Almost a year after the originalApple iPhonewent on sale, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced the eagerly awaited 3G version of the device, finally putting to rest months of rumors and speculation. While some of the rumours panned out — the new handset will offerfull GPS— other rumours, like the addition of a 32GB model and video recording, fizzled.
But even with the long list of basic features that Apple stillis denying us(multimedia messaging, higher megapixel camera, ), the addition of 3G support is a big win. If data speeds hold up as Jobs demonstrated (more on that later), the new iPhone really will put the Internet in your pocket.
The new iPhone will go on sale on 11 July. It will be available in a black 8GB version and a 16GB version in black or white. According to O2, the handset will be available from O2, the Carphone Warehouse and Apple. The 8GB version will be available for £99 on a new £30 monthly tariff and the existing £35 per month tariff. Additionally, you can choose from two other tariffs — £45 or £75 per month — and get the 8GB version for free.
For the 16GB version, it will cost £159 on the £30 and £35 tariffs, £59 on the £45 tariff and it will be free on the £75 tariff. Also, all customers will continue to receive unlimited data — although will be subject to O2’s excessive use policy — browsing over O2’s HSDPA network and unlimited access to 9,500 Wi-Fi hotspots through both The Cloud and now BT Openzone.
Upsides Though the iPhone 3G is thinner at the edges than itspredecessor, the phone measures a hair thicker at 12mm in the gut. The other measurements are the same except that it weighs just the slightest bit less — 133g versus 135g. Otherwise, the iPhone 3G shows few cosmetic changes from the front — same display size and resolution, and the single Home button sits just below the screen. Its good to see that Apple has done away with the irritating recessed headphone jack, which now is flush so that you’ll be able to use any 3.5mm headphones you like.
But turn over the iPhone 3G, and you’ll see more significant changes. A black, plastic skin replaces the current silver-aluminium back. The swap may cut the cost, but affect its long-term durability. The 8GB model will come in black only, while Apple promises the 16GB version in back and white. The camera lens, volume rocker, charger port, speaker, microphone, power button and display locking switch show no changes.
With support for three 3G bands (850, 1900, 2100) and both UMTS and HSDPA networks, the iPhone 3G is well positioned for using high-speed networks all around the world. Considering that Apple is promising to bring the device to 70 countries, it had better be.
During his WWDC keynote, Jobs compared Web download speeds between the two iPhones. On the original model, which runs on a 2.5G EDGE network, a photo-heavy Web site loaded in 59 seconds, while the same site loaded in 21 seconds on the new device — impressive, buthas to betaken with a grain of salt for now. After all, the demo iPhone in today’s keynote was the only iPhone in the room using AT&T’s 3G network. Once a multitude of devices flood the same network, load times could change.
GPS is one feature that was on our original iPhone wish list. While the current iPhone location services find your position via nearby towers and satellites, the iPhone 3G uses Assisted GPS supplemented by satellites. It also offers live tacking so you can monitor your progress as you drive — or walk — along.It’s greatto see this feature as well, as it fills in another gaping hole on the original handset. You’ll also find photo geotagging, but we’re not sure yet whether the iPhone 3G or any third-party applications will support turn-by-turn directions.
Speaking of which, the iPhone 3G will indeed support the collection ofappsavailable through the iPhone SDK — no surprise here. Apple promises to open apps store in early July (Apple didn’t release an exact date); we’re guessing by 11 July. Gaming apps should feature prominently; many will integrate with the phone’s accelerometer.