It seems like only yesterday we were all going out of our minds for the original iPhone. Still, even as great as the original device was, there were some complaints. No 3G Internet, No GPS, and No MMS messages were just a few of the complaints that customers mumbled about under their breath as they plunked down $599 to purchase the device.
This year, however, things have changed. We still don’t have MMS messages (and probably never will), but the new iPhone has the 3G speed that so many were craving, GPS is on board in Google Maps, and the price has dropped all the way down to $199 for the 8GB model.
Of all the new features of the iPhone 3G the single biggest improvement is the external speaker and microphone. With the original iPhone there was very little chance I was going to hear the phone ring in my pocket. As an alarm, I would always have to turn the volume all the way up to have any chance of actually hearing it when it went off. The iPhone 3G is quite different, though. With the improved speaker (both in general sound quality and over-all loudness), I found myself turning the volume down to about half so as to not wake up the entire house when it went off.
The quality of phone calls is greatly improved because of these two elements as well, and for this alone, its almost worth the upgrade for existing users.
The GPS Navigation doesn’t provide turn-by-turn directions, and appears to be more focused on people on foot rather than in a car. I do find the GPS to be useful and helpful, but until some third parties release a more full featured GPS application for the phone, this feature won’t replace the need for a navigator to help you get where you’re going using the iPhone for directions. It’s a fine addition, but certainly nothing to pine over.
The 3G speed is something that I have found to be a bit underwhelming as well. It is very fast – much faster than its EDGE counter part, but to hear everyone last year you would have thought that 3G was the holy grail – and it just isn’t all that much better. Sure, we’re talking about shaving 10 to 15 seconds per web page load time (in my area anyway – I’ve seen various speeds reported online), but I don’t think I’m really getting $10 a month worth of a speed boost.
If the 3G speed bump is all you’re wanting to upgrade for, I suggest you find a friend with an iPhone, or try one out in the store, so you can decide if the increased speed is enough to justify the upgrade for yourself.
The new casing is interesting as well. It seems to fit better in your hand, although the black back attracts fingerprints like you wouldn’t believe. The new plastic back gives it a somewhat “cheaper” feel than the aluminum backing of the first phone. While I like the bak of the original iPhone much better than this one, it does have a nice feel in the hand, and while it does feel “cheaper” it doesn’t feel “cheap”.
There is a little issue of the iPhone 3G not being compatible with many iPod docks and chargers due to a lack of firewire pin support that is sure to ruffle some feathers, but I think this is more of a reason to not upgrade more than a reason to not get an iPhone entirely.
The most amazing thing about the new iPhone is not any of the hardware improvement, though. It’s the iPhone 2.0 software. The App Store is a game changing addition to the iPhone, and the new third-party applications (while varying in quality) absolutely take the device to the next level.
The bottom line: If you’re an existing iPhone owner, there are a few minor reasons to upgrade to the iPhone 3G – with the improved speaker and mic being the biggest. When you consider the increased monthly price, upgrade fees, and loss of compatibility with certain chargers and accessories, you may want to hold off on upgrading. I recommend taking a look at the iPhone 3G in action before you decide for yourself.
If you’ve never been an iPhone user before, now is a great time to jump on board. The new phone is solid, and a logical next step in the evolution of the iPhone. The price is great, and the quality of the phone is unmatched.
The major revolution of this phone is the iPhone 2.0 software – and you can get that, regardless of which iPhone you’re using.