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Apple Announces Faster 'iPhone 3G S'

Gordon Kelly


Apple Announces Faster 'iPhone 3G S'

So we got exactly what we expected...

Apple has today unveiled the 'iPhone 3G S' - the third generation of its handset line with a focus on faster performance, better battery life and video recording. And yes, the 'S' stands for 'Speed'.

So the new stuff:

  • 7.2Mbit HSDPA

  • 2-3x faster operation (no CPU/Memory figures were revealed)

  • A 3 megapixel camera with autofocus & macro mode

  • Video recording at up to 30fps VGA with built in editing

  • The long expected
  • Digital Compass

  • 16GB and 32GB capacity options

  • Battery life boosted to 9 hours WiFi surfing, 10 hours video playback, 30 hours continuous audio, 12 hours of 2G talk time and 5 hours of 3G talk time (read: hopefully enough to get us through the day)
On the software side highlights include Nike+ integration, full hardware encryption, a text to speech read system and - happily - voice control which is started by holding down the Home button and offers support for dialling, music selection and genius playlists.

What we didn't see includes:

  • Larger/higher resolution/OLED screen (it remains 3.5in 320 x 480 pixels)

  • Design overhaul

  • Qwerty keyboard or 'nano' edition

  • Front mounted camera for video calls

  • microSD support (never likely)

  • An FM tuner

  • The much rumoured rubberised new back

  • A camera flash

  • A significant change in weight or dimensions
The iPhone 3G S will go on sale from 19 June to main countries (this should include the UK) with 80 more having a launch by August. Only US pricing was offered which sees the same 8/16GB $199/$299 price points maintained for the 16GB/32GB iPhone 3G S. Interestingly, the 8GB iPhone 3G will be kept on for now at a reduced $99 price (likely free on most UK tariffs).

In sum - and an attempt to bring some sanity to the wailing (both positive and negative) you're likely to find around the web - this is exactly what was anticipated. The enhancements are most welcome though it didn't seem too much to ask for an OLED display and LED/Xenon flash. Importantly, we have no issue with the 3MP camera resolution - our reaction will depend entirely on how well/poorly Apple has implemented the image processing and light sensor.

All in all, we have a sensible third generation device, if not a thrilling one.

In related news iPhone OS 3.0 will launch on 17 June with the usual free-for-iPhone-owners-$9.95-for-iPod-touch system. Touch owners looking for some consolation, I'd expect a 64GB version in the not too distant future.

Other than this much was repeated from the previous iPhone OS 3.0 announcement though titbits include 3x faster browser Javascript performance and automatic form filling, a TomTom turn-by-turn app due this summer and Html5 support. The launch of an In-app book store with more than 50 major magazines, 150 daily papers and 1m books is noteworthy too while the new MobileMe 'Find My iPhone' feature may finally add some value to the struggling service thanks to handset geo-location when lost and remote messaging, alarm triggering and secure wiping provided.

For an extensive list of previously announced iPhone OS 3.0 features (there are a lot) check the links below. So could've been better, could've been worse...


Apple iPhone 3GS


June 9, 2009, 1:58 am

all seems a bit samey


June 9, 2009, 2:06 am

I see from the Apple store that the accessories included with the 3GS are 'Apple Earphones with Remote and Mic'. Does this mean you're stuck with Apple's lousy earphones if you want the full voice activation functionality? Just as with as with the new Shuffle in fact. Boo!


June 9, 2009, 2:08 am

Apple really likes to take the piss out of its customers. I knew I shouldn't have trusted them (I just got an 8gb iPhone).

I have no idea how they get consumers to back them when they make their hardware obsolete or pitiful (by comparison) every 6 months.

Also I heard they didn't even release the iPhone in Korea or China because it would be a total insult to the technology that they have in phones already. Apple is Satan!

Kashif Bhatti

June 9, 2009, 2:09 am

Thanks to the (intense) rumor mill of the past few months, no earth-shattering new features - all really what was promised from OS 3.0 (except camera, speed, and battery life). Slightly disappointed, as an ardent apple-phile.

Will wait and see what rip-off prices O2 is going to charge existing owners to upgrade... this time, it may not be worth the price as a digital compass, voice control and nike+ is not going to infuence me buying immediately.


June 9, 2009, 2:12 am

I subjected myself to the engadget (and Ars Technica) liveblogs for WWDC - and boy there are some f***ing morons on their comment pages.

The obsession with camera megapixels (discussed here previously) rather than quality is what really annoyed me. They are spec-whores. I was hoping for a slight re-design and improved battery life and got one of those, so I might finally get one of these.


June 9, 2009, 2:13 am

The TomTom support is very greatly received...as long as they don't over price it. In general though I feel a little deflated that something unexpected wasn't announced.

Welcome to 2005 iPhone 3GS...glad you could make it.


June 9, 2009, 2:21 am

I _would_ be disappointed right now.... but I am too hurt after working out the conversion rates for the new macbook pros.

$1,699: 2.53GHz Core 2 Duo, 4GB DDR3 RAM, GeForce 9400M graphics, 250GB HDD, SD card slot, no ExpressCard

$1699 = £1057 (according to checking conversion rates 5 mins ago)

however the price for the exact same unit in UK is ...... wait for it......£1299

£1299 = $2087......

now, I know there is normally a hike we get screwed on when living in UK....... but thats nearly $400

......rip off britain indeed.


June 9, 2009, 2:22 am

If it aint broke?

I agree with Kashif though, I own a 16GB iphone and already have a nano for my Nike+ running (read - slow jogging) regime, so I too wont see too much to make me pay through the nose for an upgrade, unless it's set at an attractive price O2? Though running low on battery by the time I get in my car coming home from work each day is starting to p*** me off somewhat!


June 9, 2009, 2:34 am

will the iphone 3gs appear on other networks? and what's the PAYG price of the handset?

i have a few friends who'll be mighty steamed at apple that their shiny new macbooks are now redone, better (in some regards) and cheaper than what they forked out for.

Lord Comben III

June 9, 2009, 2:42 am

I see they have lowered the price of the basic one a bit. Though the pricing scheme still confuses me when the phone is only £300-400 pay as you go but you still have to pay £100-150 upfront on contract. I've never had to pay for a phone on contract even when getting ones of comparable or greater value???

Govind Singh

June 9, 2009, 2:50 am

Have you guys see the prices?


16GB costs £185 on £35 contracts. What a rip off. The 32GB cost £275 on the £35 contract


June 9, 2009, 2:54 am

@Govind Singh - apparently that's an error and the new official prices will be up before midnight. I understand no early upgrades will be available to O2 customers however as they were with the original iPhone and iPhone 3G...


June 9, 2009, 3:02 am

Why piss off existing iPhone customers by not allowing them to upgrade?

Rob 7

June 9, 2009, 3:03 am

O2 has just released the price for the new iphone, i see we are being ripped off again:

18 Months 24 Months

Tariff £29.38 £34.26 £44.05 £73.41 £34.26 £44.05 £73.41

iPhone 3G 8GB £96.89 £96.89 Free Free Free Free Free

iPhone 3G S 16GB £184.98 £184.98 £87.11 Free £87.11 Free Free

iPhone 3G S 32GB £274.23 £274.23 £175.19 £96.89 £175.19 £96.89 Free

UK Minutes 75 600 1200 3000 600 1200 3000

UK Messages 125 500 500 500 500 500 500

Unlimited UK Data and Wi-Fi Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes


June 9, 2009, 3:15 am

smells like another Apple Victory


June 9, 2009, 3:25 am

So are the Pay & Go prices wrong too?

# iPhone 3G S 16GB - £440.40

# iPhone 3G S 32GB - £538.30

I want to be able to put my simplicity sim card in it but £440? SH*****T!! excuse my french.


June 9, 2009, 3:26 am

@Rob - the official iPhone 3G S shows nothing as yet. I understand tariffs will remain the same as the 8/16GB versions are now. As soon as we know something official I'll post it. Equally important is O2's upgrade policy... :s


June 9, 2009, 3:30 am

Deecee goto expansys and look at the cost of high end pay go blackberry's and Toshiba/ Samsung mobile phones


June 9, 2009, 3:31 am

if you'd asked me a few weeks ago what my next phone would be it would have been iphone all the way but since then my enthusiasm has been withering, it's still a nice phone but i just dont think id be able to live with it day in day out


June 9, 2009, 3:36 am

"Why piss off existing iPhone customers by not allowing them to upgrade?"

Hang on, when Nokia brings out a new phone I don't get some sort of loyalty deal, so why should the mugs who buy into this iPhone nonsense?


June 9, 2009, 3:42 am

@Ironduke - Yes I am aware off the prices of phones however Pay & Go are still network phones and not SIM free unlocked and unbranded as they are on Expansys and play.com etc. If the iPhone 3G is staying on the market then the Pay & Go price of that should drop and therefore the 16GB 3GS should be £391.47 which errr isn't much cheaper to be fair lol.

Tarik Bos

June 9, 2009, 3:45 am

wow. seriously wow. the one or two things that could have made it great were left out. flash apple flash! you have a camera phone to make pictures of stuff spontaniously, aka when out with your mates on a saturday night. so again thats a no go.

would have liked i design overhaul, but thats no biggie. but come on a bigger screen would have been very easy to put in...

gaddamnit these things are not so bad that i'm going to sit this one out as well but its just a real shame...


June 9, 2009, 3:45 am

That has to be one of the dullest product launches I've ever seen... seriously they couldn't even differentiate it a little bit? I've seen differences between RAZR phones that put this to shame.


June 9, 2009, 3:48 am

Because the iPhone is iconic compared to the other phones, who ever has exclusivity to it has a cash cow, now if O2 can real in new customers while keeping their current user base sweet, it will help their cause when its time to renew their exclusivity with apple in the uk


June 9, 2009, 3:54 am

It's an almost insultingly uninspiring refresh and yet I'm still tempted to upgrade... I've been brainwashed!

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