Ever since it’s announcement at WWDC 2008, most of us have been waiting anxiously to get our hands on the new iPhone 3G. If you haven’t been keeping up with the news or have just been in a coma for the past few weeks, you’d know that the second coming of the iPhone was to be released today at Apple and AT&T stores nationwide.
The first thing you’ll notice is that the once silver backing has been replaced with a shiny, plastic back. The 8GB iPhone 3G ($199) only comes in black, whereas the 16GB iPhone 3G ($299) comes in either black or white. Surprisingly, the new plastic back, which has a nice curve to it, feels high quality and fits very nicely in your hand. My only gripe though, is that the black color is very prone to smudges and finger prints. Metal has replaced the old plastic volume, power, and silence switch, which also add to a sturdier feel. The recessed-headphone jack is also now no more, allowing you to ditch the clunky adapters that were needed for the first generation iPhone. Also, the chrome bezel around the edges has been pushed back, which gives off the impression that the face is larger, even though the front dimensions are exactly the same as the previous generation.
So, the iPhone 3G is named the way it is for a reason. Finally, you can get 3G speeds on AT&T’s HSDPA network, which blows EDGE out of the water. I’ve gotten accustomed to EDGE speeds over the past year and having pages load up to 2.4x faster is a luxury I don’t ever want to live without again. Now I can browse all of my favorite sites without spending so much time waiting for everything to load.
One of the coolest new features is the GPS capability. You now get ‘real’ GPS, unlike the cellphone tower triangulation that was used in the previous generation iPhone. You don’t get voice guided, turn by turn directions out of the box, but it’s really neat to see that blue, pulsating dot, smoothly move through the map, showing you exactly where you are. I had a fun time using it on the way back home from the Apple Store. It’s also been confirmed that Navigon, will be producing a third-party app, available in the App Store sometime soon, that will provide real turn-by-turn navigation.
Speaking of third party applications, this is really where the new 2.0 firmware shines. The App Store allows you to purchase either paid-for or free applications, right from your new iPhone 3G. There are over 500 different applications already available during launch time. The majority of the applications now are not free, but the average price per application seems to fall between $5 and $10.
Also, anybody can develop these applications with the iPhone SDK. As the developer, you can take advantage of Multi-Touch interface, the accelerometer, GPS, real-time 3D graphics, and 3D positional audio to create some amazing applications. You can also choose to let your product be downloaded for free or you can charge a price. If you decide to charge a price, you agree to pay Apple 30% of the final purchase price. The App Store is proving itself to be a great place for developers to get their products directly to the consumer which an amazing amount of ease.
There are many other great features with the 2.0 firmware that I haven’t mentioned, push integration with Exchange and MobileMe, bug fixes, and much more – to list them all, would take quite some time. The iPhone 3G is a nice upgrade from the original iPhone, and if you haven’t gotten an iPhone yet, the lowered price and the great new features make it an amazing deal. Look out for some great iPhone applications from us in the future.