iPhone is dead, long live the iPhone 3G!
That title up there might be a bit misleading since the first gen iPhone is not at all dead - firmware 2.0 is just around the corner now. But Apple have just announced the new harder, better, faster and stronger iPhone 3G (for less). Retailing at $199 for the 8GB version, the new iPhone 3G will be a smash hit when it rolls out on July 11.
The new iPhone 3G flaunts the same 3.5-inch display (480 x 320 pixels) and has grown around 1mm in width, length and thickness. The sweet tri-band HSDPA support is all there, allowing much faster data transfers than EDGE (but you know that already). There is no secondary camera for making video calls however.
Still, battery life is preserved at a nice level. The 3G iPhone is rated at 300 hours of standby time. 2G talk time is up to 10 hours (it's 8 hours with the first gen iPhone), while 3G talk time is 5 hours. It will be able to allow 5-6 hours of 3G browsing, 7 hours of video playback and 24 hours of audio playback.
And yes it's finally official - the iPhone 3G will pack a built-in GPS under its belly. This would open the door to a myriad of location-based services and applications. We just can't wait to get our hands on it.
Unfortunately, the iPhone 3G has the same 2 megapixel camera as the previous model, it's only that now it offers geo-tagging. No word on video recording, folks, so we guess it will be left out again.
Another shortcoming is that there's still no memory card slot - but that's typical Apple. We also didn't hear a thing about any upgrade of the Bluetooth functionality (file transfer and A2DP would have come handy).
Funnily enough, the retail box will include a special SIM ejector tool. Well, what can we say - we've always wanted to see an Apple-branded paper clip.
As starters the iPhone 3G will be available in 22 countries as of 11 July 2008 - Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, UK and the US - and availability will be further expanded to cover up to 70 countries worldwide before the end of the year.
The price will be the same all over the world - $199 for the 8GB version and $299 for the 16GB version. The 16GB variety will be offered in another color choice too - pearl white. We bet you've guessed it that there's no way that these prices are SIM-free - you will most probably have to enter into a long-term pricey contract with one of the approved carriers in order to get it. And there's one more thing - we've all been thinking: What happened to the rumored 32GB version?
All is not lost for the first gen iPhone too. It will be able to use the firmware 2.0, which is preinstalled on the iPhone 3G by default. The new firmware is just around the corner (scheduled July 2008) bringing a number of new features plus the App Store, which would open the door to countless third party applications. iPhone 2.0 software will be available on July 11 as a free software update via iTunes 7.7 or later for all iPhone customers.
Some of the most important new features of the firmware 2.0 are the Contact Search, iWork document support, bulk delete/move, saving images from an email, scientific calculator, parental controls, added languages, various input types, etc.
There's still no word on copy/paste in the Safari browser - what were they thinking after all!
The Contact Search is now added to the phonebook and users can easily find contacts by gradually typing letters. The Search works in the two contact fields.
The other major upgrade is the iWork document support for PPT (Powerpoint) files, yet editing or searching documents sadly isn't supported.
The other interesting feature is the bulk delete/move and saving images from an email to your photo library, hooray. However we wonder whether mass "Mark as read feature" will be available - that's a real bugger.
The next thing to mention is the scientific calculator that's activated by turning the phone into landscape mode, a resourceful decision.
The added Parental controls is a password-protected system setting that filters YouTube, Safari, iTunes or AppStore for any "explicit content".
Of course, many new languages are now added, including Asian languages - Japanese and Chinese.
And finally, various input types, including the character recognition (drawing on the screen) are added for more friendly ways to enter data on the iPhone. We highly doubt it that anyone would like to bring a stylus separately just for the sake of poking the display of their iPhone 3G.
Live pics are courtesy of gizmodo.com