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Wading through the iPhone 3G hype machine

If you have iPhone 1.0, do you upgrade? By Matthew David

It has been almost a year to the day that I purchased my first iPhone, or iPhone 1.0. Yes, I was caught paying the hefty sticker of $599, caught using AT&Ts slow EDGE network and, yes, caught in the frenzy only Apple is capable of building. In other words, I was caught hook, line and sinker.
  
So, it's July 11th and the new iPhone is coming out. Is the fabled God-Phone worth the price? Let's look.

The Bad News
It is easy to get caught up in the great excitement that is iPhone 2.0, or iPhone 3G. But it is not all roses. There are already companies coming out with complaints about iPhone 2.0. A constant complaint from Apple is the inability to change out the battery on the phone. This is a must for Road Warriors who need to have a Smartphone that is powered all day while they are visiting with clients.

A big complaint of the original iPhone is the data capacity of the device. When iPhone 1.0 was released it came out in two versions: a 4GB and 8GB. What? You don't remember the 4GB version? That is because few people purchased it and Apple was force to discontinue the model quickly after its release. The new iPhone comes in 8 and 16GB versions. This is a lot of space if you just listen to music, but the iPhone is great for watching movies and will soon be loaded with software from the new AppStore. The iPod Touch ships with 16 and 32GB. Is it really too much to ask that iPhone gets an increase in storage?


Is iPhone 3G worth the premium price that AT&T will charge?

As you might expect, the worst news is not coming from Apple, but from AT&T. To own an Apple iPhone 2.0 you must sign a contract with AT&T that is now including a $10 data hike over the existing iPhone plan. This means you can expect to actually pay an additional $240 over the life of your contract. Don't worry, I am sure AT&T can continue to guarantee the spotty cell service you are already enjoying.

The Good News
As with the original iPhone, it is easy to point out the good points. What you might find interesting is that Apple, in many respects, is simply playing catch up to the rest of the mobile phone industry with iPhone 3G. The first good news is the price: $199! You can compare the iPhone feature to feature and price to price with competing products such as RIM's Black Berry and Microsoft's Windows Mobile phones.

The next good news is support for the 3G wireless network. Remember when you upgraded your Internet connection from Dial-up to broadband? Remember that good feeling you got as Web pages zipped onto the screen. 3G will give you that good feeling. AT&T is also promising to dramatically increase the connection speed for 3G continuously over the next year. Wireless Internet is finally here. If, however, you long for the malaise of slow EDGE connection, you need not worry. EDGE will be supported in the iPhone 2.0 for areas where 3G does not run.

The Global Positioning System has been featured in many smart devices for several years. Finally, the iPhone has it. This brings the number of tracking devices in the iPhone up to three: you have GPS, Cell Tower and Wi-Fi hotspot triangulation location tools. There is no excuse to being lost.

Finally, battery life has been extended in the iPhone. A concern about supporting 3G and GPS is that these technologies can drain the battery life from a device very quickly. Apple has not only addressed these concerns in the iPhone but amazingly been able to extend the battery life beyond that of competing products AND slimmed the device down a couple of millimeters.

The Really Good News
The big news for iPhone 3G is not really the hardware. Don't get me wrong, GPS and 3G are both cool, but they pale in comparison to the new AppStore coming to your phone. The AppStore is the place where third party companies will be able to sell software. Apple placed a tight gag order, or NDA, on any company discussing the software they are making for the AppStore. In the weeks leading up to the launch of the store, a lot of companies could not help themselves but start to blurb about what they have. 

The unique qualities of the iPhone interface, such as the touch screen, accelerometer, location tools and high speed internet access, give developers a lot to play with. Build all of this on top of Apple's OS X and a detailed Software Developers Kit, leads to 250,000 developers wanting to build solutions for the AppStore. At Apple's June World Wide Developers Conference, we were told that 4,500 companies have already been approved to have solutions ready for the AppStore. Do not expect all of these companies to release software immediately, but do expect a massive library of solutions you can choose from before year end.

The software many of us want to get our hands on are the new games. Companies, such as SEGA, Electronic Arts and Pop Cap are all readying console level games for sale through the AppStore. Web sites, such as TouchArcade.com, are dedicating themselves to just covering the new games. The rich 3D graphics and interactive game play the iPhone gives you is having it compared as a better product than Nintendo's DS and Sony's PSP. It is to be seen whether or not Apple can compete against these two hand held game system giants. As Nintendo proved with the Wii, it is not the quality of the graphics or the technology; it is the quality of the games.

The Bottom Line - If you have iPhone 1.0, do you upgrade?
It is clear that Apple, with the iPhone 3G, has a compelling product that will lead to millions of sales for new users. If, however, you have iPhone 1.0 will you want to upgrade to the new phone? That is a decision you need to make. As for me, the answer is a resounding YES! You now need to feel sorry for my wife who has months of listening to me going "honey, did I show you this new feature on my iPhone?"


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Matthew has written four Flash books, contributed to a dozen Web books, and has published over 400 articles. He is passionate about exposing Internet's potential for all of us. Matthew works directly with many companies as a business strategist coaching IT architects and business leaders to work tightly with each other towards common goals.
Related Keywords:smartphone, mobile phone, 3g phone, iphone,

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