TechnologyTell

Light-years ahead? I don’t think so.

Sections: Apple News, Conferences, iPhone, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad, Originals, WWDC

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Introducing the iPhone 3GS

Until the moment that the lights dimmed and Phil Schiller walked on stage, the rumor mill was still hard at work. Video calling, more RAM, and FM transmitter, and an illuminating logo were all there. But Apple seemed to keep things simple with the update, even giving Jonathan Ive and his team a rest by keeping the exterior design the same. Disappointed? A little.

A matte-black back was quite a confident rumor. The majority regarded it as a sure bet, and I can’t recall a single rumor that suggested the exact same design for the new iPhone. We did see video capabilities, improved performance and graphics, enhanced GPS and compass all feature as part of the iPhone 3G S. But remember the WWDC poster that we saw? It read “light-years ahead.” I don’t know about you, but no part of the iPhone 3G S is light-years ahead. Nothing amazed me.

Don’t get me wrong here—the updates made to the iPhone are great. They were much needed, and adding the features of the iPhone OS 3.0, it’ll be an even better device. But the Palm Pre is right behind Apple. This update puts things on a more level playing field, and Apple still has the advantage with the App Store and trusting fan base. We’ll have to wait to see how things pan out with the Palm Pre—whether people like it in the long term. But I feel Apple could have done more with the iPhone, and a launch just a few days after the Palm Pre would’ve been the perfect time to do so.

I’m certainly tempted to upgrade to the iPhone 3G S, but there’s no specific reason why. There are no must-have features available; the majority will be free to iPhone users as part of iPhone OS 3.0.

The fact that Apple can now afford to sell the iPhone 3G at $99 shows just how cheap the technology inside was to build. There’s nothing special there. I feel there are two things keeping Apple at the top: a certain logo stamped on the back, and 50,000 amazing applications for just about anything.

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9 Comments

  1. If the 3G can sell for $99 (prob costs $50 or so), the 3GS 16Gb prob cost $90 and sells for $199 — not to shabby on their margins.

    I agree with the rest. Great improvements, unfortunately it was all over-hyped, but not light years.

    Adam Berger
  2. You do know that the $99 iPhone is a subsidized price, right?

    AT&T is putting up hundreds of dollars to bring the selling price down to $99 (or $199 or $299).

    sfmitch
  3. Ed says:

    "The fact that Apple can now afford to sell the iPhone 3G at $99 shows just how cheap the technology inside was to build. There’s nothing special there. I feel there are two things keeping Apple at the top: a certain logo stamped on the back, and 50,000 amazing applications for just about anything."

    What kind of nonsense is this?

    Nothing special there? Just about everyone agrees that the iPhone 3G is one of the best handsets on the market (if not the best) – doesn't that make it special?

    So, let me get this straight – Just a Logo and 50,000 Apps keeping Apple at the top.

    I guess the iPhone OS is worthless. Not to mention, the design – worthless. iTunes ecosystem – no value there. Huge Hardware compatibility – that couldn't be important.

    If Apple is doing such a bad job – who do you recommend we look at to see who's really bringing the A game and not just counting on a bunch of Logo worshipers to make sales???

    sfmitch
  4. That's not what I'm saying. When comparing the iPhone's technology to it's competitors, the community behind it gives it an edge. The OS is brilliant, and people are saying the Palm's WebOS is also brilliant. The design of the iPhone is amazing – the Palm Pre looks great too.

    Apple certainly isn't doing a bad job. Of course there's more to it than 50,000 applications and a literal logo, but up against competitors, the technology is similar. But Palm doesn't have so many applications available yet (of course, still very early days) and I've yet to come across a 'Palm fanboy'.

    Everyone agrees that the iPhone 3G is one of the best handsets available, but why? 2MP camera – that's dated technology for a mobile phone these days. Touch-screen? Most top handsets feature a touch-screen. The OS originally made it stand out from the crowd, as well as the design. Palm Pre has given serious competition to the iPhone – and a specs list would put the two about par. So what do I feel gives the iPhone an edge at this point? A huge community, and the trusted Apple brand.

    Ed Parry
  5. " So what do I feel gives the iPhone an edge at this point? A huge community, and the trusted Apple brand. "

    ummmm… have you forgotten a couple of things? Apple build and sell operating systems for computers and the computers themselves. THAT's their main bread and butter. No other "phone" company can compete with that.

    When all the numbers are said and done, at the end of the day the iPhone has helped triple the number of OS X users (see today's keynote) in the past two years. THAT's why people are using the iPhone, bacause the company behind it is a software and computer hardware leader. Without that behind it… well… it's just another phone company.

    David Sunbury
  6. Ed, what more do you need to get amazed these days ???
    I think it get's everything you can dream of now, no ?
    I'm satisfied with it

    bart

    bart
  7. Apple are a trusted brand for their entire product line. People know the iPhone just works, and it looks great and has amazing features.

    I don't need to be amazed, I love my iPhone 3G – it does everything I want my phone to do. I'm saying that the statment of 'light-years ahead' didn't really appear. The updates, while great, didn't really put the iPhone 'light-years ahead' of it's competition.

    Ed Parry
  8. that's right, but i don't know which features they need to ad to be "light-years ahead"…

    bart from belgium
  9. I can name a few features that would have made "Light Years Ahead" apply:

    OLED Screen
    Voice Recognition to type text
    Higher resolution screen

    A year ago the hardware cost estimate of the iphone was $100 (reference: http://www.reghardware.co.uk/2008/06/19/3g_iphone_bom_forecast/ ) ; I assume it is less now. If they are charging $699 for the 32 GB model for existing att customers, i'd be willing to pay that price even under contract for some revolutionary features. But, all of the above is just my opinion. For now, I'm debating between a palm pre or an htc touch pro 2. I just wish technology was further along. I have to stop seeing movies like Star Trek and getting my hopes up!

    Guile