iPhone in 3G

Sometimes a Steve Jobs keynote is all about surprises, you go into it after a surge of rumours, but what you get on the other side is all a bit of a surprise. Yesterday it was exactly the opposite. The 3G version of the iPhone had been trailed so much it would have been a surprise if he had stood on the stage and not mentioned it. It even turned out that some of the apparently phoney leaked pictures of the new phone were genuine too.

So what did the Apple faithful actually get given? The 3G obviously gives the phone a big speed boost in terms of internet usage, and the other big new feature is the real GPS – pushing the iPhone into the realms of location based services – indeed it is already being reported that TomTom have a working version of their software on the platform. The physical design is slightly changed, but still recognisably the iPhone, and it still has the fantastic screen. In terms of disappointments, perhaps the biggest is that they haven’t done a thing with the camera – it is still the same old 2MP version, looking increasingly underpowered against the 5MP that is common in competitors phones. The iPhone is still missing the forward facing camera for video calling that competitors have – although I can honestly say that I’ve never made a video call on my current phone so it is no great loss. The new model still has limitations in some of it’s other abilities in that it still can’t do multimedia messaging, nor can it act as a modem for a computer.

The impression I get is that Apple are as always partly singing to their own tune, so they are very much focusing on what they think a mobile device should be, giving us fantastic internet browsing, but lacking some of the features that others may regard as necessary. Equally you may think that a GPS is a frivolous addition, but Apple as always are going their own way.

After the features, the big discussion seems to be the pricing.

With the significant drop in price, it is pretty obvious that the iPhone is being subsidised by the networks. However over in the USA, alongside the upfront price cut, the ongoing monthly charges have been hiked, as has the contract length, such that the total cost of ownership works out more expensive. The big news is that for once it isn’t rip-off Britain, as although in the UK we also get the price cut upfront – with the phone being totally free on some deals, we’re not getting a similar increase in the monthly cost, nor are we getting an increase in the contract length. Maybe it’s because our 3G market is more competitive than in the USA, but certainly for anybody like me who is in the market for a new phone, it is great news. Looking at my current usage and costs I can get a brand new iPhone and in addition cut my monthly cost all without having to spend out on the new handset. I don’t know about anybody else, but I know where I’m going to be going on 11th July…

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