Meet the iPhone 3G S, now with video recording, digital compass
Ben Patterson: The Gadget Hound
Mon Jun 8, 2009
It's the "most powerful, fastest iPhone we've ever made," says Apple SVP Phil Schiller of the 3G S, now with an upgraded three-megapixel camera, voice commands, and picture messaging—all due on June 19. Also: The 8GB version of the iPhone 3G is now just $99.
The news came during Monday's keynote of Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco, and the announcements pretty much fell in line with earlier predictions, including a new digital compass, better battery life, laptop tethering, and MMS—although the latter two won't be supported on AT&T just yet, news that was followed by a chorus of groans in the audience.
Also, those hoping for a cameo by the recovering Steve Jobs left the keynote disappointed.
So, without further ado, on with the details …
Price and availability
Look for the iPhone 3G S to arrive in stores June 19, two days after iPhone Software update 3.0 (which adds features such as picture messaging, cut-and-paste support, and stereo Bluetooth) arrives on iTunes. Available in both black and white, the 16GB version of the 3G S will sell for $199 (the same initial price as the old 8GB iPhone 3G), while a 32GB model will go for $299. Meanwhile, we're finally getting a $99 iPhone—the old 8GB 3G, as it turns out.
Look and feel
The iPhone 3G S comes with an impressive set of new features, but you wouldn't know it from looking at the new handset, which looks exactly the same as last year's iPhone 3G.
The iPhone's old 2-megapixel camera gets a bump up to three megapixels, at last, along with an auto-focus lens, auto exposure, improved low-light sensitivity, and—here's the big one—video recording, including on-the-fly touch editing and the ability to send video clips via MMS (more on the iPhone's picture messaging features in a moment). Still no LED flash, though.
Apple claims that the 3G S runs faster than the iPhone 3G—up to twice as fact, to be exact, which means speedier app launching and Web browsing.
In a first for the iPhone, the 3G S will finally be able to make voice-activated calls, as well as play songs and playlists at your command—not bad, although voice commands have long been standard issue on many other existing cell phones.
Improved battery life
Poor battery life has been the bane of many an iPhone owner's existence, but Apple promises that the 3G S will get you three more hours of Web browsing (over Wi-Fi) and six more hours of audio, although talk time on AT&T's 3G network remains five hours.
Finding your way on Google Maps for iPhone can be a chore if you don't know what direction you're facing, but the new 3G S should fix that with it's new digital compass, which will give you your longitude, latitude, and precise direction (not to mention better controls on games that rely on the iPhone's accelerometers).
As announced back in March, both the iPhone 3G S and the iPhone 3G will finally support MMS—one of the biggest missing features on the iPhone—via the iPhone Software 3.0 update, due to hit iTunes on June 17. That's the good news; the bad news is that AT&T won't support MMS on the iPhone until "later this summer." Ugh.
Also included in the iPhone Software 3.0 update: Laptop tethering, which will let you share the iPhone's 3G data connection with your laptop (via USB or Bluetooth) while you're out and about. Pretty cool … but while tethering will be available for iPhone users on several worldwide carriers, we won't be able to tether on AT&T, or at least not for now. Double-ugh.
Other upcoming features in iPhone Software 3.0
Get ready for direct downloads of TV shows and movie rentals/purchases on the iPhone (perfect for grabbing some videos before boarding a flight), stability and speed enhancements for the mobile version of Safari, and a "Find My iPhone" feature (which tracks down your lost iPhone, provided you're subscribed to Apple's MobileMe service).
What we didn't get:
No Steve Jobs, although he's said to be "on track" to return to Apple by the end of the month. No talk of discounted iPhone service plans, as has been rumored. No Mac tablet (although many believe that we will see one before the year is out). No front-facing camera for video conferencing. And for AT&T subscribers, no MMS until later this summer, and no laptop tethering until ... who knows?
So, what do you think: Impressed by the 3G S? Feeling underwhelmed? Plan to trade in your iPhone 3G (or original iPhone) for the new one? Do you think the iPhone 3G S beats the Palm Pre, or vice versa?
Source: Yahoo! Tech