them green or black, olives are an excellent source of Vitamin E and it can even act as an anti-inflammatory. They are also a good source of iron, copper and dietary fiber. Olives are easy to add to most dishes. Slice them up and add them to your next salad or just eat them plain. You can also experiment and try olive bread, or just stick with olive oil in your cooking to enjoy its benefits.

Strawberries – This favorite berry is rich in phenols which are good for your heart, can protect against cancer and they can even act as an anti-inflammatory, making them a wonderful addition for arthritis or chronic pain sufferers. Recent studies have shown that strawberries can also protect you from macular degeneration. They are rich in folate, Vitamin B5 and many other nutrients.

Honey – If you’re looking for a natural sweetener that’s actually good for you, honey is an excellent choice. It has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties and can protect your body from free-radicals and promote quick healing of wounds. Try to find a apiary near your area for fresh honey. Processed honey loses some of its benefits, but it’s a great alternative in a pinch. Try it on toast as an alternative to butter, or add it your oatmeal for a great sweet taste.

Meet Apple's IPhone

IT IS the gadget that Apple Computer hopes will make all other gadgets obsolete: a mobile phone that looks more like a rectangular compact mirror, with only one button, a screen that’s almost invisible when switched off, and the company’s trademark chrome casing. Apple calls it the iPhone.

After years of speculation, 200 patent applications and a development programme guarded by the kind of secrecy usually reserved for CIA operations, the iPhone was unveiled at a conference yesterday to a standing ovation from employees and Mac enthusiasts, though journalists were not allowed get their hands on it.

The iPhone, which is just over a centimetre thick, combines several things that Mac fans have been fantasising about for years: a “widescreen” iPod with a 3½in (9cm) display, a handheld computer that runs Apple’s OS X operating system and the Safari web browser, and a mobile phone that takes a radical approach to the numberpad and keyboard. It also has a 2-megapixel camera.

Apple hopes that the iPhone will do for mobile phones what its iPod did for MP3 music players — redefine the industry. Apple has sold more than 70 million iPods since they were introduced in 2001 and more than 2 billion songs via its online iTunes store. It aims to sell 10 million iPhones by the end of next year, or about 1 per cent of all mobile phones sold. “iPhone is a revolutionary and magical product that is literally five years ahead of any other mobile phone,” claimed Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO, as he stood on stage at the Macworld conference in San Francisco yesterday.

At one point during the presentation, Mr Jobs — who has faced criticism for a continuing financial scandal at Apple, involving so-called “back-dated’ stock options to reward employees — used an iPhone to check Apple’s share price, which had jumped by almost 8.5 per cent.

Instead of using a keypad, users will navigate the iPhone’s features with touch-screen technology called Multi-Touch, which Mr Jobs claimed was as intuitive as a computer mouse.

Other features include a sensor that knows whether the iPhone is in portrait or landscape position, allowing the device to change its display accordingly. In landscape mode, the iPhone can display widescreen images and users can flip through their iTunes songs by the CD cover art.

Another sensor changes the brightness of the screen according to ambient light, and another switches off the screen when the iPhone is held to the ear. Another technology called “visual voicemail” lets you choose on the screen which message to listen to, without having to listen to voicemails in chronological order. The iPhone is also wi-fi compatible, and comes with the Google Maps navigation technology.

Americans will be able to buy the iPhone in June for $499, (£260) for an iPhone with 4-gigabytes of storage, or $599 for an 8-gigabyte model. The device will debut in Britain and the rest of Europe by the end of the year, virtually guaranteeing a shortage for Christmas.

“That Apple was going to release a phone was the worst kept secret in technology,” said Christopher Hickey, an analyst with Atlantic Equities in London. “But by announcing that the phone will include a wide touchscreen as well as iPod functionality, Apple has managed once again to surprise everyone.”