Friday, June 27, 2008

iPhone 3G

Finally it's here. At WWDC 2008 Steve Jobs announced the iPhone 3G, which will begin shipping on June 11th to many countries. I'm not going to discuss about the iPhone coz there are lot of blogs about it and I too have published an article about the old iPhone on this blog. So I'll focus on the main differences between the original iPhone and iPhone3G and how will it effect us, Sri Lankan iPhone fans.

Please note that I still haven't used an iPhone3G and these facts are from what I read on the web. I recommend reading my previous post before reading this because that includes much information about the iPhone than this post. If you are in a hurry to buy one, I suggest reading Buying an iPhone3G section at the bottom this article.

Features in addition to the original one (Hardware wise):

iPhone will support 3G + HSDPA. But it doesn't have a front camera, which means No Video Calls. Apple hasn't announced the maximum data rate. But it'll be significantly faster than GPRS.

GPS is included in addition to the cell tower triangulation.

Size and Color
It's a little thinner than the original one. 8GB has a polished black backside which means it'll be more sexier than the orignal one. 16GB also has a white color model.

According to what apple has mentioned, battery will have more power. The original iPhone featured a 5hrs talk time on 2G. The new one offers 10hrs of 2G talk time and 5hrs of 3G talk time. Audio and Video playback times are pretty much the same. 7hrs Video and 24hrs Audio.

Audio quality
Apple has said it has increased audio quality. Just play a 256kbps (or more) mp3 on the iPhone. It's an amazing experience.

Features on regular phones but are missing from the iPhone:
(These are also the features on which my iPhone gets criticized)

Bluetooth support
Most hoped apple would ship bluetooth support with their iPhone OS 2.0. But as it seems that's not the case. The phone will still only be able to connect to bluetooth headphones and car audio systems.

Copy and Paste
Adding a clipboard to the OS wouldn't hurt. Would it? But if Apple doesn't like it, users get nothing too. So far apple has mentioned nothing about this feature. It seems it's missing from this software version too.

SMS Acknowlegements/Reply Notifications
The GSM modem driver in the iPhone doesn't support SMS reply notifications. So if you are a heavy user of it, think twice. 3rd party SMS applications also won't have this feature because they depend on the SDK provided by the OS.

FM Radio
iPhone doesn't have an FM radio. You know what? I don't give a damn. I'm perfectly happy with my iTunes music library and 8 giga bytes to spare.

iPhone OS 2.0

The new OS will also be available to the original iPhone as well as a software update. These are some of the new features that c with the OS.

AppStore provides a store of (official) 3rd party native iPhone applications. This means the iPhone will get various productive applications and games from worldwide developers (but for a price of course). Actually 3rd party apps weren't a new thing for hacked iPhones due to the huge community base around the iPhone. But the AppStore will certainly introduce some quality apps which will be accessible from any iPhone.

But Sri Lanka most probably won't have access to AppStore. Much like you can't buy music from iTunes store from Sri Lanka.

Exchange Server support
This is not so important for regular users. But corporate users can have access to the global address list and email through direct Exchange Server support. Companies can directly connect iPhones to their internal networks. it supports features such as push email, push contacts and remote wipe. Remote wipe is a security feature which allows system administrators to remotely erase down all data on the iPhone protecting company specific data.

Buying an iPhone 3G

Now for the really interesting part. Most ask me how can they buy the new phone. Up to now the news I've heard isn't good. I'll explain how I got my iPhone and the new buying procedure of iPhone 3G.

The Old way
Like the new iPhone, the original one was dedicated for one service provider (AT&T, US). The Phone had online ordering system. You can order it from the internet and it will come to your home (within US). The bundle included an AT&T sim (I still have it). Then you have to "Activate" the phone by buying a monthly plan from AT&T and acquire the phone number all through the internet and iTunes. What my friend at US did was buying the iPhone and sending it to me without "Activating". I received a locked iPhone (with an AT&T sim) which could be easily unlocked from ZiPhone (a nice piece of software). The cost of the phone was $399 + $26 (tax)

The New way
With the new iPhone, they don't offer online ordering. You have to go to an Apple store or an AT&T store and buy the phone there for $199. Yes, the price is significantly reduced. But you also have to buy a monthly plan from AT&T and "Activate" the phone within the store. So the person who'll be buying the phone will receive a monthly phone bill from AT&T.

The only releif with the new iPhone is that, it'll be available in many countries (but not in Sri Lanka). In India, they are offering it with Airtell. Price will be the same. Let's hope Mobitel (not Dialog!) will sign an agreement with Apple and provide iPhones to Sri Lanka.

Initially they will ship it to 24 countries on June 11th. Asia will begin to receive it on a later date.


iPhone home page :
Tech specs :

Updated (02-Apr-2009)

A lot have changed since the original post. Now you can actually buy an iPhone 3G in Sri Lanka. Dialog officially brings it (price is bit high) and there are places which unofficially brings iPhone3G here. Since Dialog is officially in the business, EPSI iStore (Apple authorized dealer) is supplying iPhone accessories too. You can buy applications from the Sri Lankan AppStore in iTunes. Everything works well.