Home Editorials iPhone 2009 is official – The iPhone 3GS

iPhone 2009 is official – The iPhone 3GS

Update! The new iPhone is official and called the iPhone 3GS. The “S” stands for speed.

Apple is expected to unveil the new iPhone at WWDC. They’re starting by showing off the new OS features, most of which were previously previewed but are now official (including tethering). The real star will be the new hardware. New features were widely anticipated. Here are the highlights (blogging live DONE):

  • Tethering! Yes, AT&T has relented and will allow sharing of the iPhone’s 3G connection to your computer (Mac and PC) via USB or Bluetooth. Specific date of this feature is to be determined, but said to be “later this summer.” Warner says “Boo!”
  • MMS to come: Again, AT&T is saying “later this summer”.
  • Find my iPhone: Previously limited to third-party apps, now a tracking features is included in the software. Done via MobileMe. Remote data wiping is also available (previously limited to certain users).
  • Peer-to-peer: Not so big in the States yet, but this is a big deal in places like Japan where they frequently swap info between phones.
  • Accessory-app interaction: Previously announced, but it’s a big deal. Accessories helped make the iPod a success. Should have as much, if not more, impact on the iPhone. If you’re not convinced, check out the nav system integration from TomTom.
  • iPhone 3GS! The “S” stands for “speed”. Runs faster across the board. Supports 7.2 Mbps HSDPA. Need to see how they pull that off.
  • New camera: 3.0 megapixels and supports focus and exposure features for better photos.
  • Video capture: officially part of the new iPhone. Video can be shared via email, MMS, YouTube or MobileMe.
  • Voice control: Voice dialing is now built-in. Hold down the home button and speak. iPod control is also included.
  • Digital compass: So you can figure out your direction without having to watch the blue dot move on the map as you walk.
  • VoiceOver: New accessibility feature reads what’s on the screen, making the iPhone somewhat usable for the visually impaired.
  • Improved battery life.
  • Pricing: Unchanged but the storage is bumped. $199 for 16GB and $299 for 32GB. But the 8GB 3G will stay on the market for the lower price of $99, making it their “entry-level” model.

Reactions from Team GBM after the jump.

Sumocat’s reaction: Sounds great, but most of the stuff I want is in the OS, so I’m still content with my iPhone 3G. Not enough to make me go out and find an excuse to upgrade, but I will gladly take advantage of an excuse if I find one.

Xavier’s reaction: The camera improvements are reason enough for me to upgrade. The iPhone 3G’s camera is horrible. The compass is nice, but not a must have. A lot of what we saw from WWDC is software enhancements that all iPhone users will benefit from. Will be interesting to see how pricing works out for existing iPhone users.

Truc’s reaction: Being a WinMo user who just transitioned over to the Android platform, Apple’s release today isn’t compelling enough to make me switch. If I was still using a WinMo device, I would have taken the plunge to the iPhone 3GS, but seeing as how Apple is finally implementing things already available on the G1’s cupcake update, I won’t be jumping ship any time soon. Apple does have the software upper hand compared to the nacent Android and webOS app stores, and this is an advantage Apple will continue to have for the foreseeable future.

Warner’s reaction: Apple wins again by finally adding features that have been standard on other platforms for some time. Everybody applauds that Apple has caught up. Cynicism aside, the new hardware features and software features make this sound like a major upgrade, although the price points for existing users will be a huge drawback and make this a less than compelling upgrade. I still haven’t seen word about any improvements in the BlueTooth stack that might allow the voice control to work with a BlueTooth headset, so that’s a big question mark that will have to be answered with states beginning to revisit the loopholes in “hands-free” driving laws.   Video and the capability of adding accessories via the dock will become the big news down the road, although I anticipate that most of these functions in the early going will be very niche. Nothing wrong with that, and it will further entrench the iPhone platform as the one to beat going forward.

Rob’s reaction: I’ve been beta testing 3.0 since it came out, so I’ve been able to enjoy all the new OS features. However, the speed, battery, and video camera improvements all have me salivating. However, I’m in a bit of a precarious situation regarding an upgrade: I dropped my iPhone last week and cracked the screen. Now, I could get it fixed for $100 or buy a new one for $399 (yeah, that totally stinks AT&T).   Or, I could keep using my Google G1 phone that has many of the new features (video recording, etc) and not spend any money. As much as I’d love to have one of those new phones, I think I’ll stick with my G1 and save my money all the way around.   If the pricing would have been $199 for an upgrade, I would have chosen the upgrade 3GS. However, AT&T just chose to not take my money…

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10 Comments

  1. Paul Harrigan

    06/08/2009 at 1:16 pm

    For most users, this probably will not be a game-changer. The new features and speed are a nice interim upgrade, though, and some things, like hardware encryption, may make a difference in business and government markets.

    The real story behind this phone and introduction, however, is the tension between Apple and AT&T — delaying introduction of MMS and not supporting tethering are not likely to be popular decisions in Cupertino.

    Reply

  2. Gavin Miller

    06/08/2009 at 1:46 pm

    Biggie for me is the camera, as a big Evernote user the camera will be a boon for capturing documents, business cards, maps etc. Still no multitasking though! (Or did I miss it).

    Reply

  3. Mickey Segal

    06/08/2009 at 2:56 pm

    Reuters reports that “Morgan Stanley estimates that an entry-level, $99 phone would double existing sales.” This is ridiculous because the phone costs almost $99 a month in fees, so reducing the cost to $99 will only have an impact on the mentally challenged, those living hand to mouth, or those paying for the phone but getting someone else to pay monthly charges. This is another example of the need to be skeptical of financial advisers.

    Reply

  4. Sumocat

    06/08/2009 at 3:03 pm

    Mickey: Agreed (although I pay less than $80 a month for my plan). Double existing sales is crazy. If you couldn’t afford $199, you probably can’t afford $99.

    Reply

  5. Xavier

    06/08/2009 at 4:11 pm

    Don’t underestimate the power of a “sub $100” price tag.
    I’ve met a lot of folks that told me that they saved a lot of money by going for the 8GB iPhone 3G compared to me w/my 16GB iPhone 3G.

    $99 is peanuts when taken in context of the total cost of ownership, but quite a lot when being measured against $299.

    Reply

  6. GoodThings2Life

    06/08/2009 at 4:27 pm

    I want a survey about how many iPhone users even know what a compass is or how to use it…

    Reply

  7. Medic

    06/08/2009 at 4:33 pm

    If it all holds true, the iPhone could be become the swiss army knife of the mobile world. I will certainly take an iPhone into the mountains!

    I am concerned about the overall pricing. What is still lurking behind the iPhone is that more shareware is added. We still have to take into accout that you will probably have to pay for several good apps. For microsoft windows users the necessary investment will have to be made to make the OS compatible with the iPhone OS, and you will also have to switch to iTunes. I am also curious if the current network providers can keep up with the comsumer demand for a good speedy connection to the internet for a reasonable price, without decreasing the iPhones potential. I’m also worried about the Partnership with TomTom. I hope Apple made a good deal with them to keep yearly map and software updates at a reasonable prices. Prices today for map and software updates/upgrades are preposterously high, at least what I can confirm for Europe!

    If pricing for the third party apps cannot be kept at bay, I think Apple is in for a big disappointment in their sale expectations. Apple certainly did choose a right time for announcing the iPhone 3GS. Owners of the new iPhone have all summer to test. Prices after critical review over the summer will hopefully go down in this timeframe.

    Reply

  8. Medic

    06/08/2009 at 4:36 pm

    Oh, one item I missed in all the reviews being put out. Is anything known about improved speakers on the new iPhone?

    Reply

  9. Sierra Modro

    06/08/2009 at 5:40 pm

    Medic – nothing was mentioned about the speakers. I would guess that there is no change.

    The camera has me excited, as does the improved speed and battery life. For me, speed and battery life go hand-in-hand. If it’s faster, it takes less time for me to do my tasks, which conserves battery, plus the battery lasts longer, so I should get a net effect that “feels” even longer. At least that’s the way the emotional math has worked for me in the past. ;-)

    Reply

  10. Sumocat

    06/08/2009 at 6:49 pm

    I’m surprised there’s no simple speaker attachment for the dock connector. There are plenty for the 3.5mm port, but nothing you can pop into the dc. Odd.

    Reply

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