Introducing the iPhone 3G S
Apple unveiled its next-generation iPhone, the iPhone 3G S, at its Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco Monday. The updated device is said to be twice as fast as the current iPhone 3G model, with better battery life and a host of new features.
The iPhone 3G S will be available at the same price levels as its predecessor, though with higher amounts of storage: A 16GB version will sell for $199, and a 32GB phone will go for $299. Both models will require a new two-year AT&T service commitment for those prices to apply.
Apple's iPhone 3G S hits store shelves in the U.S. next Friday, June 19. The phones will be carried at Apple and AT&T retail locations as well as at Best Buy and Wal-Mart stores. The new iPhone will also reach more than 80 other countries over the coming weeks.
While ongoing rumors of a scaled-down "iPhone Nano" didn't pan out, Apple will now offer a $99 iPhone, too: As of this week, the iPhone 3G 8GB model will drop down to that price, lending some validity to the recent predictions of a lower-priced iPhone option,
The 3G's price drop may be buzzworthy, but it's the iPhone 3G S that's the talk of the tech world today. We've broken down Apple's new offering into an easy-to-digest photo tour. Click through the following pages to get a glimpse at the next-generation iPhone and what it can do, then make your own decision as to whether it's the right smartphone for you.
PC World coverage of the 2009 Apple Worldwide Developers Conference:
The Need For Speed
Apple's billing the iPhone 3G S as the "fastest, most powerful iPhone yet." The 3GS is said to double the speed of the 3G phone, providing faster Web page rendering as well as zippier application launching and switching. The iPhone 3G S also has support for 7.2 Mbps HSDPA, which will allow for faster networking speeds once AT&T begins supporting the standard later this year.
Next: Video Recording and Multimedia Messaging
Video Recording and Multimedia Messaging
The iPhone 3G S boasts a 3-megapixel camera that lets you capture and edit both still images and video. The new camera offers a "tap to focus" feature that can automatically adjust an image for focus, exposure, color, and contrast. A "trim" option allows you to set in and out points to manipulate video. You'll also be able to upload videos to YouTube or MobileMe or send them via e-mail. Multimedia messaging (MMS) is expected to be available for AT&T customers by late summer.
Next: Better Graphics, Better Battery Life
Better Graphics, Better Battery Life
Apple's next-gen iPhone shifts to the OpenGL ES 2.0 3D graphics standard, which means games and other graphic-heavy apps should look significantly better than they did on the 3G model. The iPhone 3G S also claims longer battery life, meaning resource-heavy apps shouldn't drain your phone's juice quite as quickly.
Next: Cut, Copy, and Paste
Cut, Copy, and Paste
Perhaps one of the most sought-after features in the iPhone, Apple's 3G S model finally delivers cut, copy, and paste functionality throughout the iPhone operating system. One of more than a hundred new features introduced in the iPhone 3.0 OS update, cut, copy, and paste will let you select a block of text, HTML, or photos, then paste it into other Apple-created applications.
Next: Landscape Keyboard
Another often-requested feature popping up in the new iPhone operating system is the wider availability of the landscape keyboard mode. The landscape keyboard can now be activated in any instance of Mail, Messages, Notes, or Safari. The function will also be available to iPhone 3G and iPod Touch owners who install the new 3.0 OS update.
Next: Spotlight Search
Also missing from past iPhone incarnations and available in the 3.0 update is a phone-wide search feature. The iPhone 3G S comes with Spotlight Search, which allows you to perform a query across all of the phone's data. You can also opt to limit your search to Mail, Contacts, Calendar, or iPod.
Next: Hands-Free Voice Control
Hands-Free Voice Control
Apple's iPhone 3G S adds built-in support for hands-free voice control. Using voice commands, you can dial by name or number; play music by artist, album, or playlist; activate the iPod Genius feature; pause or skip tracks on the iPod; and receive information about the track that's currently playing. The 3G S also has an integrated Voice Memo application that allows you to record voice memos onto the device.
Next: Digital Compass
Apple matches Android's navigational power with a newly added digital compass for the iPhone 3G S. The compass, activated via a dedicated app, functions just like a regular compass would -- except with the added benefit of also being able to see your current location by using the iPhone GPS system. The compass is integrated within Maps as well.
Next: Find My iPhone
Find My iPhone
The iPhone 3G S makes finding a lost iPhone a little bit easier. A new Find My iPhone feature lets you locate a lost phone on a map within MobileMe, then send a special message that'll appear on the device's display. You can remotely sound an alarm to help find the phone, too, even if it's set to silent. Find My iPhone also includes a Remote Wipe option that can remotely clear all of your content.
Next: Movie Purchasing and Renting
Movie Purchasing and Renting
Watching movies gets simpler with the new iPhone 3.0 update included with the 3G S phone. The OS now allows you to purchase or rent movies directly from your device, then download them wirelessly via iTunes. Apple has also included parental controls to let moms and dads restrict what kids can download.
Next: Push Notifications and Tethering
Push Notifications and Tethering
Other much-discussed features make their debut in the updated iPhone software, including push notification for instant messaging and other applications. Tethering -- something once available on the iPhone via third-party applications -- is also included; however, AT&T is not currently supporting the function, so U.S. users will be out of luck for now.
So there you have it: the iPhone 3G S. Disappointed? Delighted? Indifferent? Let us know. Leave your thoughts and reactions in the comments section below. And if you're still hungry for more Apple news, check out some of our other coverage of the 2009 Worldwide Developers Conference: