iPhone 3G

Although I’ve been too busy to blog in the last couple of months, after my previous entry I was keeping a pretty close eye on the iPhone rumours as they trickled (flooded?!) onto the net.

The announcement of the iPhone 3G last Monday has created a bit of a stir, though the release of a 3G iPhone was probably one of the worst kept tech secrets this year.

So what of my predictions/wishlist, which included 3G, GPS, more memory, and a video camera, as well as a general comment on the cost of the device?

  • 3G: Check, though there is currently some debate which network speeds the “UMTS/HSDPA” listed in the specs will actually support (1.8, 3.6 or 7.2Mbit/s, though one of the first two seems more likely).
  • GPS: Check. Although the SDK states that “[a]pplications may not be designed or marketed for real time route guidance” amongst other things, I imagine that Apple could come to a suitable arrangement with well-known companies such as TomTom or Garmin.
  • More memory: No, and this surprised me somewhat at first. But a 32GB iPhone would presumably compete with the iPod touch, and I imagine bumping that up to 64GB to maintain product differentiation would make it prohibitively expensive and start competing with the iPod Classic
  • Video camera: No (and not even an upgrade of the existing camera).
  • Price: Slashed. On a £35/month contract (600 mins, 500 texts) with O2, the iPhone will be £59(8GB)/£159(16GB), whilst on a £45/month contract (1200 mins, 500 texts) it will be Free(8GB)/£59 respectively.

In addition subsidizing it on a contract, O2 will be offering a pay-as-you-go version, though the price has yet to be announced, and one of the key benefits of the contract is unlimited/fair use data which would probably cost a lot on PAYG. iPhone users will also have access to more than 9000 commercial wifi hotspots for free, with the announcement that O2 have also partnered with BT Openzone, adding a further 3000 wifi hotspots to the 6000 available through The Cloud.

There is also a suggestion that tethering the iPhone 3G to a laptop may be officially sanctioned by O2 – if so, this is fantastic. If not, I imagine that once jailbroken software is released, such tethering will be achievable sooner or later.

So, all in all, not a truly groundbreaking revision of the iPhone. The lack of Flash support is still a pain, as is the fact that there is still no cut and paste. I imagine these features could both be shipped in a software update, if Apple wants to…

Something which could not be upgraded like this is the capacity: it is a real shame there has not been an increase in capacity with the iPhone 3G. With the App Store on the way, in addition to personal music and video content, more than 16GB on the high-end iPhone would have been good. I imagine there will be a revision of the iPhone 3G, perhaps around Christmas, which will increase the capacity to 24 or 32GB.

So, will I get the new iPhone? I’m not too sure yet. My current phone is slowly dying, the lack of 3G – my major objection to the iPhone – has gone, and it is priced much more attractively than before. But I’d still have to pay off the remainder of my existing contract, and it would be nice to have more than 16GB of storage. I imagine I’ll sit it out until maybe a month or two after the release date and see how things look then. At least it should be jailbroken by then!