UK network O2′s sole exclusivity to sell the iPhone is about to end, two years after they sold their first one, with Apple reaching agreements with Orange, Vodafone and potentially T-Mobile and 3 too. First out of the gate to offer an alternative network solution is Orange, with a tentative release date of the 11th November. Vodafone should be joining the iPhone party in early 2010, with the final two sometime later in the year.
When this news officially broke, it was widely thought that Orange and friends would only be selling the iPhone 3G and not its more powerful cousin, the 3GS, but this rumour turned out to be unfounded, as the 3GS is happily pictured on Orange’s dedicated website. So what’s so special about the 3GS? It looks exactly the same as the 3G, right? To find out, we’ll take a look at the specification.
The big change with the 3GS came on the processor and memory side. The 412Mhz ARM processor in the 3G has been replaced by the ARM Cortex A8 chip running at 600Mhz and RAM has been doubled to 256MB. The PowerVR graphics chip has also been upgraded from the MBX-Lite set to the next generation SGX, providing truly excellent visuals. Storage has been improved too, with the old 8GB model being discontinued and a 32GB introduced, where it joins the existing 16GB iPhone, plus the HSDPA speed has also benefited from an increase, with the phone now able to deal with a 7.2Mbps connection. Apple have also added voice commands, a digital compass, Bluetooth v2.1 (up from v2.0) and finally the camera has grown from 2 megapixels to 3.2 and can shoot 30fps VGA video.
As one can see, despite no external differences, the 3GS os a very different beast to the 3G. This isn’t to say the 3G is an out-of-date relic, far from it, as its specification still makes it a very capable smartphone. However, some will argue that the lack of multi-tasking, a relatively low-end camera and the inability to change the battery or carrier are serious drawbacks to the iPhone, but as with any expensive mobile, many will not care about these things, deciding on the iPhone because it meets their needs.
Aside from the technical specifications above, with your iPhone you’ll get an excellent music and video player, a very desktop-like Internet experience, easy to configure email and a simply massive choice of applications from the iTunes App Store. This is where the phone comes into its own, as the App Store contains a wealth of brilliant apps, from addictive games to handy productivity tools and everything in-between, all of which can be downloaded and installed either from the phone or your computer.
Love it or hate it, one cannot deny the importance of the iPhone in the global mobile phone market and while perhaps it doesn’t cater for everyone – heavy mobile document editors and physical keyboard fans will find it frustrating – those who see it does everything they need will find so much joy in that smooth touchscreen experience, they’ll find it tough to switch to anything else.