It's all a bit silly, isn't it? Nothing, especially a mobile phone, truly deserves the amount of attention heaped upon the iPhone 3G. Yet, such is the nature of the device, the company that makes it and the media that follows it all, it attracts the kind of hysteria normally reserved for the front page of The Daily Mail. Throw in a launch with Monty Pyhon-esque levels of farce - albeit nothing like as funny - and it's a recipe for weeks of discussion, dissection and, quite often, vitriol.
All of which is a shame because, as the original Apple iPhone proved, this is a product that can quite easily stand alone without the hype. Not perfect, granted, even now it still lacks one or two features many regard as essential, but then the iPhone has a few things no-one can even touch - touch being one of them. The iPhone 3G then is not the revolutionary device that the original was, more of an incremental upgrade, but it's all the better for those upgrades.
Let's start with the headline grabbing feature: 3G. There it sits, two little letters that signify one massive, nay essential, addition to the iPhone. Notwithstanding the brilliance of the original iPhone, and it was brilliant, the addition of 3G really makes this the product the original should have been. Where before one tolerated the EDGE network to enjoy the fruits of the effortless touch sensitive navigation, sleek design and the unique web browsing, now it's possible to enjoy all of these in a package that delivers a Mobile Internet experience fit for this fast paced modern age of ours.
How big is this difference? Well, using the 2G EDGE network it takes 38 seconds to download the BBC homepage, while on 3G it takes only 18.5. All told around twice as fast and that test was run in a relatively low 3G signal area, so in stronger signal areas the difference will be all the greater - Apple claims 3G is around 2.4 times faster. Just for reference, on standard 2G GPRS you'll be waiting over two minutes.
Twice the speed, by any measurement, is a significant difference and makes web browsing in particular faster, more efficient and, importantly, richer. Other elements, like Google Maps, are obviously faster as well, though it benefits less from the higher speeds and is still perfectly usable on EDGE.
There are some practical advantages to 3G as well. It means that, alongside GSM and EDGE support, you have the maximum level of network support. This is an important consideration for those that travel widely. Japan, for example, has no GSM network, so 3G is an absolute must to roam there. Another advantage is you can use data at the same time as making a voice call, useful if you need to look up information on the Internet while in conversation.