3G iPhone Get the Pluses and Minuses
Almost after its mega debut a year-ago, Apple Inc’s popular iPhone is back with a face lift and a major price cut. The next-generation iPhone, which will hit the market on July 11, will run on high-speed network using 3G technology. The new iPhone, according to the company, will provide Internet access at twice the speed of the current version. The 3G iPhone or iPhone 2.0 though has largely appealed to people, it has also left a few unhappy. The latter set of users feel that the product lacks in certain key functionalities which are common in most cell phones. So, here’s looking into the hits and misses of the 3G iPhone.
Miss 1: Where’s the new look
Apple products are known for their design. So, expectations about a new look were automatic. iPod too has gone through several design changes in its various incarnations. However, the new iPhone offers nothing new in terms of looks. The 3G iPhone looks pretty much like its predecessors. Though the CEO Jobs claimed that the new iPhone is thinner “at the edges.” Also, according to the specs, the new iPhone is only about 0.1 ounce lighter than the EDGE-only model. The 3G iPhone only shows a few cosmetic changes from the front, with similar display size and resolution, and the single Home button placed below the screen. The phone’s black plastic skin back has been replaced by silver-aluminum back. While the 8GB model comes in black only, the 16GB version will be available in both black and white.
Miss 2: Multimedia deficit
First and foremost, most users were anticipating a new model of iPhone rather than a revamp. Also, users were hoping for a larger bundle of features in the new model. One of the sorely missed features will be multimedia messaging and voice dialing. User replaceable battery and tactile feedback for the touch screen, both of which were high on the consumer wishlist too have been given a miss.
Miss 3: Video camera
Apple also missed out on enabling video camera support. There were also speculations of a higher-resolution camera and a possible support for digital video recording. The two features are especially missed as they form a part of the features found in most cell phones today, even those at the lower end.
Miss 4: Memory slot
Users were also expecting a landscape keyboard, the capability to cut and paste, expanded memory and additional Bluetooth profiles. For example, while iPhone supports Bluetooth headsets, the lack of keyboard or headphone is a hindrance for those who want to optimise their experience with wireless peripherals. Similarly, the lack of Flash support for the Safari Web browser limits the access of several websites on iPhone.
Hit 1: 3G speed!
3G technology gives iPhone fast access to the Internet and email over cellular networks around the world. The new version also makes it possible to surf the Web, download email, get directions, and watch video — even while you’re on a call. iPhone 3G uses a technology protocol called HSDPA (High-Speed Downlink Packet Access) to download data fast over UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) networks. Email attachments and web pages load twice as fast on 3G network as on 2G EDGE network.
Hit 2: Enhanced battery
During the iPhone launched last year, one reason Apple had not included 3G was because, according to Jobs, it was a drain on the battery. So, users were expecting more bang for battery in the 3G iPhone. Now, the company seems to have solved the issue. The 3G iphone promises 5 hours of 3G talk time, 10 hours of 2G talk time, 5 hours of 3G Internet time, 6 hours of Wi-Fi Internet time, 7 hours of video playback, 24 hours of audio playback, and 12.5 days standby time. The audio and video times remain unchanged from the original iPhone.
Hit 3: GPS support
The present iPhone location services finds user’s position via nearby cell phone towers and satellites, however, the iPhone 3G will use Assisted GPS supplemented by satellites. The new version support GPS, Wi-Fi and cellular towers. If stuck in a jam, Maps on iPhone will show live traffic information, indicating traffic speed along with route in easy-to-read green, red, and yellow lights. The feature also finds points of interest by keywords like say, “coffee” and iPhone will show users cafes nearby. Just like Google Maps on computer, Maps on iPhone would let users switch between map view, satellite view and a hybrid view. Users can also find photo geotagging.
Hit 4: Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync
What makes iPhone fit the bill of a business phone is the iPhone 2.0 software, which supports Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync. It delivers Push email, calendar, and contacts. Also, it gives mobile users secure access to corporate resources with Cisco IPSec VPN and wireless network services with WPA2 Enterprise and 802.1X authentication. The iPhone 2.0 software update will be free to iPhone users and be available for iTouch iPods for $9.99. A new service, “MobileMe,” will automatically send e-mail and other information to iPhones, similar to Microsoft Corp’s Exchange e-mail server product. The pay service will replace Apple’s .Mac service and offer Web applications intended to make the phone work more like a desktop computer.
Hit 5: New pricing
An entry-level version of the new iPhone, with 8 gigabytes of memory, will cost $199, versus $399 for an older iPhone with similar memory. A version of the new one with twice the memory will cost $299.