July 14, 2008 by yogi2raj
The original Apple iPhone was a love it or hate it device – and incredibly slick and stylish handset, but one with a number of serious flaws. The replacement iPhone has been rumoured for months and finally we can see what Apple have kept very secret – the new Apple iPhone 3G. Billed as “Twice as fast. Half the price”, the iPhone certainly addresses two of the key concerns of the original – that it was expensive and slow.
Looking quite similar to the original iPhone, the iPhone 3G has a slightly curved back and a number of cosmetic improvements. As well as being available in black, the iPhone 3G will be available in a more traditional white colour, but of course the main differences are under the hood. (See more pictures in the Gallery)
Obviously, the iPhone 3G supports 3G. But it’s also an HSDPA phone, which makes it 3.5G. In addition, the iPhone 3G’s tri-band UMTS support, plus quad-band GSM, GPRS and EDGE data means that the iPhone 3G should be able to give high-speed data access pretty much anywhere in the world.
Another new feature is GPS – the iPhone 3G uses Advanced GPS to get quicker “fix” times. We’ve seen this before on many other devices, notably the Nokia N95 8GB. There’s a mapping application bundled with the device, although we suspect that full blown satellite navigation may cost more.
Apple claim to have fixed on other annoying feature on the original iPhone – battery life. The iPhone 3G has up to 10 hours talktime on GSM, with a maximum of 5 hours talktime on 3G. Web browsing time on 3G is slated at around 5 to 6 hours. Standby time is around 12 days.
Enough of the good stuff – there are some things that Apple haven’t fixed. Firstly, the camera is still a 2 megapixel unit , as found in the old iPhone (although it does support geotagging). We would have hoped for 5 megapixels or better. The battery is still not user-removable, so a new battery involves a trip to an Apple service centre. The iPhone 3G doesn’t have video calling, which is pretty standard on most 3G phones. Finally, the screen is still a 320 x 480 pixel panel when we would have hoped for a VGA or higher resolution display (as in the HTC Touch Diamond).
Of course, the Apple iPhone 3G still supports WiFi, Bluetooth. As with the original iPhone, the iPhone 3G’s memory is not expandable.. but the 8GB or 16GB included should be plenty.
The Apple iPhone 3G’s launch date is 11th July, and Apple intend to eventually roll out the iPhone 3G in 70 countries. The 8GB model will cost $199, the 16GB model will be $299. Those prices only apply to the US and other countries will have different pricing structures. The full release schedule is here.
It’s more than just hardware, Apple are promoting the fact that the iPhone 3G’s new “iPhone 2.0” platform will have more applications, and it will also feature their “mobileme” service which includes an intelligent push email service, aimed in particular at those people who either work in small businesses or are personal users. Mobileme will also integrate with PC and Mac based calendering and email tools, and will cost US users $99 a year, and it replaces the existing .Mac service. Software for the new “iPhone 2.0” platform includes blogging tools, an eBay assistant, games and more serious applications such as those aimed at medical practitioners. Apple’s point is this: the new iPhone is more than hardware, it’s also about the software and services that have been designed to run on it.
While the Apple iPhone 3G is certainly a much better device than the original iPhone, a lot of flaws still exist. Many of Apple’s competitors will be breathing a sigh of relief that the iPhone 3G is certainly not as good as it should be. Still, we think that it will sell well and even the hardest of cynics were impressed by the original iPhone when they get their hands on one.