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'iPhone 3G' - The Full Details & Disappointments

Gordon Kelly


'iPhone 3G' - The Full Details & Disappointments

Ok, the 'iPhone 3G' (to use its official name) is here and Apple fans brace yourself because it isn't a model which will please everyone...

Following my manic live blogging it became clear Steve was very carefully picking and choosing his points so let's break this down:

The Good Stuff

*3G is here

*GPS is onboard too,

*Battery life hasn't suffered. It is up to 10 hours for 2G calls, five hours for 3G. Standby up to 300 hours, video playback up to seven hours and music playback 24 hours.

*3.5in screen remains contrary to rumours of it being shrunk

*A white edition (the back is white) - for those find this important

*Flush headphone jack - at long last

*Weight is cut 2g (most likely by scrapping the metal back in favour of a plastic one - see below)

*Price - it's cheaper: $199 for 8GB and $299 for 16GB black and white versions and Steve promises it won't cost more than $199 in any country

The Bad Stuff

*It IS fatter 115.5 x 62.1 x 12.3mm verses the original's 115 x 61 x 11.6mm

*The sleek metal back is now plastic. It may be less slippy to hold but what about durability and build quality?

*GPS is rudimentary working from a top down view, no 3D mapping

*Screen resolution remains unchanged at 480 x 320 when many rivals have adopted VGA

*Incredibly Bluetooth A2DP is still left off so no wireless music enjoyment

*Video recording unbelievably remains absent

*No front mounted video camera, no 3G video calling

*Camera unchanged at two megapixels and no mention of any upgrades (flash, autofocus, etc) this one is a huge let down.

*No details of offline mapping. It's likely to cost a pretty penny it seems

*8GB and 16GB capacities remain, no 32GB edition for now

*Steve didn't define the 3G (7.2Mbit had been rumoured) and it isn't specified even now

*No wider codec support (AVI/DivX/Xvid remain a distant dream)

*The dock has been removed from the bundle as Apple strips out costs just as it did when the iPod evolved (it seems unlikely the old dock will fit the curvier profile too)

*No announcement of Flash for the web browser

In all then something of a letdown. The expectations were impossible but the unchanged camera, continued lack of A2DP and Flash support, same capacities, removal of the bundled dock and (arguably) the move to a more plasticy finish aren't welcome. Bulk has also gone up which is understandable but we're not blown away as we were first time around.

Yes, the iPhone 3G is nice, just you know... kinda nice. Sure, we'd swap our existing iPhones for one, but upgrade? Maybe.

BlackBerry Thunder, Samsung Omni, here's your chance...

Note: Click here for full details of the updated iPhone firmware 2.0.


iPhone 3G specs page


June 10, 2008, 1:05 am

the interwebs had overhyped the 3g even more than the original...

but none of that appears to be apples fault....they just seem to be doing their usual...make desirable kit using low cost parts and make lots of money...(Ninty do well at that too)

Disappointed yes....

Underwhelmed yes....



June 10, 2008, 1:06 am

This is really a big disappointment. Plastic &#8230 c&#8217mon.

The problem is, they left off the &#8220quick wins&#8221 like file-sharing Bluetooth and video recording. Sticking with the 2MP camera in a multimedia device &#8230 very very disappointing.

I agree. This is not really an upgrade. It's no longer a premium device!

William 1

June 10, 2008, 1:06 am

I think the fact it is cheaper is really significant as it puts it on a much more level playing field with the rest of the UK market making people more likely to get it when just looking for a phone rather than because they are a particular Apple fan. Also I think GPS will be a really powerful tool with the right apps and should lead to some important online location-based development.


June 10, 2008, 1:25 am

According to the iPhone 3G specs page on the Apple website, Bluetooth 2.0 + EDR is a functionality of the new model.


June 10, 2008, 1:31 am

This is interesting.

It's like Apple are sending out a message. Last time it was : if you want this snazzy touchscreen, you're going to have to pay a pretty penny for it. This time, they've turned it around by saying : if you want us to slash the price, we can't give you much of an improvement.

I guess they're still banking on people wanting a phone with an apple on it, and that no one can rival it's touchscreen yet. So more of a stick than a twist, but I'm sure they'll still win.


June 10, 2008, 1:40 am

It seems less premium than the original and more like the iPhone v1.1. I would expect an upgrade to this (camera & storage) inside 6 months.


June 10, 2008, 1:51 am

What a waste of Hype! That is a very poor spec from Apple. Their share price will take a (temporary) dive I think. The confusing thing is that yet again, they seemed to have skimped on the cheapest features ie...crap camera, low res (no OLED) screen, no A2DP, very poor (and doubtless over priced maps) GPS system, no FF camera etc...etc...very poor.

On the other hand this is a deliberate sales ploy, only release what you need to, to re-invigorate the market...you can be sure that they'll be drip feeding *new* features (although in actual fact they will be 2 years behind industry standards) into the iPhone range for years, extracting every last dime that they can from those poor Mac Boys, design students, fashion victims and ladies for years to come!

gary gatter

June 10, 2008, 2:10 am

I like it, but it lacks so much, no forward facing cam, no vga screen, storage only 16gb, main cam only 2.0 megapixels. I wanted so much to get this phone, maybe I still will, depends on price and plan. Otherwise will go for the HTC Touch Diamond, has forward facing cam, vga screen, 3.2 megapixel camera but only 4gb of storage. Has anyone done a side by side comparison?

Hans Gruber

June 10, 2008, 2:18 am

3G and GPS, the two major features lacking, bemoaned by Gordon since forever, are now included. Good news, eh? Eh? C'mon! No? The Iphone 3 then. Here we go... I can hear TR's rabid newshounds polishing their glasses as I type. Will the hype from Cupertino never end?


June 10, 2008, 2:20 am

I still think I'm going to get one ASAP. Perhaps when I can actually afford one a few more updates will have been made.


June 10, 2008, 2:37 am

And still no mention of the iTouch or iPhone streaming over WiFi to an AirPort Express. Another missed opportunity!

Peter A

June 10, 2008, 2:50 am

3G, GPS, Enterprise support, App Store, cheaper. I'd take that over Bluetooth, camera, video any day of the week, so would most if you asked them to rank their most-wanted features and Apple know their audience. &#163100 or &#163150 (rip-off Britain style), it doesn't matter. It'll be a roaring success. Not that I wouldn't have liked more, too, but, hey, they ticked my top 4 wants. Bet that's true for many.


June 10, 2008, 3:10 am

your right, it will be a roaring success. But have you noticed that all the add-ons are pay as you go, save the 3G. All the others have been designed to sap more money from the iphone user in the long run, and most of the money will go directly to Apple this time, not the network. I would have much rather the handset price stayed the same (with a hike in memory storage to 32GB or maybe an MSD slot) and that they had added all the extra features that were obviously demanded.


June 10, 2008, 3:14 am

What's an 'iTouch' Darfuria - you should know better. Gordon ;)


June 10, 2008, 3:18 am

Disappointed, YES. No video calling, bad camera, no flash, no add expandable memory. Does Steve Jobs ever travel to Europe? Looks like in the US they'll hve to subscribe for 2 yrs. That stinks too. The technology advacnes too fast to be locked into contracts like that. My vote 2/10 for this 3G..( he really needs a 3rd generation Iphone to fix the things this new one relaesed today still doesn't have)


June 10, 2008, 1:28 pm

I am looking forward to the new HTC Touch Pro or the Samsuung Omnia


June 10, 2008, 1:44 pm

I think that TR should be applauded for a balanced first opinion on this - I have got into work this morning and read nothing but praise until now - well done for picking up on the disappointment that the 2MP camera is!


June 10, 2008, 6:37 pm

What a let down - a decent camera and a capacity upgrade and I'd have been sold. Is that it for announcements for this year, or have Apple got some iPod Classic/Nano/Touch updates up their collective sleeve?


June 10, 2008, 6:41 pm

I would like to take a moment to refute some of these disappointments.

* It IS fatter 115.5 x 62.1 x 12.3mm verses the original's 115 x 61 x 11.6mm

Oh noes! A whole extra millimetre? Ghad!

* The sleek metal back is now plastic. It may be less slippy to hold but what about durability and build quality?

This I would agree is a little disappointing, but it will help drive the price down.

* GPS is rudimentary working from a top down view, no 3D mapping

Not really going to complain, it still looks a lot better than a lot of the tat from the "specialists" in the GPS market.

* Screen resolution remains unchanged at 480 x 320 when many rivals have adopted VGA

Is disappointing, till I look at mine and notice the supreme job Apple has done with anti-aliasing everything. As a note, what's the point in a VGA screen of your GUI looks like the back end of a horse?

* Incredibly Bluetooth A2DP is still left off so no wireless music enjoyment

Why would I want poor audio and having to have batteries in my headphones (A2DP does not sound good, and you try finding a pair of A2DP headphones that compare to dual driver Shures) for seemingly no benefit? What exactly is wrong with having a wire between your ears and your pocket?

* Video recording unbelievably remains absent

I never used this on any of my old CyberShot branded phones, the quality was awful and a waste of time. Have any of you really actually used this feature? Hopefully this might reduce the amount of people happy slapping each other too.

* No front mounted video camera, no 3G video calling

Again, never used this on my 2 previous phones. How many people actually do? I did test it once with my one friend that actually had a phone that could do video calling too, and it was awful if you weren't in a soundproof room. Turned into a scene you can imagine in Monty Python: "What?" "Pardon?" "Yes?" etc.

* Camera unchanged at two megapixels and no mention of any upgrades (flash, autofocus, etc) this one is a huge let down.

Wait, isn't it site like trusted reviews telling us that there is more to image quality than megapixels? Isn't it that all cameras on phones, even the 5mp ones give awful quality because the sensor is tiny, the optics bad and the post processing poor? I haven't used the camera on my phone since secondary school. If I want to take photos, I'll take my DSLR with me, so I can actually have some creative control over what I am doing.

* No details of offline mapping. It's likely to cost a pretty penny it seems

Offline mapping? On a 3G phone? What's the point?

* 8GB and 16GB capacities remain, no 32GB edition for now

This is a shame, if there was a 32GB I would snap it up no questions.

* Steve didn't define the 3G (7.2Mbit had been rumoured) and it isn't specified even now

Speed demo showed what is important, it's very close to Wi-Fi on webpages (and I don't expect to be downloading 4GB disk images of Debian on it, so that's fine).

* No wider codec support (AVI/DivX/Xvid remain a distant dream)

Have you compared h.264 to any of those recently?

* The dock has been removed from the bundle as Apple strips out costs just as it did when the iPod evolved (it seems unlikely the old dock will fit the curvier profile too)

The device is half the price, get over it.

* No announcement of Flash for the web browser

True, but I stand on the side of Apple, wc3 etc on this one, flash is not an open standard, it's slow, bloated, inefficient and would kill your battery. If my dual core 2.4GHz Conroe can have problems with some flash animations (Check out http://www.speedtest.net/ to see what I mean) how can yo expect an ARM 7 to cope?

Ah, and you missed out a biggy in the pluses, Jobs said the audio on the iPhone 3G has been dramatically improved, which provided is true, is fantastic news.

gary gatter

June 10, 2008, 8:07 pm

Well said Stephen Allred, the iphone 3G is for you, even with all the things it lacks; But for me tose lacking things are a big let down. The iphone has a great interface but the phone itself is not great.


June 11, 2008, 6:47 am

Some rather odd comments Stephen, but ok.

To answer a few:

- The point about it being fatter is a reference to the rumours about thickness

- How can the GPS look better when you haven't seen it in action? Besides it is a moving pin on a map - it will be helpful but won't compete with any dedicated devices

- VGA would provide more browser real estate

- Am happy A2DP, video recording, 3G video calls aren't important for you - not true for all though (I'd like video recording)

- You are right about megapixels, but the iPhone camera is Rubbish! Most of the 5MP handsets are pretty decent these days (though there is no need for them to go above 5MP, other factors need to be improved first in the image quality)

- Offline mapping: how about walking around/driving abroad? ;)

- Depends on the speed of the WiFi he used doesn't it? Pages loaded far faster over WiFi in the original iPhone demo using WiFi I remember...

- Many people 'download' in AVI/DivX/Xvid Stephen ;)

- Technicality, but it's not half the price if the dock is also taken out!

- The OPTION of Flash would be nice don't you think?

Music quality wasn't elaborated on, even on the official page, but it does need a bump as Apple products are distinctly average in this regard.

Will I upgrade my iPhone... possibly since the O2 deals are excellent, but I'll wait to see more of the BlackBerry Thunder first.


June 11, 2008, 4:57 pm

I completely agree with Stephen!

The camera on the iphone is perfect for what i use it for...contacts profile pictures! if i need to take a photo, i use a point and click or my DSLR! this fascination with cameras on phones baffles me! what do you plan to do with a camera phone?? you're not going to win any competitions with a camera phone! as Stephen said, quality on phone cameras is poor anyway....want to take a good picture? buy a camera! (Oh by the way Stephen, i loved the comment on the happy slapping!)

I'll admit that i was a little gutted to hear that they were going to release the 3G iphone so soon after i bought my iphone but bravo O2! free upgrade for current iphone customers! and all they ask is to renew my contract!!! i think O2 are by far the best mobile phone provider and have no problem what so ever to renew my contract! Thank you O2!

The "let downs"....come on! if you own a Iphone, you must realize that its one of the greatest gadgets to date! its a stunning device and i am happy to admit that it IS by far one of the best things ive ever bought! The 3G iphone is exactly what is says it is, the greatest gadget ever with the one thing that it lacked...3G! The plastic back? again, come on! have you seen how good it looks!!?? I could harp on about all the "let downs" but whats the point? The best gadget just got better and i think its a little greedy to ask for all those things that everyone expected! not happy? buy a Blackberry! it wont take long for you to realize your mistake!


June 19, 2008, 12:04 am

What a pointless review (if that is what you call it). What you have written is a wish list of things you hoped for but didn't get! What is this obsession with knocking the Iphone. I have had one since day one and love it, I buy things for what they are not for what they could be!

SteveW 1

June 21, 2008, 8:57 pm

Couple of things come to mind from what I've read here..

1. Why do you need a higher res camera? As far as I am aware it's not like you can do anything with the photos anyway!

2. Why have offline mapping for the GPS SatNav? Well oddly enough there are still parts of the country where you can't get an O2 signal.. and I'm pretty sure when I'm stuck in the middle of nowhere unable to get a signal, that's the EXACTL TIME it would have been useful to actually have a map to tell me how to get back to civilisation!


July 6, 2008, 2:08 am

It actually costs $265 in Ireland (or &#8364169) which I'm sure you will agree is alot more than the stated $199 (&#8364126) in all countries!

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