The New iPhone 3G…eh

The new iPhone 3G has logged over 1M unit sales this past weekend as some of us spent a “bit” of time lining up for one. I was in line on Friday morning for about 2 hours when at approximately 10:30am the AT&T store in the mid-peninsula of the San Francisco bay area ran out of 16G models! Needless to say if you want to see some serious inventory go to an Apple store. That’s what I did on Saturday evening when in Los Angeles for the weekend. There were no lack of any color or model. So I’m now the proud owner of the 3G iPhone in nice shiny black! Well, it’s not entirely uneventful. – While the 3G speeds definitely improve the already stellar web browsing experience (when you can get 3G coverage), Safari crashed no less then 6 times while trying to access my Facebook account. – The device runs a bit hot on the backside probably where the 3G radio module is sitting. – From time to time, the performance exhibits some delays in launching or shutting down an app. – The embedded GPS is a great feature coupled with Google Maps. I tried the performance of the GPS tracking while traveling northbound on I-5 from Los Angeles to San Francisco (not the whole way, about the last 150 miles). The GPS tracked nicely but Maps accessing refreshed map views kept the cellular radio on and nice and toasty on the back of the iPhone. – The Activesync support for synchronizing with my company’s Exchange server is extremely useful and performs well…for now. – The device is lighter than the 1st gen iPhone and slimmer around the edges giving the appearance that it’s actually thinner overall. But THE killer feature is the App Store!!! The iPhone has finally arrived at its ideal state of mobile computing! There are for-fee and free apps available on the store. You can find cheap gas nearby, duel with the PhoneSaber (iPhone version of the Star Wars lightsaber…pretty fun though!), find restaurants nearby, locate the nearest Starbucks for that espresso jolt, sign on to a social networking site so your buddies can find where you are and what you’re doing, post a blog entry or picture, get the name and artist of a song on the radio (Shazam, this is my favorite), update your Salesforce.com CRM, race a car while holding the iPhone like the steering wheel, on and on and on. Keep in mind that App Store is NOT a 3G iPhone feature, it’s an iPhone 2.0 software update feature. So my wife’s 1st gen iPhone is also enjoying the App Store experience albeit not downloading over a 3G air interface, but WiFi is available on all iPhones. Overall though the iPhone 3G will have a more expensive total cost of ownership on a monthly basis. The mandatory dataplan with AT&T went from $20/month to $30/month. Text messaging is no longer bundled and the minimum package is 200 messages for $5/month (it goes up from there). Yes, the iPhone itself is subsidized at $299 for the 16G model, but the data plan, voice plans, and text messaging are the same price no matter what hardware purchase model you choose. So AT&T seems to be saying, “it’s our turn now Apple!” All in all, the device is decent, but not stellar in comparison to its predecessor. The 3G performance speeds will definitely improve the network connectivity for some of the apps and the Safari browser (as long as it doesn’t crash on you…this is the FIRST time I’ve had so many crashes in any one day on an iPhone). But the real extensibility features are enjoyed with App Store and Activesync/Exchange…have some serious fun and have some serious productivity, respectively.

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