Apple Unleashes iPhone 3G on America - 2 Minute Overview and Review Roundup

With the enormous amount of media coverage regarding Jobs' latest wonder toy, you probably already know the newest version of Apple's iPhone hit stores today. If you're not the type to read the 15,000 different reviews on it for every teeny, tiny detail, here's everything you need to know in this 2 Minute Overview and Review Roundup.

iPhone 3G Goes 3G (though you probably guessed that one)

The major difference between the original and Apple's latest iPhone is the inclusion of a 3G radio (hence the name), moving from AT&T's aged (and slower) EDGE network to their faster 3G service. This allows the iPhone to download data at speeds 2 to 3 times the original based on current reviews, but with the drawback of increased power usage and shorter battery life.

Form Factor

On the form factor side, iPhone 3G is largely similar to the first, but with a slightly fatter profile. Initial reviewers have complained about the switch from a purdy silver metallic back on the original to solid glossy-black or white plastic, though the build quality still feels superb. It's all a matter of personal taste, even according to Ryan Block over at Engadget, but I'd also say it's a change that leaves no surface on the iPhone that won't get all smudgy with fingerprints.

Accurate Location Awareness Via GPS 

Apple's also built in a GPS antenna for better location based features and services. This is common in other cell phones these days and should work just as well as any other (even though NYT's David Pogue says it's too small... whatever that means), though it's important to remember that (at least as of now) this isn't a replacement for your handy car GPS nav system. Location awareness and full routing capabilities are two way, way different things.

Third Party Support - Apps Store

Another big change in iPhone 3G is the inclusion of third party application support. The all new Apple Apps Store in iTunes is a place where you can purchase and download new applications and run them on your iPhone (legitimately... without having to jailbreak the phone). Original iPhone owners aren't left out in the cold though thanks to the iPhone 2.0 update released yesterday - giving all iPhone junkies, new and old, yet another reason to drop more coin in iTunes.

Be Prepared to Fork Over More Per Month

On a final note, iPhone 3G marks the move to AT&T's normal voice and data plan pricing. Meaning original iPhone owners may need to step back and evaluate if the increase in monthly cost plus the required 2-year committment to get the iPhone 3G on the cheap is worth it. For most, you could be looking at another $20 to $30 per month for the same stuff. If you're a newbie to the iPhone, remember that this is a high-end smartphone, and that also means high-end monthly rates to make it run.


I was in line and then bailed as it dawned on me that I had everything the new 3G phone would have except GPS on my current 1st gen iPhone. My data connection would be slower, true, but I couldn't justify extending my AT&T contract, dropping another $300 (for 16GB model) and paying more per month for the new plan.

I'd like to see a few more advancements before I upgrade including more memory (32GB at least), a decent RSS reader, and video recording!

Dude, the GPS on my phone I use is great! But you have to have a need for it.
I travel a lot and go places I never have been so it helps me tons.
If you have no need for it or the faster speeds then I don't blame you for bailing.

The additional monthly cost, plus the cost of the new phone and a contract extension, were what held me back from being really pumped up about this release.

Agree with Steven on the need for a good RSS reader and video recording feature... especially RSS. That would be AWESOME. A lot of the new apps are pretty premature... including the NetNewsWire app, which left me very disappointed and sad.

That being said, I may get one down the line, but I'm perfectly happy with my "app'd out" first-gen iPhone for the time being :)


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