Sport & Auto
- About Future
- Digital Future
- Cookies Policy
- Terms & Conditions
- Investor Relations
- Contact Future
You coveted your iPhone, you might have waited in a long line to purchase it, you may have debated long and hard with yourself about whether it was worth forking over a day’s pay or more for any phone, and you certainly thought your iPhone was the coolest phone in the world … right up until you heard the dreaded news that Apple planned to release a new model. Now your year-old iPhone is looking oddly antiquated and you’re lusting hard for an upgrade.
But is it really worth trading in an almost new iPhone for the brand new iPhone 3G? Before you join the queues on July 11th, tamp down that must-have-brand-new-stuff craving for a moment and decide whether the iPhone 3G’s features will make a real difference in your life -- we’ve broken the key features down for you below. The earliest adopters may also want to factor in that their iPhone’s one year warranty will be expiring soon, if it hasn’t already, and depending on how hard a life your iPhone has led being out of warranty may be your cue to buy something new. And the patient people among us may want to think about whether they’ll get an even better phone if they wait calmly until the next release, see our list of missing features below -- chances are at least some of them will be making an appearance in a year or so.
OMG, It’s So Cheap!: Well, yeah, but only in comparison to the exciting prices charged for the first generation of iPhones, and in reality you’ll end up spending more in the long run. The iPhone 3G has a suggested retail price of $199 (US) for the 8GB model and $299 (US) for the 16GB model. But your iPhone 3G data plan will now be $10 a month more, so factor in an additional $240 over the course of that mandatory two year contract. Not to mention, the extra $5 you have to plunk down for the 200 SMS messages that were included in the first generation iPhone data plan. And you can’t scamper off with your inactivated iPhone 3G and do some tricky hacker stuff to bypass the approved wireless providers like you could back in the good old days, now your new iPhone will need to be activated in the store when you purchase it.
The Need For Speed: As its name rather obviously indicates, the iPhone 3G’s big deal feature is 3G networking. And a fine feature it is. 3G is noticeably faster than the EDGE networking used by the previous iPhone, actual real world speeds will vary based on location and other conditions, but in general, iPhone 3G users will be moving data at about twice as fast as owners of the older iPhone. Shaving a dozen or so seconds off transmission time is always a thrill to the technically inclined, but this is assuming that you live in an area where AT&T’s 3G network is available -- at the moment 3G is available in most major metropolitan areas, or as AT&T likes to put it “in over 13,000 cities and towns and along nearly 40,000 miles of highway.” If 3G service isn’t available, the iPhone 3G will connect to the EDGE network.
Where Am I?: Information hungry geeks and the directionally challenged will appreciate the “real” GPS in the iPhone 3G. Current iPhone location services use data from nearby cell phone towers and satellites to make an informed guess about where you are, satellite-based GPS is more precise in most cases. That said, triangulation-based services can update position information faster and work well indoors and out, GPS doesn’t always work indoors (and yes, you do sometimes want to use location services indoors, to find the nearest whatever it is before you leave the building).All that said, the mapping application most people crave is one that speaks turn-by-turn directional information, currently only possible with GPS service. The iPhone 3G doesn’t come with a turn-by-turn directions application but third party applications are under development, hopefully. The iPhone 3G’s GPS will also enable photo geotagging, a nice feature if you can’t figure out where you were from just looking at those bleary, out of focus photos you snapped with your iPhone’s crappy camera.
Thrills for Suits: Both iPhones will receive the new iPhone 2.0 software which boasts enterprise features such as support for Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync to provide over-the-air push email, contact and calendar syncing as well as remote wipe and Cisco IPsec VPN for encrypted access to corporate networks. This is a big whoop for people who work in the corporate world.
Applications in Abundance: You can feed both iPhones at the App Store, where you can make with the virtual grabby hands from what promises to be a good selection of games, business, news, sports, health, reference and travel applications.
Mini MobileMe: Both iPhones offer a new internet service dubbed MobileMe which uses cloud computing to push email, contacts, and calendars from online servers to applications residing on iPhone, iPod touch, Macs and PCs. This means that changes made on one device -- new contacts, to-dos or calendar entries -- are automatically updated in the software running on your other devices. And photos snapped with the iPhone's camera can be posted directly to a MobileMe Gallery to share with friends and family. Not exactly a groundbreaking feature, people who are already accustomed to these capabilities on devices like Blackberries, but very cool for iPhone users who want to keep their personal data current across a variety of platforms.
But Wait, There Should be More!: The iPhone 3G is missing some features that are now standard even on budget mobile phones, such as multimedia messaging (MMS), voice dialing, Instant Messaging, a keyboard (admit it -- you want a keyboard), the capability to cut and paste, Flash support, additional Bluetooth profiles and user-replaceable batteries. And its camera is still the same low-end 2 Megapixel model, when other phones boast cameras of 3-5 Megapixel's with software that actually allows people to take decent pictures with their mobile phones. Chances are that some of these things will be included in iPhone 3G version 2.0 (except for the user replaceable batteries, Apple has a deep emotional attachment to the closed box model) as well as more expansive onboard storage, so if these things matter to you consider waiting for the next release.
Are you going to swap out your current iPhone for the iPhone 3G? Share your reasons below.